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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Venture capitalists are almost all working from home, but they have not stopped investing in startups.

The big picture: Axios yesterday spoke or emailed with 40 different U.S. firms, and every single one of them reports that they are still actively doing deals — several signing term sheets within the past week.

Why it matters: Startups and their employees are particularly vulnerable to economic shocks, given that they often are unprofitable or even pre-revenue. Venture capitalists are sitting on enormous amounts of available capital, and so far haven't been scared off from using it.

  • Yes, some pricing is beginning to soften, while at least a few deals have collapsed or been delayed.
  • There also are questions on whether some in-process sales to public companies will be retraded (particularly now that WHO has declared a pandemic). And for still-active negotiations throughout M&A, we're hearing that "material adverse effect" definitions and closing conditions are being revised.

What they're saying:

"What else are we going to do all day stuck at home except look at deals?"
"We're investing, but a bit more slowly because we're no longer learning about new opportunities at community events."
"Some of the best VC investments are made in a downturn."
"At first Zoom was a huge win for its investors. Now it's a huge win for all of us."

Look ahead: U.S.-based venture capitalists are sitting on record amounts of dry powder, having raised over $100 billion in fund capital over the past two years. That could become the industry's saving grace due to the denominator effect and the fact that recent fund returns could plummet (particularly for firms that held onto public securities from recent IPOs).

The bottom line: For venture capital, it's business as unusual.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 9 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.