case study

How Buoyant Ventures intelligently invests their $81 million in Assets Under Management using Affinity

Seamless integration allows automatic intake of prospective companies and establishes a standardized evaluation process
“We tracked 1,000 companies that turned into nine investments—with Affinity we now understand the characteristics that led to those investments so we can make better investments, faster.”
Amy Francetic
Managing General Partner

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> 1000
Investment opportunity companies tracked using Affinity
Description
Buoyant Ventures is a Chicago-based early-stage venture fund investing in digital solutions to climate risk. To date, the firm has made nine investments in digital climate-focused solutions, including SupplyShift, RaptorMaps, and ReelData.
FOUNDED
2020
INDUSTRY
Venture Capital
Challenge
As a new venture capital firm in the climate tech industry that manages $81M, Buoyant Ventures needed a CRM that would help them strategically invest in the right companies through proactive data-driven sourcing and keeping close tabs on where companies were and the key inflection points.
solution
Buoyant can now seamlessly integrate their website intake form into Affinity, automatically capturing companies interested in partnering. Affinity’s automation capabilities also create opportunity triggers that require team members to evaluate and score prospective companies in a standardized manner.
result
With Affinity, Buoyant has been able to create their own method of evaluating a business while automating as much data capture as possible. Buoyant has tracked around 1,000 companies that turned into nine investments, and Affinity allows them to quantifiably understand those investments and repeat those methodologies with future investments.

Introduction

Buoyant Ventures, an early-stage venture firm founded in 2020, recently closed their first fund with total assets under management at $81.7 million, making them the largest first-time female-owned venture fund outside of the coasts according to Pitchbook.

As a new venture firm with their first fund, Buoyant Ventures needed a way to strategically manage all of their new and existing relationships with portfolio companies, prospective companies, LPs, and potential investors for future funds. They also wanted to be able to standardize the way they evaluated all potential investment opportunities.

Buoyant chose Affinity as their CRM because of its integrative capabilities that eliminated a lot of manual work and its focus on relationship intelligence, allowing them to build and maintain relationships with their network.

With Affinity, Buoyant Ventures can:

  • Automatically create records of anyone who fills out their website’s Investment Consideration Form
  • Establish a firmwide method for evaluating opportunities 
  • Easily keep in touch with their network around current and future opportunities

Challenge

New venture firm, new processes

Starting a new Venture Capital fund is already a difficult task to take on. When coupled with a changing investment landscape, it requires a team that can ensure you’re investing in the right companies and you’re providing the right guidance to your portfolio companies to help them navigate challenges. As Amy Francetic, Co-Managing General Partner and Founder of Buoyant Ventures shares, “we are aiming to be the most value-added investor on the cap table. We’re trying to help our portfolio companies raise money, make commercial introductions, recruit talent, and dig into their product strategy. If we can do that and make a difference then we’ll help our companies succeed.”

Buoyant Ventures, an early-stage venture firm specializing in climate technology, is experiencing all of this firsthand. Led by Co-Founders Amy Francetic and Allison Myers, the firm knew they needed a tech stack that could help them ensure they made the most strategic investments for their fund. As they went from evaluating over 1,000 companies to investing in nine, they wanted to ensure they could replicate their success and analyze the factors that led them to making those decisions and report those back to their limited partners in succinct fashion.

Additionally, they wanted to standardize their investment and evaluation criteria across the firm by ensuring team members would need to complete actions before anything could be considered a deal.

Solution

Automating intake and strategically updating networks

Buoyant chose Affinity as their CRM because it provided integrative capabilities that eliminated a lot of manual work. To automate the firm’s Investment Consideration Form, Francetic shares that Buoyant  “built an integration with Affinity to take companies that submit their idea through our website into Airtable, and then automatically push that data into Affinity. So we have a way of getting that data out of the form into our CRM, which is really helpful and speeds things up for us.”

In addition to automatic record creation when someone submits their idea or company, Affinity automatically syncs the team’s contacts, emails, and meetings. This allows Buoyant to easily stay in touch with their portfolio companies, LPs, and other companies they’re interested in. 

Among the companies that reach out to Buoyant are some pre-revenue companies that may not yet have a minimally viable product, pilot, and/or customers that they can reach out to for a testimonial. Though Buoyant generally does not invest in pre-revenue companies, Francetic says, “it’s been very helpful to add notes about these companies and then use Affinity to track them over time, and very easily pull information about what we covered last time, what’s different, and what they’ve achieved against what they said they were going to do.”

In addition to using Affinity to provide updates to their Fund I partners, Buoyant has also shifted their focus to include staying in touch with LPs who didn’t invest in their first fund but are interested in Fund II. “We’ll stay engaged with them, so that when we get ready to go out for the next fund, they've been getting some kind of regular drip of information updates from us,” says Francetic.

Standardizing evaluation with a CRM

As Buoyant received more interest from prospective portfolio companies and investors, the firm needed to standardize how they evaluated opportunities. With Affinity, they’ve created their own method of evaluating a business and scoring system. They also set up an opportunity trigger that requires a Buoyant team member who has added or interacted with a prospective portfolio company to fill out the scoring information, ensuring consistency of data captured and aiding reportability.

After the phone screen takes place, the Buoyant team member adds their information, and according to Francetic, “that makes it very easy for us to say, ‘Oh, this company really stands out because it's scored higher than other ones,’ or, ‘here's where it isn't quite as strong and where we might want to dig in and call one of the company execs.’”

Affinity also democratizes who can access this information and add to it, ensuring the entire firm is a part of the investment evaluation and due diligence process. “We use a dashboard that’s easy to pull up and that everyone can add notes to. We tracked 1,000 companies and that turned into nine investments, so we want to understand the characteristics that led to those investments,” says Francetic.

Results

Rising to the top with automation and efficiency

As Francetic and the team continue investing their first fund and look to raise future funds, they want to ensure they continue actively managing their portfolio companies and work towards being a leader in the climate tech space. “We’re trying to be a top performing fund in the category and I think we can still do that. It’s all about getting in at a good price, picking good investments, but then also managing them very actively.”

With Affinity, the team knows they can automate a lot of manual data entry while ensuring they build and maintain the relationships that will lead to their next investments and funds.

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