The VC Tech Stack

Tools for your investor soul

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  • Some solutions are additive, other mutually exclusive. Maybe having two different portfolio management software is redundant, while having two data sources is certainly not;
  • This type of extensive list is super prone to errors and incredibly subjective. I used a personal and fairly basic classification, and tried to classify and include things I could find information on. If there is any mistake or suggestion, feel free to let me know — and above all, if you know other things in the list, shoot me a message and I will try my best to keep it up to date;
  • I made an effort to classify each tool in one category only, although this may not be true all the time. There are tools that sometimes may fall into two different categories, which I found to be a bit over-confusing in my journey, therefore I arbitrarily tagged specific platforms in specific ways to reflect what I thought was the best fit.
For full map, check here.
  • The same consideration is applied to Scouting Sources, which are sources I believe to be interesting if integrated (but again, unlawful scraping = bad behavior). I am aware the list can be infinite, but if you have valuable insights I would love to hear them;
  • Portfolio management is a broad category, which includes reporting, accounting, portfolio monitoring, cap table analysis, etc.
  • CRM and Dealflow management tools are not the same thing (sometimes they overlap, but they are definitely not the same stuff), but since they can often be adapted to pipeline management you should at least consider some of them as potential alternatives. This also kind of explains why I have split the CRM systems that you can apply to dealflow and the other ones that are mostly for people and relationship tracking;
  • Finally, the API field mostly means outbound APIs (to extract information rather than importing them).
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  1. Stitching things together: a one-stop solution does not exist, and even if it would I guess that probably investors would be a bit skeptical about it. This means you have to stitch things together, so consider how easy and flexible are platforms. If you wanna have a source of truth, and avoid disconnection between your systems, this is paramount. Automation is key, but don’t abuse it because the more you stitch, the more likely it is the something will break at some point. Be careful, because more is not always better;
  2. Process vs Product: obvious but not easy, sometimes your problems are not with the tool (or the absence of it), but rather with the process. Easy to be said than done, but spend time on the processes first;
  3. Build vs Buy: I am still convinced that if a tool can bring competitive incremental advantage (I am thinking of this, for example), it still makes sense to build it by yourself. However, for the majority of the software you want to internally implement, buying them is often more effective. Built-in software has to be designed, maintained, fixed, and there are so many good solutions out there that it does not make sense to create a new one. Use cases may differ, and there are circumstances where you really need to build your CRM system, but 90% of the time this is not the case. Don’t fall victim to the overconfidence bias, because odds are that a dedicated company/team that builds a specific piece of software all day long will likely do a better job than you;
  4. Due diligence: I am particularly fond of small emerging and more agile companies, but as an investor, you should use your investment skills and processes to assess a potential tech provider. Is the tech/engineering team behind it good enough? What is the trajectory and roadmap of the company? Do they have enough funding to be around in one year and if not, will they be able to fundraise or self-sustain? Who are their clients? To some extent, this may seem too much simply for choosing a provider, but believe me when I tell you that you are not going to change the platform for at least a couple of years (switching costs are often too high), so it is definitely worth the effort.
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Research Lead @Balderton. Formerly @Anthemis @UCLA. All opinions are my own.

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