An inside look at our Investment Benchmark Report: What top VC firms do differently

Following a record breaking 2021, there was a healthy pullback in dealmaking last year. Despite this, Affinity users fared very well.  More than 3,000 firms in 80 countries added more than 1.1 million deals to the Affinity platform in 2022. New deal volume was up by 70% from the year before.

Analysis of all that activity went into our new Investment Benchmark Report: Global Unicorn Edition. The benchmarks allowed us to see markers of success across all firms versus those with the strongest track record of unicorn investment. In short, there were three takeaways:

  1. Top VC firms invest more in their current networks
  2. Quantity does not equal quality for deal flow
  3. Meeting and email volume is on the rise

Read on for a summary of each learning—and download the report to see a full breakdown of the data.

1. Top VC firms invest more in their current networks

Across all firms, VCs grew their external networks more in 2022 than in 2021. But what’s interesting is that top VC firms added 13% fewer new contacts in 2022 compared to other VCs. 

This suggests that top dealmakers are focused less on growing their already vast networks (download the report to see just how much bigger) and more focused on nurturing the connections they already have. Research for Affinity’s 2023 predictions report found that VCs expect 45% of their new deals to come from their existing network, and top firms simply have more to draw from than other firms.

2. Quantity does not equal quality for deal flow

While all firms increased their deal flow in 2022, top VC firms increased theirs in an incredibly consistent way. With tight investment theses, top firms remained laser focused on adding only the most promising prospects to their deal flow—regardless of a rapidly changing market.

In contrast, the leap in deal flow among all VC firms was almost 50%. This indicates needing to assess a larger volume of prospects to find the deals worth pursuing.

While it makes sense to react to shifting market conditions by pursuing a larger number of deals, a tighter investment thesis will mean that your team spends less time conducting due diligence on prospects that don’t align with your strategy.

3. Meeting and email volume is on the rise

Top VCs are adding less deal volume to their pipeline, but that doesn’t mean they’re sitting idle. These firms booked 15% more meetings and sent 11% more emails than other firms. 

Top VCs are spending their time sourcing deals and nurturing relationships within their existing networks from their existing network by focusing on activities that keep them top of mind with their connections. Maintaining the strength of these relationships impacts everything from sourcing deals, through to due diligence, fundraising, and portfolio company support.

Explore all the data and analysis that went into these conclusions when you download the full 2023 Investment Benchmark Report: Global Unicorn Edition.


How your firm can become more like a top VC firm

Relationship intelligence is the key to maximizing the value of your network.

The top firms are ahead because of a unique combination: large, well-maintained networks powered by underlying technology that helps them monitor and nurture these relationships.

Learn more about how relationship intelligence can help you find, evaluate, and close deals with companies most likely to become unicorns as the market bounces back. Get your copy of Affinity’s 2023 Investment Benchmark Report: Global Unicorn Edition to find out:

  • Unicorn trends by geography and industry
  • What sets top firms apart from when it comes to key dealmaking activities 
  • New strategies to help your firm get ahead in today’s investment environment


Industry insights worth sharing. Delivered to your inbox monthly. With FWD by Affinity.

Email Address :

Interested in learning more?

Reach out to us and get a personalized demo

Talk to Sales