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经济学人:疫情下的硅谷(2)

来源:经济学人 编辑:Vicki    |  可可官方微信:ikekenet
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Some vcs expect workforces to shrink by 15% on average, adding up to total job losses in excess of 125,000.

一些风投公司预计员工数量将平均减少15%,裁员总数将超过12.5万人。
Yet Silicon Valley's denizens are not ones to dwell on bad numbers. vcs are scouting for promising firms whose valuations have dropped and which need fresh capital. Investments in America are only down by 25% compared to before the pandemic, according to PitchBook, a data provider. For startups with cash in the coffers, it is an opportunity to scoop up weaker rivals. On May 12th it emerged that Uber, a shrinking ride-hailing service with a growing meal-delivery arm and $9bn in the bank, is seeking to acquire GrubHub, which also delivers food. A few days earlier Uber led a $170m funding round in Lime, an ailing startup that rents out electric scooters and bicycles. Expect more such deals—and more criticism that the likes of Uber are trying to use the pandemic to monopolise markets.
不过,硅谷居民们不会在意那些糟糕的数字。风投公司正在寻找估值已经下降且需要新资本注入的大有前途的公司。根据数据提供商亿美金(PitchBook)提供的数据显示,新冠爆发后美国的投资只比之前下降了25%。对于资本较为雄厚的初创公司来说,此时正是收购实力较弱的对手的时机。5月12日有消息称,银行存款达90亿美元的优步(Uber)因其叫车服务不断萎缩且送餐业务不断增长,目前正计划收购格鲁(GrubHub)——一家同样提供外卖服务的公司。就在几天前,优步(Uber)带领利姆单车(Lime)进行了一轮1.7亿美元的融资。利姆单车(Lime)是一家经营电动车和自行车租赁业务的初创公司,但其经营境况不佳。类似交易预计还会频发,优步(Uber)等公司企图利用疫情来垄断市场的行为也将受到外界越来越多的批评。
Silicon Valley's leading vc firms are also trying to seize new opportunities. More than one sees the tech industry's sweet spots moving from services that cater to consumers and involve the physical world, such as electric scooters and online ticketing, to offerings for business that are delivered virtually, including specialised webbased software and digital infrastructure.
此外,以硅谷马首是瞻的各家风投公司也在努力抓住新机遇,它们多数已经窥探到,科技公司的“甜蜜地带”正从迎合消费者的现实服务,比如电动摩托车和在线售票,转向为企业提供虚拟服务,其中包括基于网络的专业软件和数字基础设施。
Much of the venture capital flowing in recent weeks has been aimed at deeply technical targets, such as Confluent, which manages corporate data. The firm raised $250m in April. Startups in telemedicine and online education are also doing well. And business is improving for some firms that had looked less resilient to the virus, such as Veem and Thumbtack. Firms want to move money cheaply and people stuck at home are planning to give their nests a makeover, driving demand for local services.
在近几周的风险投资中,有很大一部分瞄准了高度技术性的公司,比如Confluent,一家管理企业数据的公司。该公司在4月份筹集了2.5亿美元。远程医疗和在线教育领域的初创企业也表现良好。还有一些公司正在调整自身业务,比如薇漫(Veem)和图钉(Thumbtack),它们对病毒的抵抗力似乎较弱。企业想用较低的成本转移资金,被困在家里的人们也正计划对自己的“巢穴”进行改造,这使得对本地化服务的需求急剧上升。

SF-skyline_副本.jpg

Looking further forward, the debate now revolves around how the pandemic will change Silicon Valley—and with it much of the tech industry. The crisis will accelerate existing trends. The Valley will continue to spread out, reckons Randy Komisar of Kleiner Perkins, another vc firm. Even before the virus hit, an exodus of sorts was under way. Exorbitant property prices, near-permanent traffic jams and the jarring number of homeless people have pushed a growing numbers to leave.

进一步来看,目前争论的焦点是“这场流行病将如何改变硅谷以及与之相关的大部分技术产业”。危机将使得现有趋势加速发展。兰迪·科米萨,来自另一家风投公司凯鹏华盈(Kleiner Perkins),他认为,在新冠出现之前硅谷就已有大批员工计划离开,未来的硅谷将继续分崩离析。房价过高、几乎永久性的交通堵塞、以及数量惊人的无家可归者,这些问题将导致更多的人选择离开。
Startups have been moving away or have become “fully distributed”, with only their most important employees living in San Francisco and the rest spread across the world. Such dispersion is likely to speed up if a consequence of covid-19 is that working remotely becomes the norm. It looks likely. Big Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook and Google, are letting employees work from home until the end of the year. Twitter says they can do so indefinitely.
初创企业一直在搬离,或者已经“完全分散”,只有其元老级别的员工仍然住在旧金山,其他员工则分散在世界各地。如果说新冠带来的一个后果是让远程办公成了常态,那么这种分散可能还会加快。而远程办公似乎有可能变为常态。包括脸书和谷歌在内的大型硅谷公司目前允许员工在年底之前在家办公。推特更是表示员工可以无限期在家办公。
Another question is whether venture capital, Silicon Valley's lifeblood, will go virtual and distributed as well. Some hope that the crisis will disrupt what Pete Flint of Nfx calls the “archaic world of venture capital”. In April, his firm launched an online service where startups can input the information that investors want, from founders' biographies to business plans, and then get a decision on funding within nine days.
另一个问题是,作为硅谷命脉的风险投资是否也将走向虚拟和分散。一些人士希望这场危机能够打破皮特·弗林特所谓的“陈旧的风险投资世界”,皮特·弗林特来自Nfx公司,今年4月该公司推出了一项在线服务,初创公司可以输入投资者想要的信息,信息范围从创始人传记到商业计划,之后他们会在九天内拿到融资决定。
Silicon Valley may no longer be the only place that matters as startups hunker down in cheaper locations with fewer distractions. Frontier is one such firm. It has decamped to Vancouver to build a marketplace for remote workers. It was founded a few months before the virus struck and got its first funding a few weeks ago. Elliot O'Connor and his co-founders are holed up in an Airbnb, using DoorDash and other delivery services to feed themselves. It feels like working in the proverbial garage, he says—not in the Valley, but of the Valley.
硅谷的独霸地位可能会下降,因为初创公司都选择在成本更低、干扰更少的地方安家。Frontier就是这样一家公司,它已经迁往温哥华为远程办公的员工开拓市场。该公司成立于病毒爆发的前几个月,几周前它拿到了第一笔资金。埃利奥特·奥康纳和他的联合创始人们则躲在爱彼迎(Airbnb)(美国短租平台)里,利用DoorDash(外卖平台)和其他的送货服务来养活自己。他说:感觉就像在车库里工作——不在硅谷,却来自硅谷。

译文由可可原创,仅供学习交流使用,未经许可请勿转载。

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