As startup founders grapple with a lack of face-to-face support during the coronavirus pandemic, venture capital firms are providing them with online support communities to encourage communication, knowledge sharing and emotional support.

"It's a lonely job being a startup leader," said Teddie Wardi, managing partner at New York-based Insight Partners. "There's a lot of anxiety on the fact that it's not clear what's going on and even now we’re not seeing all the impacts that [coronavirus] will have. … Bringing people together can create a lot of ideas and lead to the kind of innovation we need to get through this crisis." More coronavirus news: Continuing coverage from PitchBook

The startups that survive the crisis will be determined by more than the amount of capital they bring in. Even large VCs like Insight Partners, which has around 200 investments, may not be able to write more checks to their portfolio companies. An online community can provide value far beyond the capability of a firm's individual partners by offering a network of experts in every category. Other founders can offer advice, and investors can see what areas are of most concern.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought a new need for connectivity, as founders across different industries encounter the same challenges at the same time, including cash management, hiring freezes and rethinking market strategies. Both Insight Partners and Jungle Ventures, a Singapore-based firm with portfolio companies in the hardest-hit Asian countries, said startups are facing universal problems.

For its part, Insight Partners launched Go Network, which is powered by SaaS platform provider Hivebrite, an online community offering its companies access to resources, including playbooks, webinars and roundtable discussions, as well as a library of tactical reports. And Jungle Ventures has its own online forum where young entrepreneurs can connect with more experienced founders every two weeks.

Beyond the day-to-day running of their operations, mental health is one area where online communities can support startups the most, Jungle Ventures founding partner Amit Anand said.

He noted that most new startup founders, coming off of a record-setting decade in venture capital, will never have had to consider layoffs or furloughs. While entrepreneurs might know the difficult decisions they need to make, it can be enormously stressful to following through. By connecting with people who are in the same situation, the community can offer much-needed emotional support in addition to practical knowledge.

Anand stressed the importance of such support: "The 'what' isn't as important as the 'how' and that is what the forum can help to answer," he said.

Featured image via Busakorn Pongparnit/Moment/Getty Images

Related content