The Talent Flight to Quality

How the Pandemic is Changing the Way Talent Moves

Mark Lonergan, December 2nd, 2020

The last ten months have been unprece­dent­ed in the Sil­i­con Val­ley. When COVID hit our region back in Feb­ru­ary, there was a simul­ta­ne­ous sell­off in pub­lic mar­kets – and an unprece­dent­ed slow­down in the rate of ear­ly-stage ven­ture invest­ing. Very qui­et­ly, hun­dreds of ven­ture-backed com­pa­nies in our region shut their doors, includ­ing: Zume, Essen­tial, Hip­munk, Kahu­na, Beepi and Sen­tient Tech­nolo­gies just to name a few. All have been closed down or acquired in an asset sale this year alone. 

Two things have sur­prised experts in the ten months after COVID hit: Pub­lic Com­pa­ny stocks recov­ered quick­ly to pre-pan­dem­ic lev­els and Ven­ture Firms con­tin­ued to pour mon­ey into Series B and Series C com­pa­nies with rev­enues and proven con­cepts. Series A invest­ments have all but dried up out­side of Fin­tech and Med­ical Tech­nol­o­gy companies.

Less well under­stood is a change in the mood of the lead­ers of com­pa­nies in our region. As a lead­ing exec­u­tive recruit­ment firm, we speak with CEOs and CXOs every day – across mar­ket seg­ments. And what we have learned is this: the most sought after tal­ent has lost faith in ear­ly-stage ven­ture com­pa­nies and are scram­bling to relo­cate them­selves back into big pub­lic com­pa­nies in our region. There has nev­er been a bet­ter time to recruit proven exec­u­tives across func­tion­al spe­cial­ties to pub­lic and late-stage pri­vate com­pa­nies than there is right now. Some of these exec­u­tives are expe­ri­enced lead­ers with real scale, look­ing to climb back into com­pa­nies with more depend­able fund­ing sources and markets.

So it’s time to ask your­self – Am I tak­ing advan­tage of this trend? Do we have the team today that we will need as our com­pa­ny moves forward?

Mark Lonergan

Founder & Managing Partner, Lonergan Partners

Specialties: Board & CEO placements


[email protected]

Mark Lonergan Portrait