Innovation doesn’t appear out of thin air, as every venture capitalist knows. When new technology changes the way we work and live, it’s the result of thousands of decisions made by optimistic people who are dedicated to challenging norms.
Pedro Carrasco, Senior Manager of Operations at Munich Re Ventures, is one such person. As a champion of new technology at his firm, Carrasco has achieved a 96% internal adoption rate for a tech stack that allows people to work smarter, not harder.
We talked to Carrasco about how he built his dream VC tech stack and won over the hearts and minds of his colleagues. Watch the full conversation or keep reading for the highlights, with time-stamps to help you dive deeper at key moments.
Building firmwide transparency as a foundation
Visibility and transparency may not be the most headline-grabbing outcomes of tech adoption, but it’s where Carrasco starts when evaluating new technology. He’s often thinking about how to make sure everyone at the firm is talking to each other—an obvious outcome in an industry built on relationships, but one so many firms still struggle with.
“When everyone at the firm is talking to each other,” Carrasco said, “we maintain a positive reputation because it’s clear we understand what’s happening at all times within our fund. The shared knowledge created by a connected tech stack is powerful for delivering value.”
This is why Carrasco gets excited about software that connects to other software. “Before, there wasn't any connection between our legacy deal flow software that we used to power our network and how we built that network,” he said. “We were able to track what was happening, but nothing was connected to our email. Now, with Affinity, we can connect and synchronize everyone's inboxes. Suddenly we can say, 'Oh, this colleague knows this person and startup X has a relationship with this other investor.’”
Turning clean data into useful data
“If you don't have clean data, it’s a good way to destroy your reputation,” Carrasco said. “You can start making silly mistakes reporting things the way they're not meant to be reported. This is a relationship business—if you don't have a consistent reporting structure with consistent numbers, your reputation will take a hit.”
This is what makes tech adoption so crucial. If everyone is consistently using the same tools, data is crisp and clean—and decision making during the due diligence process is easier and more accurate.
Specifically, Carrasco said the team at Munich Re Ventures uses clean and centralized data to:
- Uncover potential leads: When no one’s network exists in a silo, everyone is able to access more potential leads related to the firm’s collective network
- Forecast trends: With more data on meetings, emails, network size, etc., Munich Re Ventures more accurately forecasts firmwide performance metrics
- Track all introductions: When one person at the firm is introduced to anyone else, the firm’s entire network grows—and everyone knows about it, because it’s captured in one place
- Make personalized introductions: When firmwide networks are consolidated, warm introductions are easier to identify and make—and everyone has access to pertinent information about a contact, so the conversation is more meaningful
How to drive firmwide adoption by removing friction
“If you're implementing new technology and nobody at your firm is adopting it, it’s useless,” Carrasco said. Specifically about logging relationships in a CRM, Carrasco said, “When you’re actively working, it’s hard to stop and log every interaction, to document every meeting, every call. But we do need this level of adoption to create a single source of truth about our firmwide network.”
Carrasco takes a four-pronged approach to improving tech stack adoption rates, starting with the removal of friction.
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“Anyone who’s pressing for tech adoption at their firm,” Carrasco said, “needs to help their team see how that tech can fit seamlessly into their daily routine.” Carrasco leans on plugins and APIs to perform this heavy lifting, specifically:
- Email plugins: “With the Affinity plugin for Outlook, you can see whether a company is already in your network, and all the notes from previous meetings or interactions with anyone in the firm. If a company is new, you can add it without leaving Outlook. You just have everything there.”
- Mobile apps: “Investors are on the road a lot. When they have Affinity on their phones, it’s easy to use and keep track of interactions as they happen in real life, the way investors actually work.”
Removing friction is half the battle, but once it’s done Carrasco moves on to:
- Reminding the team of potential benefits: “Back in my startup days, one of the things I learned quickly is that founders need to be constantly reminded of their vision and how they get there. So I do this, constantly, when talking about tech adoption at our firm. I may sound like a broken record, but I’m reminding people how to use technology to their benefit at every Monday meeting.”
- Education: “Twice every year, I run training sessions on any new tech we adopt. Every time someone new joins the firm, they run through a training session on Affinity, so they understand how to use the tool and it becomes second nature for them.”
- Rewarding good behavior: “Every six months, we gather analytics on how people have been using Affinity: how many interactions they’ve had with portfolio companies, how many leads they've added, how many calls, etc. We’ll give people prizes, like a three nights’ stay at a beautiful vacation home.”
Finally, Carrasco said, “You need a good internal champion. Internal champions are the ones who push all of this forward.”
To find out more about how to build an efficient VC tech stack and drive firmwide adoption, watch the webinar here. You’ll leave with an understanding of:
- How to innovate your tech stack to prioritize efficiency and scalability with example use cases
- How to build analytics into your reporting structure and leverage data within the Affinity platform
- Best practices for driving firm-wide adoption of new technologies and the Affinity CRM