Our baseline scenario

Phase 1: Quarantine period — Fighting through the sanitary crisis

The quarantine period will end when the number of infected patients is sufficiently low and when secondary peaks can be managed by measures other than quarantine. In Wuhan, the quarantine period lasted 10 weeks. So, we can say that the best-case scenario for the EU is 10–12 — we expect quarantine to end beginning of June in France and 2–3 weeks later in the UK. Partial quarantine measures may allow to lift lockdown earlier, with specific business activities resuming as early as the end of April, but there is little visibility on that for now ; it could increase the risk of future epidemic peaks. Currently, France and the UK do not plan to partially reopen until the second week of May.

Phase 2: Safe-mode period — Learning to co-exist with Covid-19

Once lockdown is lifted, the world will go through a “safe-mode” period during which the economy will operate at limited capacity. People will return to work, many business activities will resume (with the exception of the travel, tourism and event industries) with the risk of a second epidemic peak.

Phase 3: Period of recovery — Development and distribution of a vaccine at large-scale

It is difficult to determine when exactly the period of recovery will begin. It depends primarily on the distribution of an effective vaccine, which is best done after 12 to 18 months (i.e., until 2021). By that time, the trends emerging in phase 2 will have become the new “normal”.

What it means for startups


Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Phase 1

We are well into Phase 1, so many of these measures and actions should already be in place.

  • Communicate regularly with your customers and existing investors, they will both provide you with essential information on what’s next
  • If you can afford it, transition parts of your business to support the war economy to keep the country’s economy going while addressing the health crisis. If you can’t afford it, freeze your activities for three months with minimum service or furlough.
  • How can I help them restart their business as soon as possible?
  • Who are the people least affected by the crisis?
  • Can my existing product be useful to other customer segments? To other markets?
  • Are there features I had planned to release in the future that suddenly become more relevant now?
  • Can my product be useful to a completely different industry?

Phase 2

  • Keep focusing on cash, strict health and safety guidelines and transparent communication with your team
  • Constantly reassess your customers’ priorities in order to turn to new products, new features and new customers if needed
  • Secure your value chain, ease the work of your partners, customers, suppliers and employees. The goal is to stabilize operations in the light of the ever-present virus. Keep in mind that one of the major challenges will be the refusal of people to go back to work because they don’t feel safe enough. There will also be undisciplined people wo will behave in a risky manner, as if everything was over.
  • Consolidate and implement the pivots identified in phase 1, whilst relaunching the “old activities” if any remain
  • Develop a Business Continuity Plan with even more levels of contingency than usual

Phase 3 (Conclusion)

If Phases 1 and 2 are well managed, this will be the new golden age for surviving startups and VCs:

  • Startups have the opportunity to follow and create new trends in a context of weaker competition
For the startups and VCs who will survive, as well as for those that will emerge, a golden age full of new opportunities and challenges lies ahead.