Brian Hollins (MBA 2021) spent six years at Goldman Sachs prior to HBS focused on venture capital and growth equity investing for the firm. He will be joining Lightspeed Venture Partners this summer, and is a co-Founder of BLCKVC, a platform to help launch and scale the venture careers of African-American investors across the country. After school, he plans to continue working in the VC industry, partnering with incredible founders to build leading technology platforms of the future. We caught up with Brian to learn about his new podcast "The Road Untraveled: VC Perspectives on COVID-19" – a project he hopes will provide insights directly from the VC industry to founders and investors on how to manage their business and financial expectations through these unprecedented times. These are some key considerations from VCs, that can be applied in any organization.

Inspiration in Times of Crises

We are all inundated on social media with strong opinions during these unprecedented times, and I was finding it challenging to capture tactical talking points to share with my peers. My prior experience in the VC industry gives me the fortunate opportunity to be able to call upon investors from some of the leading firms in the valley, many of whom were around in 2008/2009 and have been through turbulent times with their portfolio companies. These insights from these VCs are extremely helpful in times like this, and I wanted to support founders and investors in my community who are trying to get a grasp of how the tech sector will evolve in the coming months.

Launching the "Road Untraveled: VC Perspectives on COVID-19"

HBS has a way of bringing out the entrepreneurial bug in all of us! Whether through cases, classmates, or the incredible professors on campus, there are a variety of ways to learn best practices on launching and growing ideas. The only way to determine if you like (or are any good!) at building things is to give it a try - and this presented a phenomenal opportunity.

I hope to give founders and investors alike a consolidated platform for hearing from leading investors on managing through these turbulent times. There is a lot of uncertainty, and sentiment will likely continue to evolve over the coming weeks and months. Hopefully, listeners will continue to come back for future episodes to hear best practices and continue to make thoughtful decisions for their team.

Empathy and Honesty in Times of Uncertainty

Leverage your peers! We all handle challenges like this differently, and to be honest, there is no "perfect answer" on how to get used to isolation and uncertainty. I love the analogy of the "mosaic theory" for this scenario: take one little piece of information or advice from a variety of different sources to piece together your own conclusion on what works best for you.

I will point to a few comments that were consistent across a variety of discussions:

1) Founder empathy and honesty are crucial in these times. Be open with your team and give them ways to reach your executive team that may not have been as readily available in the past.

2) Cut costs wherever you can before letting go of employees. Culture and human capital are more expensive than just salaries, and rebuilding can often take longer, and cost more than most teams realize.

3) Mental health is critical. Listen to your employees and allow them to guide the community building efforts through this period. They are the ones who will build each other up and allow for business to continue to grow even in a work-from-home environment.

We are officially live on Spotify, so please go follow 'The Road Untraveled' and share with anyone who may be interested. If you know of someone who would be a great guest on the show, please feel free to reach out to Thanks!