What we expect post-COVID

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

It is no news that COVID-19 is going to change the world dramatically. We have heard podcasts, news anchors, thinkers and modern philosophers saying that this unprecedented crisis is going to change the way we live, the way we interact, the way we travel, how we consume and what we consume.

In DILA, our job is to understand the future, it is to invest in the entrepreneurs that are building this future. If we are to be great investors, we need to understand what’s coming, understand the trends, we need to anticipate what is changing the world and have a better idea of what the world would look like tomorrow. This is more difficult now than ever. When in unprecedented times, the future is less likely to be understood and predicting the future becomes a task harder than ever.

We have had many meetings, many sessions of brainstorming, we have read a lot and we have discussed the future exhaustively in internal meetings with our team, with entrepreneurs around the globe and with our Limited Partners but we were yet to find conclusions which we felt comfortable with. So, we decided to crowdsource the task and see what the general public thought about their future. We created a survey and sent it out via social media to our portfolio companies, our friends, family and whoever was willing to give us a little bit of insight of how COVID was changing their lives and what they expected going forward.

We ended up receiving more than 1,600 responses. Most questions were closed-ended, multiple choice questions about consumer trends; how people expected to consume their time, their energy and their money going forward. You can find the results of our survey in this following link:

https://docsend.com/view/ctw9d6v9xyp52sn3

However, we had a couple of open-ended questions where we asked people what else they would change or what they wanted us to know that we had not asked them before. This post is about the answers to those open-ended questions. When we let people openly tell us what they expected from their lives the answers were heart filling. After being locked up at home, either alone or with their loved ones, people seem to have a lot of time to reflect on what’s really is important in life: The concepts that most came up in these answers were family, friends, love, time, mental health, consciousness and nature. People seem to have gotten back to their basic needs and understood that there are a lot more important things in life then the brands we wear and the followers we have on social media.

If I were to make a summary of my interpretation of the 1,600 open ended responses it would go something like this:

People have become much more aware and conscious; about what they buy, what they consume and what they do. They want to spend more time at home with his friends and loved ones. Family is the most important thing and it was by far the word that was most repeated in the open answers. Empathy and solidarity are strongly noted. People want to be more informed of what is going on in their region and want to get more involved in their country’s politics. There is a legitimate safety concern and there will be an impressive shift toward cleanliness and hygiene habits. People are going to be much more distant and lead a more intimate social life. They are going to take a lot more care of their savings and be more aware of their expenses. “Time for me” is going to become vital and mental health is going to start to be a less taboo. Digitalization in Latin America is finally here and it’s here to stay.

So, what does this all mean for DILA Capital? I believe that while we are not impact investors (as a sidenote I would like to say that we have been measuring impact more and more as the years have gone by and we have become more aware that businesses that follow the ESG standards will have higher returns), we are definitely going to be investing in businesses that are more conscious, in businesses that have more social and environmental impact and that governance becomes key in their operation. We are going to evaluate businesses and entrepreneurs not only based on their financial projections and traction, but also their cultures, the diversity of their teams, where they source their products and services, how they source their products and services and how much they promote the development of their community. We are going to invest in the companies that will have the strongest, long lasting impact in our world of tomorrow.

For the past 10 years we have been investing in companies that are shaping the way for Latin America. We pretend to keep doing so but thinking of a better world. We will be backing the businesses that are conscious of our time, of our well-being both physically and mentally and the businesses that are making the world a better place.

I truly believe that we are now faced with a tremendous opportunity to invest in the best founders that are going to help create a better world for tomorrow. Now is the time to do so. Now is the time to innovate. Now is the time to invest in those that are going to bring us the products and services that this terrible situation has opened our eyes to: the things that really matter. Now is the time to start companies and invest in those companies, that will bring us more love, provide us more time with family and friends, aid us in our mental health and help our planet.

If you’re entrepreneur I hope you can join us in creating a business that is going to make the world a better place, if you’re an investor I hope you can join us in this mission.

Alejandro Diez Barroso. General Partner @ DILA Capital, a venture capital firm focused on Latin American and Hispanic startups.