Photos: Bloomberg. Art illustration by Jesse Howe.
Dec. 30, 2020 6:01 AM PST

In June, Rahul Vohra was cooped up in his San Francisco apartment, finding it difficult to concentrate on work as he recovered from Covid-19. After U.S. infections spiked in early March, Vohra had begun preparing for a recession lasting at least two years, stopping most hiring at his email subscription startup, Superhuman, and advising other startups to stockpile cash.

But through the delirium brought on by the virus, Vohra noticed that something big was changing. Some startups were actually expanding again and raising new funding. Tech stock prices, which had plunged four months earlier, were rebounding.

“It was pretty obvious we were turning a corner,” he said of that period in June. By year-end, Vohra had doubled the number of employees at his startup to 60, and he was fielding unsolicited offers of investment from venture capitalists—sometimes four or five a day.