Return to Normal? How fn Members Feel About Getting Together at this Stage in the COVID Pandemic


Introducing Founders Network Research Insights

We are pleased to share data from the first fn Research Insights report, an ongoing series of market research on topics of interest to our members. In this inaugural edition, we surveyed 84 founders about their current levels of comfort for in-person professional gatherings in light of COVID-19 concerns. The full report is available to members in the member’s portal. For non-members, an executive summary can be requested using the form below

Comfort with Professional Gatherings

Well over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of fn members are ready to get back together for in-person events. 90% of members are ready for 1-1 coffee meetings and 90% are ready for in-person meetings in general. 

A key reason for this willingness to get together is the fact that fn members are well ahead of the vaccination curve. 96% of the network is either already vaccinated or planning to be vaccinated soon. This is a well ahead of the general population, which has a vaccination rate of approximately 50% (US data).

There are some nuances to members’ level of comfort, however:

  • Only 2/3rds of the group are comfortable gathering at events where some members are not For this reason, fnSummit attendees must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
  • Regionally, there are some differences. Those in the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley are more comfortable getting together with a mixed vaccination group compared with those in the Vancouver and Los Angeles chapters.
  • When getting together, members would like to see precautions in place. Most are looking for organizers to follow the latest guidance from the CDC around masks, distancing, etc.


Comfort with Travel?

Founder’s Network members are generally comfortable with traveling at this point–83% are happy to get on a plane. 75% are fine with carpooling. There are only minor differences in comfort levels among those who are already vaccinated vs. those who are not.

Other Findings

Our survey data also asked members about:

  • Relocation – A surprising number of members moved during the pandemic. Once again, the percentage of members who moved during COVID was outside the normal range of the general population.
  • Mix of in-person vs. virtual events – Half of the group would like to see an even mix of online and offline events. The rest of the group is split, favoring one side or the other.
  • Return to the office – Members are generally adopting a hybrid or work-from-home model. We asked Gabe Chao, Sr. VP at Transwestern, to provide some insights on how major building tenants are handing the pandemic. He shared the following:

“Overall, employers seem to be taking a very fluid approach with their return to the office plans. Based on surveys that we have conducted of our clients, it seems that approximately 20% of employees want to return to the office fulltime for better collaboration and efficiency, approximately 20% are ready to go fully remote, and the rest prefer a hybrid model of going to the office 2-3 days per week. The caveat that company executives have to balance and try to account for is whether these attitudes remain the same in the future, and nobody has an answer. Do employees who elected to work remotely full time change their attitudes if in-person meetings replace virtual calls, collaboration is not the same for those not in the office, or those who are physically in the office start to experience faster upward mobility? It will be interesting to see how employers react to changing climates six months to a year from the date people start returning to the office.”

– Gabe Chao, Sr. VP, Transwestern”

Get the Executive Summary

Interested to see more? If you are a member, you’ll find this report in the member’s portal. If you are not yet a member, get the executive summary below:


fnSummit, taking place from October 13-15, 2021, is an annual event where founders, investors and partners come together to explore the theme of growth. Located in a beautiful resort in California’s Carmel Valley, the event will offer participants a chance to network, share ideas and enjoy a variety of recreational and team-building activities. 

Share With Your Network

Looking for startup advice, connections, and insights?

Tap into a global network that enables you to answer questions, build relationships, and gain the perspective you need to move faster.
Peer mentorship with fellow tech founders
Pitch practice with Tier 1 VCs
Accelerator grade discounts