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On Wednesday, December 9 Axios' Dan Primack hosted a conversation on the future of venture capital featuring Mercato Partners director Joe Kaiser and Upfront Ventures managing partner Kara Nortman.

Kara Nortman unpacked the startup landscape, Los Angeles as an up-and-coming hub for venture capital, and trends in the industry.

  • On how the pandemic has changed founding startups: "You have to be intentional. You don't have serendipity. It doesn't exist. You have to even be intentional about your serendipity. My sense is more startups are starting really in a positive way, trying to solve big, real problems where you can collaborate with people in different ways and get to know people differently."
  • On how companies that prioritized resiliency are thriving: "A lot of companies that thought they would be impacted negatively actually became more efficient and really looked at how they're operating and really invested in culture...Startups that do what startups do best—which is move fast against macro changes—are coming out of this much, much stronger."

Joe Kaiser discussed the acceleration of 'work from home' and how geography will play less and less of a role in building successful companies.

  • "A couple of years ago, you had founders...moving to the Bay Area to build amazing companies. Today's [founders] are doing it in the towns where they grew up...We believe is going to be an explosive and dispersed entrepreneurial movement across the US. I think I think we are going to see a really distributed entrepreneurial environment for years to come."

Axios Chief Revenue Officer Fabricio Drumond hosted a View from the Top segment with president of the Venture Banking Group at Pacific Western Bank Sean Lynden, who unpacked how startups and the world of venture capital have approached the economic reality of the pandemic.

  • "I think that a lot of the venture capital community took a longer term approach to this. They saw this as being a short term hiccup...They've taken a long term approach, continuing to build good, solid companies that should come out of this stronger than ever. "

Thank you Pacific Western Bank for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Sep 7, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minnesota's return-to-office dud

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Still working from home this morning? You're not alone.

State of play: Sept. 7 was long targeted by companies as the day they would bring their workers back to the office.

  • At the time the date was set, the COVID caseload in Minnesota was low, hospitals had plenty of open beds and people were getting vaccinated in massive numbers.

Fast forward: The vaccination rate has slowed, the Delta variant has spread and hospitals are again nearing capacity. And big companies like Target, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank have pushed back their return-to-work plans.

Why it matters: Some percentage of workers are miserable at home and were looking forward to coming back.

  • Plus, restaurants and retailers that thrive off office workers are once again playing the waiting game as their debt to landlords piles up.

2021 economy boomed at fastest rate in 37 years

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. economy surged ahead with a 6.9% annual growth rate in the final months of 2021 and achieved the strongest growth over an entire calendar year since 1984.

Driving the news: New GDP numbers from the Commerce Department show a remarkable acceleration in economic activity, much faster than the 5.3% growth rate analysts expected.

The Fed isn't the only problem investors are worried about

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve will be raising rates, just as the economy is slowing. The markets hate that.

Why it matters: The ugly start to the stock trading year doesn't just reflect Fed-induced agita — investors are also worried about a growth slowdown.