What tools do associates at venture capital firms use for their daily activities?


Originally answered on Quora.

Here’s what we’ve seen used on a daily basis. These are in addition to Google, and your standard office worker productivity applications (e.g, email, calendar, Word, PPT, Excel — and given it’s 2019, Slack):

Network + deal tracking

  • LinkedIn: Venture is an incredibly relationship-driven business — which drives deal sourcing, due diligence, and portfolio support. While the product has (significant) flaws, the best graph that currently exists of who knows who in the relevant domains today is this, for better or worse.
  • CRM: To track and manage deal pipelines, deal reporting, and increasingly relationship management. Most CRMs weren’t built for VC, and so most teams are trying to force something built for sales to fit their workflow.
  • Note: I’m biased — but what we’re building at 4Degrees is tackling these challenges head-on by building an intelligent relationship management + deal tracking product in one. It also helps solve for Crystal’s use case of knowing important events in your network as well!

Personal efficiency

  • Notion / Coda / Airtable / Evernote / Dropbox Paper: Some way of quickly taking notes + organizing work
  • Calendly / MixMax / X.ai / Clara: to quickly enable people to schedule meetings without a lot of email traffic
  • Zoom / UberConference / Hangouts: much of the job is composed of calls and meetings (pitch meetings, diligence conversations, team meetings, networking, recruiting…). Dozens of other applications in this category, but these seem to be the three most popular in my experience.

Company research

  • Pitchbook (or Crunchbase): Currently the best data sources around what investments have been completed, by whom, and on what terms. Deals at the earliest stages are increasingly being done without press releases or public fanfare, so these data sources are less comprehensive than they used to be 5 years ago — but are still the best options.
  • CapitalIQ: A great resource for public company valuation data, so makes doing comparables analysis easier. For established markets, often can easily get industry reports here as well. Plenty of other market research sources that can be leveraged as well, depending on the firm’s budget (e.g., Euromonitor).
  • Industry content: staying abreast of new deals that have happened, or the recent articles that are making the rounds. Pro-Rata + Term Sheet does a good job nationally, and each city likely has its own local publications. Twitter is also a good way to keep a pulse on the industry. Many will use Feedly or a similar RSS reader to keep track of blogs — but the social curation of Twitter may be easier at this point.

Company popularity data sources

There’s a wide range of these, but all generally with the purpose of trying to identify companies that are growing rapidly (or have the potential to do so):

  • Customer Reviews: G2 Crowd — see also TrustRadius + Capterra
  • Employee Reviews: Glassdoor
  • Employee counts: LinkedIn, SourceScrub
  • New products: ProductHunt, BetaList, Angellist
  • Traffic analysis: Alexa, SimilarWeb
  • Consumer spend: SecondMeasure
  • Mobile app trends: AppAnnie, Apptopia, SensorTower
  • Technology usage: G2 Crowd + Siftery, StackShare, BuiltWith

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