Alphabet’s Google and DeepMind Pause Grudges, Join Forces to Chase OpenAIRead More

Art by Clark Miller
Art by Clark Miller

‘If I Miss a Deal, It’s—Whatever’: Venture Investors Throw in the Beach Towel

The out-of-office signs are flapping as VCs jet off on long-delayed holidays. But a breather for investors comes at an inopportune time for founders.

Art by Clark Miller
July 15, 2022 12:00 PM PDT

Jordan Levy joins the Zoom with black sunglasses on his head and a pool umbrella in the background. The 66-year-old Softbank Capital NY managing partner once founded an incubator focused on Buffalo, N.Y.’s startup ecosystem. This summer, though, he’s hanging out with his grandchildren in a different part of the Empire State: Sagaponack, a village in the Hamptons.

And, he tells me, he’s not alone. “I was at the East Hampton Golf Club the other day, and half the VCs I know were there,” Levy said.

After two years of breakneck deal-making, the deal-makers are taking a break. Tech investors are trading foggy San Francisco and sweltering New York City for the beaches and blue skies of France, Italy and Long Island. But there’s more going on than pent-up venture capitalists taking advantage of loosened Covid-19 restrictions—BA.5 variant be damned—to travel, golf or laze around the pool. This summer’s slowdown comes against a backdrop of plunging tech stocks, souring market conditions and a return to the kind of uncertainty investors haven’t seen since at least the 2008 financial crash.

This year, hanging up the proverbial out-of-office sign is also a tidy excuse to sit out a teetering market, as a critical mass of investors ducks the calls of startups whose value might just plunge further. Founders of those startups, in turn, have been left to knock on locked doors and peer into darkened offices.

“People are using the convenience of the summer to say to entrepreneurs, ‘Well, I’m taking some time off,’” Levy said. “I think it’s bullshit.”

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
The Weekend culture ai
Fear and Longing in the AI Wars
Fear and Longing in the AI Wars
Hi, welcome to your Weekend! This is Abe filling in for Jon, who returns as Weekender-in-Chief next Saturday.If the cars, brain implants and spaceships don’t pan out, Elon Musk has a promising future as a fear-monger. His was the leading name attached to a widely discussed open letter published this week that urged a halt in artificial intelligence research, warning that AI poses “profound...
Latest Briefs
Twitter Releases Ranking Source Code Ahead of Verified-Check Removals
Meta Tells Managers to Temporarily Stop Hiring Remote Workers
Fidelity Marks Down Twitter Stake Another 7.9%
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
From left, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis and Google Brain chief Jeff Dean. Photos by Getty, Bloomberg
Exclusive google ai
Alphabet’s Google and DeepMind Pause Grudges, Join Forces to Chase OpenAI
OpenAI’s success in overtaking Google with an artificial intelligence–powered chatbot has achieved what seemed impossible in the past: It has forced the two AI research teams within Google’s parent, Alphabet, to overcome years of intense rivalry to work together.
Art by Clark Miller.
Opinion startups
Don’t Build the Wrong Kind of AI Business
At a catch-up coffee a few weeks ago, a founder friend asked me, “What AI thing should we build?” It was the third time that week a founder had asked me the same question.
Orlando Bravo, co-founder of Thoma Bravo LLC. Photo by Bloomberg.
DEALS enterprise
Private Equity Firms’ Secret Weapon for Big Software Buyouts
When Thoma Bravo was drawing up the financing of its $8 billion acquisition of Coupa Software last year, the private equity giant didn’t turn to a bank, and it didn’t get a traditional loan.
Art by Clark Miller.
Opinion entertainment media/telecom
The Streaming Business Model Is Hitting Its Half-Life
Sign up for Rosen’s newsletter, Parqor, part of The Information’s newsletter network.
Org Charts microsoft ai
The People Who Make OpenAI Run Fast
Sam Altman has been the face of OpenAI as it quickly outmaneuvered rivals such as Google to launch cutting-edge artificial intelligence to the public.
Data Point startups amazon
Satellite Internet Plans from SpaceX and Others Deserve a Pinch of Salt
If satellite internet providers like SpaceX’s Starlink have their way, the skies are going to get a lot more crowded with their orbiting antennas in the coming years—so crowded that it’s worth exercising a bit more skepticism about how many will actually get off the ground.