As interest rates have risen and the private capital market has tightened, many VC firms are finding they have to do more with less—while also maintaining healthy deal flow. Our conversations at Campfire 2023 revealed a hyper focus on strategies to move on the right deals faster, strengthen the most valuable relationships, and collaborate more effectively as a team.
The session ‘Become an Operational Hero: Set your Team and Tech up for Deal Success’ featured Affinity Senior Product Manager, Jamie Fronckowiak, as moderator and two panelists:
- Caroline Haun, Operations Director, 8VC
- Nolan English, Director of Portfolio Services, SOSV
They discussed what their worlds looked like before and after implementing Affinity, how they have increased visibility and user adoption, and where they’ve been able to extend Affinity’s capabilities beyond the CRM to drive additional value and impact.
Here’s a selection of the insights they shared:
Operational champions are the key to teams working more effectively
When Haun joined 8VC nine years ago, it was clear that they were going to need software to help them see the full 360-view of their relationships, at both the organizational and individual levels. “The sooner you build the architecture, the sooner that you can put the work in on a CRM like Affinity, the easier it is long-term and the less kind of clunkiness you will experience along the way,” she explained.
Both Haun and English described Affinity as a single source of truth that houses everything from pitch decks to email communication. For SOSV, English shared that Affinity has been transformational. As a large and distributed team, “There was a lack of transparency that Affinity has really helped resolve. It ensures that everyone stays organized and on the same page.”
For both firms, strong operational leadership allowed the processes and systems to be implemented that now mean the entire team can work more efficiently and collaboratively to close high quality deals.
Reporting is a driver for platform adoption among teams
At 8VC, Haun has found that the visibility Affinity offers has created a sense of ownership among members of different teams. She said, “They know that whatever they do an Affinity will be seen across the firm and it's the source of truth with updates in real time…... It's helped create some really great workflows internally.”
She also touched on how Affinity’s reporting has created a virtuous circle: It makes senior team members more likely to access the platform, which in turn incentivizes deal teams to actively manage their opportunities there. Haun explained, “Reporting drives those on the Partner level back to the platform, and we've seen huge value there but we've also seen a big increase in platform adoption as a result.”
APIs unlock an integrated tech stack that can enhance the founder experience
Once SOSV invests in a founder, it’s important that they stay in regular communication. English discussed how they have operationalized this with internal tooling that syncs with Affinity: “We built an internal platform for our founders and they’re all onboarded within two weeks of joining. It allows them to update their profile and all those updates immediately sync back to Affinity.”
All this information centrally located helps the firm to deliver a more personalized experience, and it powers their data-driven initiatives. He continued, “Having this data in Affinity allows us to stay consistent and lets our users easily pull data requests, statistics, or whatever else they need.”
Affinity Pathfinder increases efficiencies and user adoption
Haun credited Pathfinder as her favorite Affinity extension, saying, “I think Pathfinder is fantastic…it has been really invaluable for me to update context and other deal information in the platform, from my email.”
For Haun, Pathfinder streamlines workflows. “I can easily add notes or files, update status or owner and it’s just so nice not to have to leave my email for the ability to do that.” And she’s not the only one—across 8VC, Pathfinder has driven up user adoption because it’s possible to do so many things in one single step.
That’s a wrap. Where will you go next?
- Read our top 10 takeaways from Campfire 2023
- Speak to us about how Affinity fits with your firm’s data-driven future
- Watch all the Campfire sessions on demand
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