Founders’ Series:
Raising Capital During the Pandemic


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The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced an extraordinary set of new challenges for both startups and venture capital investment funds. Startups are finding that their networking opportunities have shrunken dramatically, and VCs are forced to make investment decisions in a virtual environment and put their investment portfolios under increasingly rigorous scrutiny.

Despite these challenges, however, the pandemic has also created new opportunities. Startups are exploring new ways to apply their technologies, and VCs are discovering exciting new investment possibilities.

In this VLAB Founders’ Series event, Paul Asel, managing partner at NGP Capital, will share his thoughts concerning the pandemic investment atmosphere and provide advice for startup founders about addressing current challenges and opportunities:

  • Will it be more difficult to get VC investment in 2021 than prior to the pandemic?
  • How have VCs changed their investment criteria during the pandemic?
  • Are there specific kinds of business models that are more attractive to VCs?
  • What alternatives to VC investment should founders consider in 2021?
  • What will be the key factors for VCs post-pandemic?

In addition to a general discussion about these topics, a few select founders will have the opportunity to get in the “hot seat” and receive some individual counseling about their unique situations.

Join us on March 24, 2021, for this exciting and thought-provoking fireside chat.

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Paul Asel, Managing Partner, NGP Capital

Paul is a managing partner at NGP Capital, a global venture firm with $1.2 billion assets under management and offices in Europe, China, and the United States. He has realized over 20 successful exits throughout his career, including 5 IPOs and four exits exceeding $1 billion, of which UCWeb and Ganji are two of the largest technology acquisitions in China. Current investments include Workfusion, Lime, Fetchr, Juvo, Next Trucking, Scoop, Zoomcar, and Zum.

Prior to NGP Capital, Paul led technology investments in Southeast Asia at the International Finance Corporation. He received an MBA from Stanford University and a BA from Dartmouth College. Paul is co-author of Upward Bound: Lessons of How Nine Leaders Achieved Their Summits. Follow Paul on Twitter and Medium: @PaulAsel.


Ravi Belani, Managing Director, The Alchemist Accelerator

Ravi Belani is the Fenwick & West Lecturer of Entrepreneurship at Stanford University and Managing Director of the Alchemist Accelerator, an enterprise seed accelerator backed by Cisco, DFJ, Khosla Ventures, Salesforce, Sapphire Ventures, and USVP. Alchemist grads include MightyHive, Rigetti Quantum Computing, and Zipongo.

Ravi formerly spent six years as part of the investment team at Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s Menlo Park global headquarters, where he led investments and served on the boards as the first institutional investor in companies such as Justin.TV & Twitch (acquired by Amazon for $970m), Pubmatic, Vizu (acq’d by Nielsen), and Yield Software (acquired by Autonomy). Ravi formerly worked in product management at two Kleiner Perkins enterprise startups, and as a consultant in McKinsey and Company’s San Francisco office. Ravi is a Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi graduate of Stanford University, holding a BS with Distinction and MS in Industrial Engineering. Ravi also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Online Event
(Details will be sent to registered attendees.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Fireside Chat: 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm
“Hot Seat” Startups: 6:30 pm – 6:50 pm *
Q&A: 6:50 – 7:00 pm

* 3-4 selected founders from audience will be featured on the virtual stage.

About the VLAB Founders’ Series

Founders’ Series events provide a unique opportunity for startups and technologists to take part in an interactive session. Come prepared with your burning questions!

If you would like to have the rare opportunity to take the “Hot Seat” on stage to receive feedback from the speakers, please be sure to enter your question in the field on the assessment form. Startup founders selected for the “Hot Seat” will be notified in advance.

For all other questions, please contact





SRI International



Johanson & Yau


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