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Full post and video available on the Revolution blog. By Steve Case.


As states across the country begin to reopen, business leaders everywhere are strategizing on how to keep employees and customers safe. Since the start of the lockdown, our team at Revolution has been in the trenches with our portfolio companies, helping them navigate the current landscape and formulate plans for future phases of reopening.

The leadership exemplified by our CEOs has been nothing short of inspiring. That’s why we decided to expand the conversations we were having internally and share them with our broader community through a virtual series on the challenges startups are facing as they look to reopen offices and retail locations.x

Although our sessions covered startups from various industries, geographies, and stages of startup growth, the companies, and their leaders face many of the same challenges. Our most recent session explored how early-stage founders (all with teams under 70 employees) were working to reopen, just with less bandwidth and often, more limited budgets. Early-stage startups don’t have sizeable HR teams or outside consultants to run point on creating return-to-work manuals, but they seek to provide their employees and their clients/customers with the same level of safety and protection. And they are finding ways to do that with commitment and ingenuity, using this pandemic as an opportunity to reinforce good leadership and strong company cultures. For example, Indianapolis-based Anvl, the workforce-first safety solution, dedicated their office manager’s time to reviewing detailed CDC and state guidance to help formulate a plan for employees to return. And Dallas-based Nickson, which is reimagining apartment living, divided its delivery employees (considered essential during lockdown) into rotating shifts so that they only work when necessary and get extra rest when not.

Second, and maybe the least surprising, startups have continued to innovate during this time, no matter what stage of growth. Founders see not just challenges from the pandemic, but opportunities to shift and expand business models and teams. Anvl created a new product to help workplaces manage worker safety, Nickson created a new product focused on outfitting home offices with furniture, and Bright Cellars, a Milwaukee-based personalized wine subscription startup, met increasing demand by expanding its workforce — while maintaining company culture — during this tough time.