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Creating a scalable VC Technology Stack

Streamlining Artesian's deal flow
 

Challenge: Artesian’s existing operations systems were disconnected and we realised that our existing processes would be unable to keep pace with our growing business.

Solution: Our investment team needed a platform that would quickly unify their dealmaking workflows—from sourcing to intake to record-keeping. Artesian selected Affinity as our new relationship intelligence platform. Its easy deployment provided almost immediate access to a linchpin for our tech stack: a platform that automates contact and deal data capture.

Result: Today, we utilise Affinity’s API to consolidate our workflows to capture, manage, and utilize our proprietary data at every stage of the dealmaking process. The investment team has shifted from of time-consuming manual platforms to an automated single source of truth for the entire organization. Now, no new data slips through the cracks.

 

Artesian VC Technology Stack



Introduction


Artesian is a global investment firm with more than $1B under management, 600+ portfolio investments, and eight offices around the world. We are an active early-stage investment team in addition to providing advisory services and venture capital as a service (VCaaS) functions for governments, organizations, and industry groups.


As we continue to grow into new markets and establish more offices around the world, we started seeking more and more opportunities to increase efficiencies. This kickstarted an organization-wide digital transformation initiative to remove information silos and scale more efficiently.


Our investment team realized that adding more people to the organization would actually become a hindrance to growth. Systematizing and automating key pieces of our investment process was a requirement for ther next stage of maturation.


With Affinity, Artesian has been able to:

  • Remove data silos that had formed in email inboxes, handwritten notes, Excel spreadsheets, and Trello boards, improving workgroup-wide visibility and data sharing

  • Save time on operations by automating contact and deal data management and allowing the investmentl team to remain focused on closing deals

  • Save money by eliminating additional, manually managed software platforms that weren’t scaling to meet their team’s needs.

Challenge - Finding Scalable infrastructure to support rapid growth


Artesian has successfully grown globally for nearly two decades, but breaking into the next growth stage required some adjustments. We recognised that in managing the next fund or the fund after that, we’d fall off a precipice. What made us successful in the past was not necessarily going to make us successful in the future,


The tools and systems we have relied on relied on were incomplete and didn’t communicate with one another. Managing deal flow was onerous. Teams would have to manually count the number of deals in each deal stage. Intake for new companies was handled through nearly a dozen different online forms; these forms then fed into notes and contact records spread across email inboxes, handwritten notes, Trello boards, and Microsoft Planner entries.


Financial information was stored in a back-end accounting and finance system that didn’t communicate well with the front-end. Everything was disjointed. There was no flow from front to back.


We had previously tested different CRM's including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Altvia, another investment-focused CRM solution. We finally chose Affinity. “Altvia had a great system, but it required a lot of expensive customization. With Affinity, we just set it and forget it.”


Solution - Building a dependable, repeatable, and automated system


The first step to streamlining our data management was simply launching Affinity. With the platform up and running and our full contact database centrally available, the next step was setting up integrations with their other software tools and further automating their workflows. With Affinity’s API, we integrated with:

  • Typeform to manage incoming applications from startups

  • Sharepoint to capture any files—including decks or pitch videos connected to an application

  • eFront our backend data warehouse to ensure all financial information remains up to date with their contact information

All that data is automatically consolidated into a single activity timeline for a related contact, then flows into the Affinity Analytics reporting dashboards.


Combining Affinity Analytics dashboards with the CRM’s Kanban board enables the investment team to manage deal flow all in one place. Sliding a card from one deal stage to the next automatically updates team-wide reports, so analysts and PMs can focus on prospecting rather than updating information in multiple apps.


These reports are regularly shared with Artesian’s partners for high-level updates. For example, as the team focuses on investing in more female founders, we are able to show a detailed breakdown of which female founders are in the fund, whom they’re pursuing, and even showcase success metrics with partners and LPs.


Meanwhile, analysts, operations managers, portfolio managers, and even Artesian’s legal team are able to refer to the data stored in Affinity every day.


Results - Becoming more efficient over time


Efficiently organizing and using data to inform business decisions creates a virtuous cycle: the more data you have and the easier it is to review, the better decisions you can make, and the new information you get from making a new decision informs your next one.


With our entire dealmaking ecosystem running through Affinity, Artesian knows exactly how to access all of our information when we need it. If weI want to know who’s been talking to a particular startup, we can find that organization in a list in Affinity, figure out which contact to meet with, and dive into the complete history of our email communications. It’s criticalt for our organization to be able to do that quickly,


Streamlining Artesian's tech stack has also gone beyond making our day-to-day work easier; it’s also contributing to increasing the deal flow pipeline. With Affinity’s Typeform integration, applications submitted by startups outside of Artesian’s collective network are accurately captured and recorded rather than sent to a spam folder or lost in an inbox. Some of these applications were going into the void. Now they’re being captured, worked through, evaluated, screened by analysts, and reviewed before sending onto portfolio managers. .


Scaling up and spreading out


As Artesian builds sustainable, repeatable processes that can scale alongside our business, we are also finding more use cases for Affinity in new areas of business development. With the support of Affinity’s product team, we are actively making suggestions and collaborating to expand the platform. Extending Affinity out to our VCaaS customers, in the coming months, is part of the mission to continue to grow eur collective network.

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