How f7 Ventures grows and scales a $50 million fund with Affinity
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f7 Ventures is an early-stage venture fund with a $50 million first fund that focuses on pre-seed and seed-stage investments. As the firm grew from an angel fund to an institutional fund, they needed a CRM that could extract information about their network and investments from individual email accounts and make it available in one location. Affinity has centralized f7’s contacts and investment opportunities into one CRM the entire firm can access, which has enabled processes that will allow the firm to scale over time.
With Affinity, f7 can:
- Evaluate all companies using the same fields and data in one system of record
- Conduct their deal flow review meetings succinctly with visibility into all activities and next steps, ensuring proactive outreach
- Easily flag and organize potential co-investment opportunities into lists
One fund, multiple inboxes and spreadsheets
f7 is a seed and pre-seed fund that originally comprised seven female leaders from companies such as Meta, Yahoo, and Google. “When we started the fund and the firm, part of the philosophy was around diversifying the check writer and where that capital goes,” says Kelly Graziadei, Founding Partner at f7 Ventures. “We ultimately want to make venture more accessible to individuals from different networks and lived experiences.”
With their first $50 million fund, the firm manages relationships with three core stakeholder groups: new founders with new companies, LPs and individual investors, and existing founders and portfolio companies.
With so many stakeholders comes a need to proactively manage those connections. At first, the firm relied on email and individual spreadsheets to manage their deal flow and investor relationships. Working out of multiple different inboxes with zero insight into other people’s activity ran the risk of delayed responses and missed opportunities. As Graziadei shares, “It can get really muddled if you don't have the right technology and systems in place to make sure you're doing right by all of those stakeholders and you're following up in a timely fashion.”
The firm recognized the need to populate the information from people’s inboxes and spreadsheets into one easily accessible CRM anyone could reference.
A CRM that gives companies equal opportunity
After first using another CRM, f7 Ventures quickly switched to Affinity when they recognized the need for a CRM that could streamline their information and processes, and scale with the firm as they grew. “All of us founding partners at f7 are longtime operators, so even in building a firm, we look to be more operationally buttoned up than maybe your average first fund,” says Graziadei.
Immediately Graziadei and the f7 team saw value in Affinity’s ease of implementation and overall user experience. “We felt the benefit and value from the right UX, really easy implementation, and something that integrated seamlessly in our workflows.”
In order to level the playing field for all founders, f7 looks at every opportunity that comes their way—even through cold inbound. With Affinity, each company has the same fields and type of information populated, which allows the team to more easily evaluate opportunities. “If you look at a 12 to 15-month view, we had thousands of companies that we captured and entered into Affinity,” Graziadei shares. “From there we were able to apply our own kind of scoring system.”
The firm can quickly evaluate basic information such as stage and sector, and more nuanced questions such as whether a deal is a good co-investment opportunity with another fund or individual.
Alongside this focus on deal sourcing, f7 continues maintaining relationships with their portfolio companies. “As a small firm, we're doing all of the jobs in venture, from firm building to fundraising, and then sourcing, picking, and helping companies,” says Graziadei. “It can be easy for something to fall through the cracks.”
With Affinity, the team can translate their timelines into notifications, helping to manage relationships at scale across their collective network.
Data and action-driven deal flow review meetings
Affinity organizes company information in an easy-to-view interface, which f7 use to run their regular deal flow review meetings. Says Graziadei, “Affinity is the centerpiece of that meeting, where we're going through and asking what stage these companies are in and what's the right next step.”
Affinity keeps the team accountable, helping them to manage action items and ensure they’re following up with next steps and decisions in a timely manner.
Scaling a firm, powered by Affinity
When f7 Ventures went from being an angel fund to a $50 million fund, scalability was front and center. How would they manage the thousands of companies they evaluate on an annual basis?
With Affinity, f7 can scale while being empowered by a single source of truth and consistent rubric when evaluating opportunities. “Affinity helps us capture important pieces of conversations with the people that we're meeting and working with to build long term relationships,” Graziadei shares.
F7 Ventures' decision to adopt Affinity has transformed the way they operate, enhancing their ability to manage relationships and deal flow effectively. With Affinity, they've achieved greater organization and scalability, and maintained a proactive approach, ensuring they can fulfill their mission of making venture capital more accessible while building a multi-generational venture fund.
The successful partnership with Affinity has set them on a path to long-term growth and success in the venture capital industry. Says Graziadei, “I'm excited that we have a toolset and a partner in Affinity that can grow with us and be with us as we continue to build. Affinity plays a really critical role in helping us ensure we can do that now and into the future.”