The case for starting a business in a pandemic economy

In this economy? Yes, it could be a good time. Here’s why.


May 21, 2020

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If a friend tells you they’ve got the entrepreneurial itch, you might be tempted to dismiss them. Right now? 

Yes. This week, we’ve seen a small wave of stories exploring the question of whether it’s a good idea to start a business in this economic climate. Their answers might surprise you. Here’s a closer look at the arguments.

The case for it

You might find yourself in good company. Axios reported that the startup accelerator Y Combinator is seeing a boomlet in applications for its summer program — a rise of 15-20%.

The New York Times said there have been 500k applications for an employer identification number in about the last 2 months — down 20% from last year, but not flatlined.

Talent is everywhere. Layoffs.fyi says 55k+ startup workers have been laid off since mid-March. Airbnb and Uber launched searchable databases of their laid-off employees to help them find new opportunities.

Is there really such a thing as a good time? At Marker, David Sax noted that many of today’s most successful companies were born in the fires of the Great Recession. Consumer habits are changing, presenting new opportunities for the crafty entrepreneur.

Why you might want to slow your roll

It’s trickier to get capital. Unless you have family or friends who can bankroll your business — as one of Sax’s friends did — you may have to get ready for VC meetings by Zoom.

Your idea might not be that original. As the Times’s Erin Griffith and Taylor Lorenz noted this week: For all its lofty talk of changing the world, Silicon Valley has a tendency to finance and build what it knows — in the case of the buzzy, invite-only Clubhouse app, that’s social networks.

If you’ve got the itch to start something yourself, we can help you scratch it. Our Ideation Bootcamp starts on June 8 — sign up today, and use the code “hustle100” for $100 off.

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