🕶e8: Sorry Boss, I’ll Be Working From Home…Forever!

Business/Start-Up News

🏠 Sorry Boss, I’ll Be Working From Home…Forever! Imagine waking up to an email from your boss telling you that you’re allowed to work from home permanently, even after the jobs start to resume and pandemic lockdown passes. Twitter, a social media giant with 166 million Monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAU) and revenues of $808 million in Q1 2020, became the first major tech giant to allow employees to continue working from home indefinitely. The company has been at the forefront of combating the fears of the virus as they were one of the first to encourage their employees to work from home early March, followed by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

This might be a good thing…

Twitter’s head of human resources, Jennifer Christie, had told BuzzFeed News that, “People who were reticent to work remotely will find that they really thrive that way…Managers who didn’t think they could manage teams that were remote will have a different perspective. I do think we won’t go back.” Here is probably why…

  • According to a two year Stanford study conducted by Nicholas Bloom, WFH employees work more true full-day (or longer) shifts as opposed to leaving early or arriving late multiple times a week. The study’s employees also reported increased attention spans, stating they found it less distracting and easier to concentrate at home

  • Incredibly, motivation increased and employee attrition decreased by 50%, as many took shorter breaks, and took less time off

*Check out Nicholas Bloom’s TedTalk in our Recommendations down below!

Moving Forward 

Seeing as most large tech companies are known for their extraordinary headquarters supplemented with health and fitness centers, beautiful interior and exterior designs, oh, and let’s not forget about the kombucha, a permanent WFH situation could mean something unusual for the future of the industry. How so? Well, if other large tech companies follow the footsteps of Twitter in allowing their workforce to have the option to work remotely forever, this could affect the future hiring and talent that Silicon Valley depends upon.

  • Jack Dorsey, CEO (Twitter), announced that the company is unlikely to open their doors until September, and that business travel will be canceled until further notice

  • All in-person Twitter events have been canceled while the company reassesses its plans for 2021

  • Twitter upped their allowance for home supplies to $1,000 for all employees

  • Google has followed a similar direction, granting employees the day off on May 22nd to help alleviate burnout (Google plans to reopen its offices in July)

  • Facebook has also canceled all in-person events through June 2021 (plan on reopening offices in July)

  • Amazon has also extended its WFH policy until October, at the earliest

Although the near term future of work and office culture is unpredictable, I do believe companies have the ability to take action to figure out new incentives to keep employee morale high and motivated during these unprecedented and tragic times. I’m really curious to see if any other major tech players will replicate Twitter’s new announcement, as well as future benefits and problems that arise from working remotely indefinitely.


🍜 Meal Kits Create A New Appetit: As consumers have been stuck at home, many meal kit services are capitalizing on the culinary convenience of delivering pre-made quality food to your doorstep. Blue Apron, the pioneer of the industry, has seen shares rally over 98% this last quarter, while the S&P 500 fell 16.8%. Although the company is up for sale, CEO Linda Kolowski told CNN Business in an interview that the large surge in demand has led the company to search for more staff while evaluating “strategic options”. As restrictions loosen up, Wall Street remains skeptical of the long-term growth and sustainability of the independent company. 

The Facts

  • Blue Apron has hired more than 300 people at their New Jersey and California fulfillment and distribution centers as demand surged 27% in the first three weeks in April

  • Blue Apron is currently in the process of opening a third warehouse in Texas this quarter to help cut costs and ultimately make operations more efficient while increasing quality as produce gets transported faster

  • Blue Apron comes in second in terms of market share in the Meal Kit Industry at 22%, as Hellofresh takes first at 28%, while Home Chef and Platted follow with 13% and 10%, respectively

Delivering the perfect balance of home-cooked meals and takeout, the meal kit service industry is now a $1.5 billion market and growing. There is no doubt that big players will want to snag a piece of the pie. Uber had offered to buy rival GrubHub in an all-stock purchase to help the company converse cash given its current market position. The deal would help the large players dominate the increasingly broader competition by creating the largest food delivery entity in terms of sales. All in all, as the restaurant experience is on pause, the convenience and quality might spark an appetite for meal kits as an appealing alternative, as many still refrain from eating out.

🚆 Transportation Industry Ain’t Cruisin’: As companies try to protect employees’ health by allowing them to work from home, the transportation industry continues to combat daily changes. However, the challenges faced by automotive giants present new opportunities for startups to exploit, ranging from improving the logistics management of existing companies to developing their own autonomous freight systems. Better yet, start-ups could even create their own electric vehicles! Let’s cruise through what’s currently happening in the space…

The Bad 

While many traditional established automakers are coping despite the decline in demand for vehicles and shutdown of operations, Electric Vehicle startups are positioned far worse as most don’t have the capital to idle for weeks, possibly months. Furthermore, even if they do manage to cling to life these next few months, who’s to say they’ll survive an entire recession? 

  • Rivian, the Michigan-based electric truck startup, had to postpone delivery for their R1T pickup to next year as their plant in Normal, Illinois has been on a standstill

  • NIO, often referred to as the “Tesla of China” seen shares plummet 27% last month as the Chinese government suspended all-electric vehicle subsidies, weakening demand

The Ugly

Car sharing services are expected to be impacted the most during COVID-19, as the car-sharing market is estimated to lose nearly 60% of its business for the remainder of 2020.

  • In April, rides were down 75% year-over-year, but Chief Executive Logan Green said Lyft saw moderate week-on-week growth in ride requests starting in mid-April

  • Lyft temporarily paused shared rides across all of its markets

  • New data from SuperFly shows Uber rides in the US have fallen by as much as 94%, a larger dip than the one disclosed by Uber in early March

And Now For The Good

 As COVID-19 drastically changes how businesses carry out operations, one thing is clear and it’s that supply chains are more sensitive and complex than imagined. Many VCs have been poking around the Logistics and Trucking sectors as demand surges in delivering critical medical supplies to hospitals, stocking the shelves of grocery stores that are constantly sold out, and distributing a slew of online shipments to everyone binge-shopping at home. 

  • Nuvocargo raised $5.3 million seed round to help modernize door-to-door freight transportation between the U.S./Mexico 

  • DispatchTrack, a last-mile delivery platform, has closed a $144 million investment as the company surpassed 60 million deliveries this year

What Next

The coronavirus, compounded with the changes in consumer behavior which will likely outlast the pandemic itself, are translating into numerous uncertainties for the transportation industry. As such, I believe that greater attention will be drawn towards autonomous delivery vehicles (check out what Postmates is doing here), including drones, as the demand for a more efficient and contactless supply chain increases.  Even if we aren’t speeding across freeways, we might soon be spotting more of these!

👀Interesting Follows

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🎮 Video Game Spending in the U.S. Surged Hitting a New Quarterly Record

🍕 Slice, the Custom Pizza Delivery Service, Raised $43 Million in Series C from KKR

📢 Loud Talking Could Leave COVID-19 in the Air for 14 Minutes!

🛋 How This Company Is Offering Automated Interior Design Advice to Customers

📡 COVD-19 Shows We Need Universal Basic Internet Now


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