Christy Cardenas, managing partner of Ecliptic Capital, courtesy photo

The COVID-19 Pandemic hit suddenly in the U.S. like a tsunami upending businesses and the economy from coast to coast.

And everyone is still dealing with the fallout and the ongoing Pandemic with 1.8 million cases in the U.S. resulting in 107,023 deaths, according to the latest stats from the Coronavirus Research Center at Johns Hopkins University.

But now is the time to look for the Silver Lining and opportunities and solutions from entrepreneurs and innovation, according to Christy Cardenas, managing partner of Austin-based Ecliptic Capital, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage investing.

Cardenas recently published a 42-page report on “The Silver Lining”  outlining the problems revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic and extolling entrepreneurship, private and public partnerships, and innovation as the way to create jobs and build better companies.

“This is the culmination of a storm that has been brewing for decades,” Cardenas writes in the report.  “We are dealing in a situation of record proportions – a record asset bubble, record debt bubble, all fueled by a long period of easy money.  We stand today as a nation divided, with economic strain driving us toward populism.  Global tensions are high.  Coronavirus has exacerbated an already tense status quo, driving unprecedented unemployment and triggering a global recession.”

Cardenas sees this moment in time as an opportunity to build “a better, cleaner and more efficient future.” The full report is available for download here.

In this episode of the Ideas to Invoices podcast, Cardenas talks about how Austin and Texas are well-positioned to be leaders in the new economy.

“There is so much news and information out there hitting us, and it is also fragmented,” Cardenas said. “And it can be really hard to understand what’s going on.  And so, what we really tried to do with the report is to use data to bridge the gap between truth and perception when it comes to the economy.”

Also, with a lot of negative information out there and fear surrounding the Pandemic, Ecliptic Capital wanted to focus on the solution, Cardenas said.

“And get everybody thinking about what positive can come out of this, because I really do believe it’s a huge opportunity for us just to all come together and work together toward a better way.”

Before the Silver Lining report, Cardenas had written another report outlining the problem with a lack of venture capital funding in Texas. Investors in Texas historically have been focused on oil and gas and real estate, Cardenas said. Texas does not have enough venture capital fueling innovation here, she said.

“That is just simply a function of the fact that the capital markets can be slow to move,” Cardenas said.

Eighty-five percent of the venture capital across the U.S. is in invested in three states: California, New York and Massachusetts, Cardenas said.

“We need, particularly in light of COVID and all the economic issues that we’re facing, a nationwide innovation engine,” Cardenas said.

The world has changed with information technology and the digital economy, Cardenas said.

“Things are moving so fast and technological advances are displacing jobs quicker than ever and COVID just kind of lit a fire on that rope,” she said.

Cardenas grew up in New Braunfels and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and did oil and gas investment banking once she graduated. In 2009, she worked in New York for Citigroup, and even though the credit and equity markets were locked up from the last recession, this whole unconventional shale revolution was going on, Cardenas said.

“Energy was white-hot and a lot of that has happened here in Texas,” she said.

Texas was making big advances in diversifying the economy and then from 2005 to 2010, Texas struck black gold again and the shale revolution redirected the focus back to oil and gas, Cardenas said. And while Texans have made a lot of money in the oil and gas industry, now is the time to refocus on the digital economy, Cardenas said.

Texas does have a wildcatter and risk-taking spirit that is very independent and entrepreneurial, Cardenas said.

“That is the message we’re trying to communicate to Texas,” she said.

Texas has a huge economy, major research institutions, research and development, talent, and all the right ingredients for making a strong innovation economy, Cardenas said.

“But we just have this disconnect where the capital is not here,” she said.

For more, listen to the entire podcast, pasted below, or wherever you get your podcasts – available on Google play store, Apple iTunes, Spotify, PlayerFM, Libsyn, and more.

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