Coronavirus Information and Resources for VCs and Startups

NVCA is closely monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is working diligently to address the VC industry’s needs and provide resources that aim to help firms and portfolio companies during this challenging time. This webpage provides important information and resources to venture-backed companies about the federal response to COVID-19, including tax credits, loan opportunities, and sick leave. NVCA will update this information as it becomes available.

You can also find relevant updates on Twitter by following @NVCA

Updated as of April 9, 2020

Sections:

Government Resources VC-backed Companies Can Utilize

NVCA Resources & Updates

Stop the Spread Campaign

Additional Resources for VCs and Startups

News Stories About COVID-19 & Startups


If you are interested in receiving updates from NVCA on COVID-19 policy, regulations, and resources for startups and VCs, then please sign up below:

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Over the past few weeks, several major bills have been passed through Congress designed to help cushion the coronavirus’ economic impact. NVCA has been hard at work to ensure that resources being provided by the government are available and usable for VC-backed companies. Below we have highlighted the key resources being provided by the government that VC-backed companies can utilize:

Resources Passed by Congress

Small Business Lending Facility (Paycheck Protection Program)

The CARES Act (signed into law on March 27) created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a $350 billion small business lending facility administered through the Small Business Administration (SBA). We believe this program is the most generous program for small businesses, as the loan turns into a grant for those who maintain payroll. 

NVCA has been fighting for the ability of venture-backed startups to access the PPP, and we are working closely with the Small Business Administration (SBA) on affiliation guidance that will determine whether VC-backed companies are eligible for the lending facility. The key concern in the bill that we has was the affiliation rules challenge. We sent a letter to the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration, urging them to take immediate action to ensure that small businesses with equity investors will not be excluded from the stimulus bill’s relief programs. You can read the letter here.

The Treasury Department and SBA recently released the loan application for the PPP. Unfortunately, this application was originally released without accompanying affiliation guidance clarifying whether startups can access the PPP. The application also required representations and certifications that were incongruent with the role of minority investors in companies. Therefore, NVCA sent a letter (which you can read here) to Treasury and SBA detailing our concerns and asking that affiliation guidance be issued and that changes be made to the PPP application process.

We also sent a letter to Treasury asking for clarity on the interaction between the tax provisions and the loan facility, which you can read here

In recent days, important guidance about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and affiliation rules has been put out by the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration. This guidance has provided helpful information regarding the obligations of venture-backed companies.

We are focused on helping our members and their portfolio companies understand PPP and, if appropriate, apply for the program. To that end, NVCA has worked with a team of attorneys to put together a step-by-step guide to the PPP and analysis of the applicable affiliation rules. Below you will find a memo that we hope helps you navigate PPP (updated April 9). Please share it with your portfolio companies as they explore PPP.

And in an effort to help VC-backed companies navigate this process, NVCA put out an earlier guidance document for how companies can navigate the SBA lending process and affiliation rules. Read that guidance here.

Additional Resources: 

Emergency Leave Requirement and Refundable Employer Tax Credit

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law on March 16, contains a provision to require paid sick leave and family and medical leave and includes a refundable employer credit for wages paid during this leave, as well as enhanced nutrition security initiatives, and increased federal funds for Medicaid.

One element of this proposal important to VC-backed companies is the requirement for paid emergency leave, backed up by a refundable employer credit to offset wages paid. Please see attached for a helpful summary of the provision from our friends at Smith Anderson.

Regulatory guidance for how companies can begin the process for claiming refundable tax credits can be found here.

A brief summary of the refundable employer tax credit below and link to committee summary here on the mechanics of the credit:

  • Bill provides a 100% refundable tax credit for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide two weeks of paid sick leave and up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for employees affected by COVID-19 through December 31, 2020.
  • The maximum amount of an employee’s wages required to be paid and eligible for the credit are $511 per day. The credit limitation is $200 per day for employees taking leave to care for a family member impacted by coronavirus or a child if his or her school was closed due to the health emergency. This credit will offset payroll tax obligations and is also refundable for firms without profits or current tax liabilities

Deferral of Employer Social Security Payroll Tax Payments

Employers are generally required to pay 6.2% in Social Security taxes on workers’ wages up to $137,700. This provision allows these tax payments to be deferred through the end of the year, with half of the deferred payments due by the end of 2021 and the other half by the end of 2022. BE CAREFUL though, since firms who have loans forgiven through the small business loan facility become ineligible for this program, we are seeking clarification for how the two programs will interact. Guidance on this should be out soon.

  • This should free up some capital at companies through the crisis. For instance, a company with 100 employees making $75K will have about $350K in payroll taxes eligible for this deferral.

Refundable Employee Retention Credit

For companies that have seen operations either fully or partially suspended by government order or who have seen gross receipts fall by more than 50% in the quarter than compared with the same quarter the previous year, there is a refundable credit of 50% of wages paid up to a total of $10K per employee. BE CAREFUL though, since firms that access the small business loan facility become ineligible for this program, we are seeking clarification for how the two programs will interact. Guidance on this should be out soon. Refundability mechanism is similar to the emergency leave credit.

Unemployment Insurance for Furloughed Workers

We are still trying to track down more details on this, and will share when we have more information. But there is a broad expansion of categories for unemployment insurance for a number of different scenarios, including business closure, losing access to transportation to work, or is otherwise unable or unavailable to work, which we believe should include furloughed workers. We were told by a leadership staffer that this provision was in there, and we are guessing this may be the section it is included in, but we would welcome any feedback as to whether this is accurate. If so, this should help those of your companies debating furloughs vs layoffs.

Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Facility and Treasury Mid-Size Business Lending-Facility

$454B in funds are made available for several massive company support programs, including:

  • Main street lending facility: Will be built by the Fed to serve businesses of all sizes with loans, loan guarantees, and other investments. Details are not completely known on this currently, but we will look into this further and be back in touch with more information as it comes available.
  • Treasury mid-size business lending facility: For businesses between 500-10,000 employees, Treasury will construct a lending facility to provide direct financing to banks and other lenders that make direct loans to companies between 500-10,000 employees. These loans will have rates capped at 2% and required 6-month grace period before repayment. In addition to employee size, requirements include certifications that:
    • Uncertainty of economic conditions make the loan necessary to support operations;
    • Funds must keep at least 90 percent of workforce retained;
    • Firm will restore employment levels to 90 percent of the employment and compensation as of 2/1/2020 within four months of the termination of the public health emergency.
    • A number of provisions to limit share buybacks, offshoring, and anti-union activities.

SBA Disaster Loan Program

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provided $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including more than $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available; to support treatments to ease the symptoms of those infected with the virus; and to invest in vaccine development and to procure vaccines when they are available. The bill also provides funding for the Small Business Administration disaster loan programs to provide working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue.

Resources Enacted by Regulatory Agencies

Form ID Filings

The SEC has released a temporary rule allowing Form ID filings without the requisite notarization for those who have trouble obtaining notarization due to COVID-19.

In our leadership role as an industry convener, we want to address the opportunities and challenges our industry is facing and in the uncertain period ahead.

Webinars to Support the Startup Ecosystem

NVCA will be rolling out webinars offering venture investors, communications professionals, finance/operations professionals, and startups relevant guidance and best practices from industry experts on how to weather the COVID-19 storm. These webinars are off the record and closed to press. Contact membership@nvca.org to request a copy of the recordings.

  • March 17 – Visualizing the Exit: How to Plan Follow-on Round Through Scenario Analysis
  • March 20 –COVID-19: What VCs & Startups Need to Know Now. 
  • March 20 –Best Practices on Building and Implementing a Compliance Manual.
  • March 24 – COVID-19: VC Veterans Weigh in on How to Weather the Storm.
  • March 25 – What We Know and What We Don’t Know from Washington, D.C.
  • March 26 – Beyond VC: Wellness + COVID-19.
  • March 27 – CARES Act and the Startup Ecosystem
  • March 30 – COVID-19 Webinar: Update on Stimulus Bill & the Startup Ecosystem
  • March 31 –Crisis Communications + COVID-19.
  • April 2 – Updated Guidance on Small Business Loan Facility
  • April 14 – Crisis Communications Part II. Contact Cassie Ann Hodges (chodges@nvca.org).
  • Stay tuned for more!

VC University Online

The next VC University online cohort launches June 1st. Entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs, fund managers, attorneys, and anyone else looking to unlock their venture skills will be able to complete the majority of the requirements (approximately 20 hours of content) for the online course on their own schedule. Participants also have exclusive access to virtual office hours and monthly Lunch & Learn webinars focusing on a range of important industry topics with expert insights and Q&A. VC University is a joint initiative of NVCA and Startup@BerkeleyLaw. Learn more here.

NVCA 2020 Yearbook

We just released the NVCA 2020 Yearbook. Download the NVCA 2020 Yearbook here. Access the public supplemental PDF data pack here. NVCA members have access to a members-only XLS data pack. Contact research@nvca.org to learn more.

PitchBook Analyst Note on COVID-19

Our data partners at PitchBook have published a “Sell-Everything Trade, and the Impact on Private Markets” note to assess what’s in store for PE and VC firms in the wake of recent market volatility and an impending economic slowdown.

Preferred Provider Program

NVCA’s Preferred Provider Program helps our members save time and money through special offers from exceptional partners. Visit our webpage to see which providers we partner with to help your firm.

Job Board

If you are a VC firm that is looking to hire and would like to share an open role with our community, please fill out the form here. Posting is free for NVCA member firms; non-member firms pay $100/month per posting. Please note all postings are subject to NVCA review.

NVCA formally endorses the campaign to #StoptheSpread and #LeadBoldly and has taken the following measures to show its support to this cause, the community, and its team members

  • NVCA has joined the #PayItForward initative to immediately pay small business vendors for their services to help them stay afloat for the next 30 days.
  • Key events hosted by NVCA have been cancelled in Bay Area, NY, and DC to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Instead, NVCA has launched a series of webinars in lieu of in-person events.
  • NVCA’s Washington, D.C. and San Francisco offices are closed to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
  • NVCA has instituted flexible work-from-home (“WFH”) policies to support our employees, especially so for those with children who now have closed schools and daycares.
  • NVCA is advocating for federal policies in the moving legislation that provides for small business lending and tax credits.

We encourage our members to find ways to support this movement. To learn more, visit the campaign website at www.stopthespread.org. You can find other resources around this campaign in the links below

Other Organizations

Cooley: Applicability of Force Majeure and Related Doctrines in Response to COVID-19

Cooley: Your Insurance Checklist for Coronavirus Losses

Cooley: Proactive Steps for Employers to Take in Light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

Differential Ventures: Seed-stage venture capital firm announces a grant program to support COVID-19 relief efforts. The COVID-19 Grant Program is a $500,000 pool of funds that will be deployed as grants of up to $25,000 each to venture-backed companies that are using data science, machine learning, or artificial intelligence to find a cure for COVID-19 or to support relief efforts for victims of COVID-19.

Gusto: COVID-19 Loan and Relief Resources for Small Businesses

Insperity: COVID-19 pandemic: How to prepare your business

Sidley Austin: Key Business and Legal Issues to Consider in Light of COVID-19

Smith Anderson: Emergency Loan Program for Small Businesses and Non-Profits Impacted by COVID-19

Woodruff: Coronavirus: Your Business and People Risks

Woodruff: Coronavirus: Insurance Perspectives on Your Business Risks

WSGR: Venture Lending in a Time of Crisis 

WSGR: Considerations in Accessing Revolving Credit Lines

WSGR: The Impact of COVID-19 on Merger Reviews: Practical Considerations for the United States

WSGR: COVID-19 Tax Relief: Congress Enacts New Refundable Payroll Tax Credits and IRS Postpones Tax Deadlines

WSGR: Digest of FDA Actions Related to COVID-19

WSGR: COVID-19 Update: SEC Guidance and Practical Considerations for Virtual Annual Meetings

We will continue to update NVCA members on evolving COVID-19 information, resources, and policy updates via our Series D.C. member newsletter. If you are an NVCA member and are not receiving our Series D.C. newsletter, please sign up here.

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