Venture capitalists see hundreds of deals every year — whether you’re an angel investor, emerging manager, or veteran managing partner. The question is, how do you manage all of this deal flow without losing track of the deal, investment economics, and post-investment milestones? Who sent it to you, and who you shared it with? Who has the deal and what are the economics?
Even further, you need to keep track of where all those companies are in your investment process. Through the diligence process, the huge mass of deals gets gradually whittled down to just a small percentage of companies or your acceptance rate (%). Of all the hundreds or thousands of deals that a private market investor sees, only a handful get a check. Of those, only a few make it to the next stage.
This deal flow funnel helps you track not only the volume of deals and investments but the quality as well. High-quality deal flow is consistent with your investment strategy and parameters like sector, stage, check size, revenue threshold, and team size. How efficiently can you and your team move a company from an initial referral to investing? How many deals did you see, pass on and accept last quarter, quarter over quarter or vintage? Equally important, how quickly can you knock out companies that don’t fit the bill? It’s better to spend time on 5 investable companies that fit your criteria perfectly than 25 misaligned deals.
Find the system that works for you
Some VCs rank a company on a scale from 1–5 based on a set of criteria. Others follow a watching > first meeting > second meeting > partner review > partner meeting > Terms > invest process.
Everyone’s process is a little bit different. fiifi gives you the freedom to customize your diligence process and funnel so you can see your deal flow in a way that serves you best. Easily adjust any aspect to you and your team's flow.
Understand what makes a company a winner
Even though you might have a “gut feeling” about a company, it’s important to qualify and quantify what makes that company the right investment for you. With fiifi, you and your team can take and share notes and conversations, and create checklists for deal memos and milestones to give your team the confidence they’ve got a potentially winning investment.
Additionally, your tool should track why a company wasn’t a fit for you or if you lost the deal, why you lost it. Jot down notes and fiifi will archive them in our deal flow manager, forever, because you never know if that company will be a good investment for you later. If the company comes across your desk again, you and your team can quickly understand why you didn’t invest last time without having to search through hundreds of emails, Box folders, or excel spreadsheets — we manage it all.
Show you have proprietary deal flow
If you are going to raise another fund after this one your CRM should help you keep track of inbound referrals, but also monitor outbound deals. A huge part of VC is building and maintaining your network. fiifi automatically tracks inbound and outbound referrals so you can focus on investing.
Share your proprietary deal flow — not only does it build your reputation and trust within the VC network, but it helps enrich the startup and venture community as a whole.
Our CRM auto adds founders, investors, and advisors to the People tab when you add a company to diligence or to your portfolio. Send emails to an entire cohort, sector or vintage in a couple clicks.
We also cross-reference your social networks to find potential co-investors, including details like how many companies they’ve invested in and how many exits they‘ve had.
Impress your LPs
Always be on top of your game. If a limited partner wants to know about deal terms or asks about the latest quarterly business review, or cash in hand, your CRM should be able to bubble this data up quickly for you to export, send easily via email, or to address while on a call.
At the end of the day, your CRM can be built from scratch, from Salesforce, Airtable, or many other services. What we care about is automating as much of this as possible so you can stay focused on helping founders and cutting checks.
As early stage investors, these are some of the features we wanted ourselves when building fiifi. Now we’re extending them to our users.
Sign up or log in at fiifi.co.
Hi! Thanks for reading. I’m Theron, a founder, investor, and past banker. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great companies and brands over the last 15 years like Pivotal Software and Silicon Valley Bank.
I like to write about my experiences as a founder, mentor, investor in scaling enterprise startups.
I hope my articles help you to avoid and learn from my mistakes, as well as gain knowledge from my wins.
Keep shipping product and never look back!
Thanks to those that have helped craft and publish this post.