The Rise of Data & Analytics Roles Within PE/VC

Private equity analytics is on the rise, and technology is playing a major role in how Private Equity and Venture Capital firms are thinking about their team structure. And while this means some jobs are being replaced by tech-enabled AI, new titles, like “Senior Associate, Investment Research and Technology;” “Partner, Data Platform;” “Head of Data Strategy;”  are popping up in firms across the board. 

Along with new titles, PE/VCs are undergoing a shift in hiring candidates with less of a focus on prior venture capital experience, and more so on those with backgrounds in technology to join their growing data and analytics teams.

So what are these roles, and how, specifically, can they help level up your firm’s growth? From assisting operations teams to identifying industry trends and new investment opportunities, read on to see how new data and analytics-focused roles can help transform your firm’s performance for the better.  

4 Data & Analytics Roles to Fuel Your Firm’s Growth

Head of Data Strategy 

To gain a competitive edge in 2022, firms are leveraging advanced analytics and technologies to assist in everything from streamlining operational processes to empowering LPs with actionable, data-informed insights. To lead these initiatives, Heads of Data and Data Strategy are becoming an integral piece of the PE/VC C-suite.   

The core role of these senior executives is to enhance the businesses’ underlying infrastructure and technology, and leverage data to find new opportunities for growth. From better understanding the client, to assessing potential risks and optimizing for data security, the Head of Data Strategy is the lead in gathering and assessing insights to help the firm secure better deals and gain further understanding in relation to the growth potential of the company


Data Analyst

Differing from the standard VC analyst role we’re so used to seeing, data analysts are being hired to support the Head of Data Strategy in working alongside both operations and data engineering teams to help drive strategic initiatives and spearhead technology and data integrity. 

Organizations like Deloitte and Hone are leveraging data analysts with a background in technology to tap into that experience to maintain all of the businesses’ technology stack tools – from the CRM to BI tools. Using those tools as leverage, it’s the data analyst’s role to conduct quantitative analyses and communicate those findings to the team to provide insights to better support client engagement, along with providing data to fuel key decision-making for portfolio members. 

Head of Investment Research + Technology 

With the growing use of technology in Private Equity and Venture Capital, PEs/VCs are looking to bring in top talent with tech backgrounds to help in identifying new technology and investment opportunities to gain a leg-up over the competition. The Head of Investment Research and Technology plays a critical role in researching companies and coming up with recommendations on current and potential investment opportunities, along with new technology to use to streamline investment operations. 

At RCP Advisors, Investment Research and Technology Senior Associate, Lindsey Dukesherer, is responsible for the development and maintenance of RCP’s investment and limited partner databases and reporting systems. In this role, Lindsey leverages platforms like Altvia’s to make sense of all of the data and information the organization has access to, while tapping into industry trends to generate reports and actionable recommendations for the firm’s investment strategy, and identify new opportunities for growth.  

Director of Engineering & Technology 

Now more than ever, portfolio members are turning to advisors and thought leaders from the firm to help identify new technology trends to accelerate business growth, and provide recommendations on optimal strategies and programs to achieve desired business outcomes. This is exactly where a Director of Engineering & Technology shines. 

Along with transforming internal engineering teams from underperforming to outperforming, organizations like K1 Investment Management are looking to bring in a Director of Engineering and Technology to partner with portfolio executives and the firm’s C-suite to take charge of everything from technology platform migration to process optimization.  

Supporting Data & Analytics Roles Within Your Firm

From saving time and streamlining business intelligence data for data analysts, to providing actionable insights to the head of data strategy and research, Altvia’s VC-focused platform can help maximize the performance of the new technology roles you’re bringing into your firm. 

To learn how your firm, specifically, can benefit from Altvia’s centralized platform of powerful solutions, start a conversation with our team to discuss how you operate, and the functional improvements you’d like to make.

A traditional crm was built for general ‘customer’ scenarios

Software platforms have made the world a better place by making work a better place. Indeed the world is better off when people enjoy their jobs even marginally more, and workplace applications on big CRM platforms like Salesforce.com have done that and much more.

But the potential that platforms like these offer presents diminishing returns: once the platform provider has engineered too many industry specific components into its platform, its usefulness for other industries begins to be threatened, and with that so do the usefulness of the component tools built into the platform.

So it is with the CRM category that Salesforce.com has defined: it is generic enough to work for many industries, and yet still offers the potential for others to round off the edges and nail more vertically-oriented and extremely tailored software solutions.

Private capital markets are actually a great demonstration of this dynamic. Where generic CRM platforms simplify — appropriately so — to assume there’s a business, a customer, a sale, and service of that customer, there are a few industry-specific pieces that are missing.

Take for example, that investors become customers by investing through legal entities the GP raises. It’s a subtle but important nuance that just doesn’t make sense at a platform-as-a-service level (because it’s overly complicated for a simple one-time sale that many industries require), but which can easily be added without 10 years or software engineering. Once provided, the rest of the platform’s components become tremendously powerful again and you’re set to take over the world.

As a traditional CRM in our pillars methodology, these nuances must be present to properly account for investors in these legal entities, potential target companies and which are owned by these entities, the context of all interactions with these parties (as well as the appropriate overlap, ie co-investments), and how you’re arriving at finding these opportunities on both sides of the equation, such that you’re able to piece together what’s effective and what’s not. Not just because we say so, but because these are the very relationships and data that are key to the motivation behind a CRM in any industry.

It’s critical, too, that the valuable publicly-available information that helps to enrich CRM systems and save users painful steps of entering it themselves is fully-integrated at the platform level.

Again, look no further than the 3,000+ pre-built integrations that Salesforce.com — the creator of the CRM platform concept — has at a platform level to do so, and which only exists by way of holding just short of overly-specifying certain industry workflows that would present challenges to properly integrate.

Stakeholder reporting and communication (investor relations) draws on a range of datasets

The traditional “customer service” model of CRM systems once again makes overly-simplified assumptions about the customer relationship when applied to private capital markets.

In fifteen years I personally have yet to hear the terms “warranty” or “service call” in this market because it’s just not the same. But make no mistake, as uncomfortable as it may be to say aloud, customer service is more important now than ever and it’s constantly happening; the industry is, after all, considered to be a financial “service”.

As it turns out, that service is primarily information-based — it’s driven by data and takes the form of reports and analysis that drive decisions, and then end up again in investor-facing reports and analysis.

The foundational elements of a private capital markets CRM must be built such that they accommodate this data (like we discussed above), but so too that it can accommodate additional supporting data that investors (customers!) need in the context of service.

Oftentimes this supporting data — financial metrics and time-based values, for example — is believed not to meet the traditional definition of CRM and the natural thought is “well, better do this in Excel!”.

While I happen to believe Excel is still the greatest software application ever built, its introduction to this value chain we’ve discussed herein actually creates the problem many firms suffer from: key data needed to provide customer service (again: effectively the entirety of a firm’s reports and analysis) is now in disparate systems and detached.

Both of those dynamics are important and distinct: not only is this supplemental data disparate, but when brought together there is no logical association that can be made between the two data sets.

Allow me, then, to make the point very simply: not only can this financial and time-based value data (you may be thinking about is as “portfolio monitoring” or “accounting”) be a part of a CRM, it is arguably the most important part of a CRM because it’s at the core of what providing service to the customer entails — information that comes out of data!

Firms need a digital method to engage stakeholders (ie investor portals)

Investor portals are not new; in fact, for many of us — including myself — they conjure up horrifying nightmares in which we’re aimlessly guessing at folders to find the newest document we need.

So in lies the opportunity: not only have the portals we’ve come to hate not simplified the process of acquiring information, they’ve failed to create an entirely new experience that is “customer service” driven.

To be fair, this is not a B2C market where you’d be long out of business for not having focused on customer service and thus the customer’s technology-driven experience. But don’t expect to be around too much longer if you aren’t thinking about this shift.

Today’s institutional investors increasingly expect this same consumer-like experience, and a massive opportunity is being missed by not providing it. It’s not about providing them the experience they desire; it’s more about the ability to measure engagement that is had in return.

Put simply: what’s keeping the market from providing this experience is the availability of the information that’s required to create the service that provides the experience.

If you’ve hung in this long, you know that by focusing on your CRM, you have the data that’s required to manage the customer relationship and the technology-driven experience through which that information is shared to create a differentiated and opportunistic customer experience.

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