For venture capitalist James Wang, the spread of the coronavirus in mainland China last month came at an inopportune time—as he was raising money in Asia for a new investment fund. After signing up a Taiwanese sovereign wealth fund as an investor in the fund, he canceled the Hong Kong leg of his trip and returned to the U.S. because of concerns about the outbreak.
Later, when he reached out to investors in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand to confirm their contributions to the $50 million fund, it was difficult to get hold of them, said Wang, a general partner at Creative Ventures. As a result, Wang and his investment partner Alex Luce said they’ve shifted to focus on securing U.S.-based investors, or limited partners.
Venture capitalists are beginning to feel the sting from the spread of the virus, joining a growing number of tech companies that were among the first to see disruptions to their businesses from the outbreak. On Thursday, one of the most prominent Silicon Valley venture firms, Sequoia Capital, warned startups in its portfolio that the firm is seeing “significant drops in business activity” among its companies between December and February due to the outbreak.