As VCs, we face a complex balancing act in managing our business and deal pipelines along with many stakeholders, including investors, portfolio companies, founders, deal prospects, and others. No-code tools like Airtable offer a way to meet these competing demands more efficiently, effectively and profitably.
We’ll take a look at Airtable’s intuitive designs, templates, and the essential features that can help VCs tackle the biggest challenges in managing our deal flow pipelines.
What’s the Ideal Pipeline Management Tool Look Like?
For most VCs, the ideal pipeline starts with a lead and ends with a deal closed and an eventual exit. The best deal trackers build from a fully-featured database and structure that enables tracking and reporting fund performance, scaling and adding new features quickly and easily.
It’s all about process optimization, and here are five steps to develop an effective plan:
- map your existing processes
- collect and analyze critical data to create KPIs
- rank your priorities, including potential ROI and revenue
- develop a plan and timeline to implement changes
- review and continuously update your process once implemented.
This plan will help you identify the features that work best for you. Inevitably, that will also lead you to investigate tools that can increase your efficiency with the addition of customizations, integrations, and process optimization and automation—all part of the ideal pipeline.
The biggest challenges of managing any deal pipeline are optimizing your workflow process, integrating the tracking of every stage of your deal pipeline and sharing it across your entire VC platform.
Under the Hood at Airtable
More than 250,000 companies in every industry sector use Airtable every day, including VCs. So let’s look at the key features and what VCs will like most about this no-code platform.
Core Airtable Features
The Airtable platform contains the most popular templates VCs need to manage essential business functions such as a full-featured CRM, product launch calendars, product roadmaps, marketing planning, Gantt charts, remote work, finance, legal, and publishing modules.
What VCs Will Like Most
In our experience, VCs will most appreciate Airtable’s five existing templates and integrations purpose-built for deal flow management. These include:
- Investor Deal Flow – contacts database, valuations tracking, notes, and attachments along with integrations for Crunchbase and LinkedIn
- Investor Portfolio Companies – customizable to track existing portfolio companies, new funding rounds and term sheets, and media coverage
- Deal Flow CRM – follow investment deals and new opportunities, maintain a database of industry and company contacts and linked records; all with customizable blocks, with Kanban view, CSV, and calendar imports
- Personal CRM – a lightweight template for separate personal data, family and personal network contacts
- Lightweight CRM – ideal for startup founders, entrepreneurs and small business owners who need to be up and running quickly.
The platform has 45 of Airtable’s custom-designed apps for putting data into action. Its app Marketplace also includes popular tools such as Vega-lite, Miro, Pivot table, Tellephant, Typeform, and Search. And, its developer community has developed and published more than 150 additional open-source apps available on Github.
In addition, Airtable features 55 templates specially designed for startups that VCs will want to utilize themselves and recommend to companies in your startup portfolio. These startup templates are invaluable for founders and startups of every kind.
How Are VCs Using Airtable?
More than 80% of Fortune 100 companies rely on the platform to manage their business. The biggest companies using Airtable include Netflix, Expedia, BuzzFeed, Medium, Intuit, Shopify, HubSpot, Autodesk, Zendesk, IBM and Github. Not surprisingly, by 2023, Gartner estimates the number of creators developing applications outside of IT groups will be at least four times the number of programmers.
Numerous VCs find Airtable’s no-code platform easy to implement in every part of their business. In addition, teams can quickly customize core processes without using programmers and automate workflows for databases and tracking referrals, distributions, capital calls and fees.
Among the VCs and industry organizations using Airtable are:
- OpenVC – storing data and JS libraries
- Precursor Ventures – tracking development in 80+ portfolios
- Ascension Ventures – UK VC portfolio database management and deal tracking
- Untapped Capital – used the CRM to build an investor portal
- Forti – GDPR Airtable base (based on Everlaw’s Open Sourced compliance Checklist)
- The Capital Network – database of resources for Boston startups
- Weekly.vc – used in the database and funding applications for VC newsletter
- Google designer Anna Phan – produced a database of VCs dedicated to funding underrepresented founders and funders
- Stacker – its user interface is built on top of Airtable data.
Don’t want to do it yourself? A growing pool of knowledgeable no-code consultants is available to get you launched even faster.
As further proof of its popularity, VCs will note Airtable itself secured $735 million series F funding in December 2021, bringing total investments to $1.36 billion. Led by XN, the round included Franklin Templeton, JP Morgan Growth Equity Partners, Salesforce Ventures, Silver Lake, and Michael Dell’s MSD Capital. Existing investors participating were Benchmark, Caffeinated Capital, Coatue, D1 Capital Partners, Greenoaks, ICONIQ Growth, and Thrive Capital.
It’s no wonder VCs, including ourselves, are choosing Airtable to manage their deal flow pipelines and vital components of their business on this popular platform. The number of potential use cases is substantial. Here, you can learn more about our own Community Builder Tech Stack and VC Operating Playbook. We welcome questions and conversations about improving your deal flow management or sharing your success story.