How GGV Capital U.S. connects a distributed team and founder network with Affinity
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Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, GGV Capital U.S. is a venture firm focused on early-to-growth investments. The firm lacked a centralized solution that could provide the distributed team visibility into each other’s pipelines and activities.
Affinity’s CRM has become the foundation of GGV’s tech stack, synching with a number of their existing tools such as Slack, Notion, and their Portco founder portal. Affinity’s automation capabilities enable end-to-end relationship management as a startup transitions from being a prospect to a portfolio company.
With Affinity, GGV can now:
- Utilize their CRM as a single source of truth across teams, eliminating silos and offering visibility at every step of the deal pipeline and post-investment process
- Automatically capture and enrich firmwide data, as well as company and network information, to make more informed investment decisions
- Integrate their CRM with their teams’ existing tech stack to manage invite lists, prioritize portfolio support, and offer a holistic view of the interactions between the firm and any individual or company
So many tools, so little communication
With billions of dollars invested across nearly a thousand companies, this level of activity creates the need for a tech stack that can support a diverse distributed organization and a robust network of portfolio company founders. Before Affinity, GGV’s individual teams were each using their own software to manage their deal flow and processes. “We are a distributed team,” says Dave Grenetz, Senior Vice President of IT. “Having everyone work in different places and using separate tooling makes things complex.”
On top of each geo and sector using different software, communication was a challenge and there was no single source of information that captured and synced each team’s information.
Grenetz shares, “Teams were finding out about each other's potential investments for the first time in [the weekly team] meetings. Investment teams and portfolio support teams weren't fully engaged with each other. Having separate systems meant we were often surprised to find out during the meeting what was going on.”
GGV recognized the tooling they had in place was not going to help the firm scale and continue to grow, and knew they needed a centralized solution that could help manage their deal pipeline and portfolio management.
A single integrated solution and source of truth
When GGV implemented Affinity, the firm suddenly had a connector in place that captured information from their various tools and served as a central repository for firmwide information and activities. “Pulling all those systems together and having Affinity be the single source of truth at the center of that has really been priceless,” says Grenetz.
Within Affinity, GGV has integrated their reporting systems, notetaking systems such as Notion, event management software, and email marketing tools into one place. The accuracy and completeness of data has increased information from all these platforms being centralized in the CRM.
Before Affinity, Grenetz says that the firm’s day-to-day was difficult, “trying to get visibility into the single universal pipeline and understand what all the sectors and all the geos were up to.” Now, the firm can surface their deal pipeline in one location and automate the flow and progression of their deals as they close and turn into portfolio companies. “Pulling all that together into one platform has been amazing.”
With this new-found visibility comes a concern about who has access to what in the system, especially when there may be sensitive information. Affinity is tied to GGV’s single sign-on system and has layers of permissioning to ensure there’s control over what emails, calendar meetings, and content is visible to different groups of employees. Grenetz shares, “We have a lot of control over the various roles and responsibilities of our team members, and who has access to certain lists and data.”
Automating and enhancing portfolio management and community
With Affinity’s integrative capabilities, GGV has leveled up how they manage their external network. The firm has created a founder portal to help connect their portfolio company founders and provide them with knowledge, including training materials, content, and best practices. They also manage a corresponding Slack community for founders, portfolio executives, and their executive training program members to connect.
Because of the integration with Affinity, GGV was able to automate their founder portal invite and onboarding process along with various community management tools so portfolio companies could keep in touch with one another. “Affinity is plugged into our workflow, so that when a deal progresses through the pipeline, and ultimately becomes a portfolio company, all those founders and leaders immediately get access to the portal and get access to that knowledge.”
A firmwide superpower
Since implementing Affinity’s CRM in 2019, GGV operates with the knowledge that they have one centralized source of information across their tools, geos, and teams. “Affinity has really supercharged our team and given us superpowers,” says Grenetz. “We know that Affinity's automation is pulling every interesting data point about the people and the companies that we work with."
The team always has the most up-to-date pipeline and portfolio information, allowing for easier collaboration and better data accuracy. “We know that when we go into Affinity, the data is accurate and it's automatically there. It enables us all to work together as a single cohesive team.”
Reflecting on the decision to use Affinity as the firmwide CRM, Grenetz is happy with the results. “I'm really glad that we went with Affinity. We joined the Affinity family in 2019 and have been very happy customers; it's worked out really well for us.”