Shy a year ago I emailed our global fund-managing partners and our direct portfolio CEOs with the headline “Only Decisive Survivors”.
At the time, many outside of China were not worried about the covid-19. However, I was intensive. Listening to stories from friends of fund managers, including Chinese operations, I knew that the Chinese media was a worse thing than what the world was saying. In addition, I live just five miles south of the location of the first COVID death in the United States, the epidemic was accelerating, and I want all of our partners to open their eyes to the risks and prepare as much as they can.
I am not writing with that level of intensity or significance this time, but I am concerned. We all need to be careful, not just in the light of Covid, but in the face of unforeseen tragedies to ensure that, our organizations can succeed. My partner Susanna has invested in 90 funds for over 20 years – everything from motorcycle accidents to frustration shows fund managers and CEOs. Life sometimes works that way and it is not always someone else.
Its like, “What if I hit the bus scene?” In this case, the bus could be a global epidemic. One of our funds in Asia recently reported COVID cases among three CEOs of their 23 companies. In developed markets where infections and deaths are on the rise, many countries are seeing serious new outbreaks, and some, such as Brazil, are behaving badly.
The epidemic forecasting site IHME has forecast increasing caseloads in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia and the Pacific. The LAC region is declining overall but several countries, including Colombia, expected to experience a second (or third) wave of infection. As the Economist put it in mid-February, “the Coronavirus has not yet hit humanity.”
About a month ago, we were trying to move forward with investing in a fund in Africa with which we had been talking for months and working hard. They had the radio silent for two weeks. We did not know what shake, what worry about for their health or what.