This question was originally answered on Quora.
Here’s what we’ve seen used on a daily basis by Associates at VC firms. These are in addition to Google, and your standard office worker productivity applications (e.g, email, calendar, Word, PPT, Excel — and given it’s 2021, Slack):
Network + Deal Tracking
LinkedIn: Venture Capital is an incredibly relationship-driven business — which drives every aspect of a deal, starting from sourcing, due diligence, and portfolio support. While the LinkedIn product has (significant) flaws, it is still one of the best systems for VC associates to understand who knows who in the relevant domains.
CRM: To track and manage deal pipelines, deal reporting, and increasingly relationship management. Most CRMs were not designed for venture capital, and so most teams are trying to force something made for traditional sales processes to fit their specific workflow.
We at 4Degrees are tackling these challenges head-on by building an intelligent relationship management + deal tracking product in one. Designed explicitly for deal-driven teams like venture capital, 4Degrees understands the workflows and nuances of VC and PE teams.
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.
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 much public fanfare, so these data sources are less comprehensive than they used to be five years ago — but are still the best options.
CapitalIQ: An excellent 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 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 specific industries your firm in investing in. 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