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Sapphire Ventures’ Cathy Gao on how VCs can help early-stage startups weather volatility –

When we talk At the very beginning, we tend to focus on the inside – and understandably. It is easy to get into the house with things you can control: product development, team building, finding the right investors.

They are all important and fundamental to the initial development, of course. But instead of believing that the right product produced by the right team is enough to ensure the success of the company, things in this world are never easy.

When Cathy Gao closed our Early Stage event last week, she had in mind one big word: change Couple Sapphire Ventures has a lot of experience on both sides of the fence. In addition to working as a VC, it currently sits on a number of startup boards, including SafeGraph,, and Medable.

Prior to her time in Sapphire, Gao ran Gusto’s economy, strategy and products during the fintech’s Series B. We are likely to have short memories when it comes to things like change and stability – especially now that we are well into it. the second year of the global catastrophe. But Gao quickly points out that the world was struggling with both before COVID found a place. When she was working on Gusto 2016, there was a lot of uncertainty.

“Donald Trump was elected president of the United States,” she said. “Brexit has fallen, oil prices have fallen and the world has been battling the Zika virus. All in all, 2016 was a very volatile year for the markets. … Because of all the market trends that year, and a lot of warning news Speaking inside the finance team, we said, ‘Winter is coming,’ and we were preparing for market changes. In the end, winter never came. “