8VC cuts deal flow process time by 50% using Affinity CRM and the Pathfinder extension
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8VC is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in cutting-edge technology companies that transform critical industries. As the firm's portfolio and team expanded, managing relationships, tracking deals, and making informed decisions became increasingly complex. To address these challenges more efficiently, 8VC turned to Affinity CRM as their system of record for managing their deal flow and pipeline processes. Using Affinity, 8VC can now:
- Retrieve all relevant documentation and interactions around an individual or company with a quick search
- Shorten their deal flow process by 50%
- Send relevant event invites, compelling content, and investment opportunities to hyper-targeted individuals using tagging and field capabilities
- Centralize data in one place and slice and dice information to power multiple use cases
Lacking a 360 view of relationships
In investing, extensive emphasis is placed on deal sourcing, due diligence, and the connections made during those processes, yet, these relationships need to be managed long after a firm invests in a company or an LP in a fund. There is also a broader network to manage outside of immediate companies and investors. As Caroline Haun, Operations Director at 8VC shares, “The best part of what we as a firm get to do is invest in inspiring technology and equally inspiring entrepreneurs, but even more so, we get to work with a network that is both highly ambitious and highly collegial.”
With a growing team of over 60 people, across offices in San Francisco, Austin, and New York, 8VC has been managing a distributed workforce for close to a decade.
A distributed team requires responsive operations and support from staffing, logistical, communications, and technical perspectives. As the person leading those efforts for 8VC, Haun knew the team needed a CRM that could serve as the single source of truth for the firm’s overall network and external interactions.
Adoption of 8VC’s then-CRM, RelateIQ, had been low, because it didn’t capture important interactions that occurred before and after investments were made. Bits of information hid in Google docs, spreadsheets, and Dropbox. Haun explained, “Once an investment was made, RelateIQ wasn't a repository for notes, documents, financials, or marketing decks… everything was saved in Dropbox separately. You’d end up having to reference RelateIQ to see if we had information on this company, and then you’d go back to Dropbox and then try to figure out who led the investment internally.”
This also sometimes led to redundant outreach from multiple team members, or missed opportunities, because there was no single source of truth. “The relationship would sometimes completely fall through the cracks because there was an assumption, or multiple people were spending a ton of time with the same person, but not together,” Haun shared.
8VC needed a solution that could eliminate the lists they were keeping across documents, spreadsheets, and RelateIQ. They wanted to organize their contacts to facilitate strategic, targeted interactions across their network of prospective investments, portfolio companies, investors, and limited partners.
Centralized information and metrics
8VC turned to Affinity as their CRM solution of choice. Immediately, Affinity created a single source of truth where team members could upload marketing decks, notes, and other relevant company and contact information. With a quick search in Affinity, anyone on the team could “quickly, visually see the last time I’ve spoken to this person, and see who I have not spoken to recently, in list or analytics format” Haun shared, allowing people to then set up proactive notifications to reach out on a preset cadence.
This has also been helpful as the team brings on more junior employees with limited networks and background knowledge of 8VC and its portfolio. Using Affinity, new team members can review current deals and familiarize themselves with 8VC companies, ensuring everyone has access to relevant information, regardless of tenure. “When you’re able to answer questions for yourself via Affinity without bugging somebody, that's powerful,” Haun noted.
The firm recently moved their entire deal flow and pipeline management process into Affinity, eliminating Google Sheets and other documents. With Affinity’s list view capabilities, the team only needs to update the data once, and can then slice and dice the data in whatever configuration they need. “Being able to have multiple views of the same list, and cut and save the same list in different ways for different individuals and purposes, has been hugely helpful, instead of having to update the same thing in multiple places.”
Haun also uses Affinity’s reporting function to create internal quarterly reports that highlight the number of deals seen, industries represented, stages, and geographies. She also sends a quick PDF snapshot of the active deals dashboard three times a week to keep the team up to date.
In addition to using Affinity’s desktop site, the team takes advantage of Pathfinder, Affinity’s Chrome extension. As Haun shared, “we've started to use it on websites and LinkedIn, and it’s very valuable. It's easy for somebody to go to a website and see who we know without having to go to Affinity and look it up.” Before Affinity, Haun was spending close to half her day managing the deal flow process. Now, she’s cut that time from 4 hours to 2 hours. “Moving it entirely to Affinity, thanks to Pathfinder and other features, we cut that process time in half.”
Events and interactions that matter
In addition to investing, 8VC hosts over 100 events a year for their larger external network. Before Affinity, the team had to build guest lists manually for each event. According to Haun, the firm now uses Affinity’s tagging, field, and list capabilities, allowing them to create very targeted invite lists for each event. “Affinity is able to decide who to include in which event, and so our event lists are very curated and useful, and as a result the events are very valuable.” If the firm is hosting a dinner for Bio PhDs, for example, the invitee list will only include the most relevant Bio PhDs.
By regularly updating external network members’ information, such as expertise or preferred stage, the 8VC team can refine their outreach. Per Haun, “[we can send] very relevant content, such as a potential investment opportunity, to somebody who is actually interested in that stage, industry, and/or kind of opportunity… we pay attention, we care, and we have our stuff together.”
A one-stop shop for all deal and portfolio information
By implementing Affinity, 8VC underwent a transformative shift, resulting in greater collaboration among their geographically dispersed team members and a 50% faster deal flow process. Affinity's role has expanded beyond internal operations, enabling 8VC to interact effectively with co-investors, portfolio companies, and entrepreneurs. Finally, by increasing adoption across all teams, Affinity has become the single source of truth for the firm as a whole.
Haun and the 8VC Operations Team have expressed plans to integrate Affinity with tools used by their Talent and Finance teams. These include Greenhouse, which helps portfolio company founders to hire new employees, and Standard Metrics and Allvue, which serve as sources for portfolio company metrics that are essential to tracking performance and informing board-level interactions.
They also plan to integrate Affinity with Gatsby, their events management software, to ensure that events reflect the full range of data contained in Affinity.
As 8VC looks to further integrate Affinity into their day-to-day operations, they can make investments and manage their networks while enjoying a comprehensive view of their interactions. According to Haun, “We invest in transformative companies, technologies and entrepreneurs, and Affinity gives us the visibility to translate our network and relationships into those investments.”