Few people are more closely tapped into the innovations in the transportation space than investors. They’re paying close attention to what startups and tech companies are doing to develop and commercialize autonomous vehicle technology, electrification, micromobility, robotics and so much more.
Clara Brenner, co-founder and managing partner of Urban Innovation Fund; Quin Garcia, the managing director of AutoTech Ventures; and Rachel Holt, co-founder and general partner of Construct Capital talked (and debated) about how the pandemic affected the venture world and deal flow; why AutoTech Ventures was hesitant to invest in micromobility; on how to incentivize micromobility; and, of course, their take on the rise of mergers with special purpose acquisition companies as a route to going public. They also shared their thoughts on the most overlooked opportunities they are interested in within the transportation space.
How the COVID-19 pandemic shaped VC
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, and VC was no exception. Holt and Garcia explained some of the effects they saw on startups — both new and existing — over the past year.
Holt: There was enough dislocation in transportation, and in some other areas, that happened through COVID, that it’s just the time when, whether it’s buyers or cities or others are just evaluating what the new world order should look like. And I think that just creates a lot of opportunity. … When you have a shock to the system like COVID, it creates just an opportunity for everyone, whether it’s inside companies, whether it’s founders, or whether it’s cities and governments and other entities to take a step back and say, OK, what do we want the next five years to look like? (Timestamp: 4:18, 4:55)