Established in 1999, Crosslink Capital is a technology-focused, San Francisco-based investment firm whose investments range from early-stage private companies to well-established public corporations. Prior to using Altvia’s fund management system, Crosslink had been managing its fundraising and investor relations processes using Excel.
As they grew, they migrated to a Salesforce database so they could consolidate all of their investor data into one location that was accessible to everyone and that was dynamically updated. This solved the problem of having investor data stuck in everyone’s email inbox or in their personal calendars and also eliminated the multiple versions of spreadsheets that inevitably were created to manage investors. It also allowed them to see what interactions had taken place with each client so fundraising tasks weren’t duplicated but at the same time ensuring that no opportunities were ignored. When they initially started using Salesforce, Crosslink brought in a Salesforce consultant to customize the fund management software for their business.
Almost immediately, confusion arose about how best to store data in Salesforce and how to structure that data for Crosslink’s needs. For example, Crosslink’s investor base is made up of a number of large organizations that often have smaller subsidiaries or divisions that need to be tracked and managed separately. Data on these smaller divisions, however, needs to be rolled up to the umbrella organization so that Crosslink can understand the entire organization’s portfolio and what fundraising activities have taken place throughout the organization. According to Joel Hausman, Crosslink’s Partner in Marketing & Client Relations, the Salesforce consultant did not adequately understand their needs and, as a result, their Salesforce implementation did not effectively track the hierarchies that existed within their clients’ organizations. Says Hausman, “We really needed someone who understood our industry and who got what we were saying.”
Crosslink’s Salesforce system also did not provide timely information on their clients and each client’s investments. When a client called with questions about their account, for example, the Investor Relations team had to go to the accounting team and have them put together a report that provided the information they needed. Often it was one to two days before the IR team could get back to the client with answers, during which time the investor’s confidence in Crosslink could potentially fade. And finally, Crosslink’s previous Salesforce system was not set up to properly manage the two separate fundraising models that accompany managing both a Hedge Fund and a Venture Fund. “Fundraising for a Hedge Fund is continuous with no closing schedules,” says Hausman, “and then you have a venture fundraise which does have specific timelines and its separate unique processes.” They needed a fund management solution that would easily separate Venture prospects and Hedge prospects.
Hausman and the Crosslink team came across Altvia on the Salesforce AppExchange when they were looking for a happy medium between the rigidity of an out-of-the-box Salesforce solution and a custom-built solution. And they were looking for a fund management system, and partner who understood their business. “Most of the consultants we talked to just asked what we wanted and said they’d build it for us,” says Hausman. “But what we wanted was someone to tell us what works best in the industry, what other groups have used, and how they have ideally set up systems that work at other organizations like ours.” And they wanted to have a fully functioning system in less than three months.
Crosslink’s Altvia implementation was set up to consolidate all of their investor data into one location so the fundraising team knows what investors have been contacted and what investors need to be contacted. Altvia was also configured to account for the various hierarchies of companies in their database so data could be stored in an orderly and efficient manner. To help the Crosslink team delineate between venture and hedge fund clients, their subscription was configured with a simple checkbox that could toggle a prospect between a venture prospect and a hedge prospect and change the fields that were required for each. “It allows no relationship in fundraising to slip through the cracks,” says Hausman. Going forward, they will be able to analyze multiple data points to determine where their fundraising efforts have been most successful and what types of investors are most likely to invest with them. “Based on this data, we will now be able to focus fundraising efforts to be more successful in subsequent fundraising opportunities,” says Hausman. “We now have clear and accurate historical documentation of fundraising efforts and IR communications as a reference before speaking with investor or prospect.”
Crosslink can also now use Altvia to get instant access to any given investor’s account information without having to go through the accounting department. According to Hausman, Crosslink investor portfolios can consist of public hedge fund investments, private venture capital investment, or a hybrid investment in both public and private companies, and many consists of all three. “Financial reporting for public investments differs from that of private investments. We needed a solution that could blend the two together,” says Hausman. “Altvia has up-to-date performance metrics for all of our investors and their investments so it calculates performance returns and gives us investment summaries on all our investors regardless of their investment vehicle.” “During the IR process,” he continues, “Altvia helps us inspire investor confidence simply because we can answer investors’ questions in a shorter timeframe than a couple of days.”