Better data. Better relationships. Better outcomes.
[Webinar] Today’s Differentiated GP: Modern Data & Technology Strategies
We sat down with Kelli Fontaine, Partner at Cendana Capital, for a conversation about how her team is harnessing the power of their technology to make data-driven decisions and stand out to their LPs.
With only four investment professionals, the team at Cendana Capital is managing a robust portfolio of $2.2B. Known for progressive data and technology strategies that have established them as an elite FoF, Kelli Fontaine, a Partner with Cendana, shares how she, in partnership with Altvia, has helped her firm stand out and gain admiration from their GPs.
Spend less time chasing LPs, fundraising, and co-invest data. Learn how Altvia’s purpose-built fund lifecycle platform can help your firm:
- Create powerful dashboards.
- Compare, contrast, and benchmark metrics.
- Conduct deeper due diligence faster.
- Collaborate through an LP portal to build trust and transparency with LPs.
[00:00:00] Jeff Williams: Hello everybody. We are coming to you from now, Sunny San Francisco. It’s just last few minutes that the fog is burned up. I’m here with Brie Aletto, the CEO of Altvia. Kelli Fontaine, Partner at Cendana Capital. I’m Jeff Williams from Altvia, and we’ve got a fun webinar for you today. We’re going to hang out for just a minute.
[00:00:28] As all good webinars do here to, to give people a moment to join us. So we’ll get started here in just a minute.
[00:00:40] Brie Aletto: Our coffee mugs make me feel like we’re on the Today Show or something.
[00:00:44] Jeff Williams: Indeed. Yeah. We need some stacks of papers. It’s a pretty authentic panel.
[00:00:53] Brie Aletto: Makes me think of Good Morning, San Francisco from Full House.
[00:01:11] Jeff Williams: All right. Maybe we will get kicked off here with some slides for you. We do have some software demos for you as well here, and we’ll be eager to get to get to those. First, let’s go ahead and get us kicked off here.
[00:01:27] Brie Aletto: And don’t be shy, ask questions. I already see, you know, you guys are making connections through Crowdcast chat session, so feel free to keep those coming.
[00:01:34] Jeff Williams: Please do all questions are good questions. Please do ask them and I’m gonna go ahead and share my screen for some slides.
[00:01:49] Brie Aletto: Yes. We’re hoping to keep this very conversational. So like I said, ask questions. Kelli and I really wanted basically a script to read off of, and luckily Jeff kept us honest and said, we need this to be more conversational , so hopefully it’ll be a little more lively than if it were just Kelli and myself.
[00:02:06] Jeff Williams: And feel free to weigh in on who got that? Uh, so topic today is today’s differentiated GP, the modern approach to data and technology. This is a, a super personal one to me and we were just discussing how fund of funds have this problem in a totally different way, so we’re super excited to, uh, to have you go through this today.
[00:02:32] Here’s what we’re looking. In terms of an agenda, let’s take a minute, we’ll do some quick intros and then we’re gonna get into talking through some opportunities the technology and data provide, and ones which you’ve taken good advantage of, and we’ll talk a little bit about how you approach that, what it means for LPs, and then all of the many questions that y’all are, I’m sure already submit.
[00:03:41] Jeff Williams: Okay, excellent. Thank you. So, this is as far as we’ve gotten, so thank you for keeping us honest. Let’s go through some quick intros. Kelli, tell us a little bit about yourself.
[00:03:54] Kelli Fontaine: Well, thank you for having me. First of all, you’ve been a wonderful partner, so I’m excited to be here and talk about what I love about you all.
[00:04:00] I’m Kelli Fontaine based in San Francisco, and I’m a Partner at Cendana Capital, where I’ve been at about five years now. I joined in at the very beginning of 2018. Prior to Cendana, I started my career at Capital Group. Kind of fell into data, to be honest. At school I studied journalism and business.
[00:04:08] I love sports and so I kept defensive tackles for the football team and really came into stats that way. When I started my career, data science wasn’t a thing. But I did focus on data at Capital Group, and then I did my own startup which was point of sales analytics, so data, and then I joined a startup that was Kleiner and CRV backed that did IPO and there I focused we created aninsurance product.
[00:04:32] It was one of the products we offered and I joined the corp dev team there and, That’s another way I wasn’t running the data team, but interacted with the data team so we could build on an actuary or model and underwriting processes. So my career has expanded different gamuts of data. So when I joined Cendana, I was very excited to get my hands around their data.
[00:04:52] A little bit about Cendana, so you know where I’m coming from. We are a fund of funds and we exclusively invest in pre -seed and seed funds, and we do that globally. Venture capital. And so we have 2.2 billion under management. Our first fund is a 2012 vintage. We’re currently raising wrapping up our fund five raise.
[00:05:10] So when I talk about data, it’s, I can wear the GP hat of how we do our own data, but also the LP hat and what we look for in our own managers when we invest and how we want their data to be structured and what we want them to show us. So I will try to speak from both hats on how we look at data.
[00:05:28] Jeff Williams: And I’ll come back to that too, cuz I came from a similar background. Brie?
[00:05:32] Brie Aletto: Yes, I was gonna say Kelli is our secret cheerleader out there in the market cuz she’s got so many different connections between GPs and LPs and consider our prices. So we owe a lot of our growth. So Kelli, so thank you.
[00:05:42] Yes, Brie Aletto, CEO of Altvia. I’ve been here about two years. Some of you have maybe met some of you, I haven’t quite yet, but all of my background is pretty much in tech and growing and scaling businesses.
[00:05:53] Jeff Williams: And doing it well. Yes. I’m Jeff Williams. Perhaps you’ve bumped into me on these webinars before.
[00:06:00] I’m Chief Strategy Officer. What I was gonna say is I came from a venture fund of funds as well, Greenspring Associates, early in my career. And we were very forward thinking in terms of technology as well, a different time, like 15 years or so ago. And and so in many cases, I, have ended up working on trying to solve a lot of these same problems, but I can also share the flip side of sometimes doing it a little bit less efficiently.
[00:06:25] So let’s get in to the meat here. I wanted to start with this because I think this is incredible. It’s just a slide with the pie chart, but let’s really break this down. According to a Private Equity International survey of institutional LPs, only two out of three of them felt like the information they got from GP.
[00:06:50] Or sorry, two thirds believed that it was not even good. And 92% believed it was not excellent, and this is where, I think you and I can both bear witness to the fact that I think I tend to agree this is what makes me passionate about solving this problem, but it’s pretty outstanding, right?
[00:07:07] Would that jive with your experience?
[00:07:09] Kelli Fontaine: I definitely think it’s correct and that’s why if you’re doing what’s industry standard, is that even what you want to achieve, right? The industry standard is subpar and I think it’s very easy to stand out if you do things a little bit better. And again, I think fund management is a business and so it’s really understanding how you wanna run your business.
[00:07:28] Brie Aletto: Yeah, and I think it was interesting, in talking about this is your experience as an LP and what you’re looking for as an LP.
[00:07:36] Kelli Fontaine: Right. We definitely have GPs who, when you ask a question and it takes a week to get the answer back, you’re wondering, why don’t you have your arms around all of this information already?
[00:07:46] If you’re actually an investor, it’s not just if that one company’s doing well, but how is the portfolio doing? Wait. You should have these answers so that you can really monitor your own portfolio, your own investments.
It’s very important to be organized and to be able to monitor your investments, and so I think it’s an important way that you show your stakeholders that you know what’s going on and that you’re being able to dig further and what’s going on well and what’s not, and why.
[00:08:10] Jeff Williams: Why don’t you push your analysts harder, with more Excel skills? And that’s really the point, right? Is that there’s a missed opportunity.
[00:08:19] Is that it’s not sending out. Theres so much happening around NPS, Qualtrics, a well known company, big one, just focused on, on trying to enable the customer experience that stands out. And we’ve talked about this before on webinars. I think it might be a little bit awkward to phrase like your LP relationship as your customer experience, but in spirit, is it not the exact same thing?
[00:08:43] It sounds to me like there’s missed opportunities by GPs for which you are an LP.
[00:08:49] Kelli Fontaine: Correct. We definitely wanna see that they’re building their firms. Again, we focus on venture firms, so it’s very important that they’re building their firms so that they’re supporting their investments the best they can.
[00:08:59] That’s the number one. But the other thing is how are they gonna do that if they don’t know what’s going wrong, right? What actually is the result of their investments? And so that’s really important. And that’s the other stakeholder. There’s not just one stakeholder in their businesses. And for us, it’s the same thing.
[00:09:14] If we were just investing, how do we know what’s going right and wrong in the portfolio? We tweak how we’re investing our check sizes based on the data and how we’re analyzing our own investments in portfolio. So it’s really important to understand the data, to be able to understand what’s going right and wrong.
[00:09:33] Jeff Williams: Yep. I’m gonna propose a reason why this is the case and I also wanna take a minute to acknowledge that we have yet to trademark the title of this slide, which I think we should. It’s great. Here’s why I think that’s the case. I think that the technology in this market has evolved for whatever reason, just the sort of incumbents in the history to have a problem.
[00:09:55] And the problem is, and I’ll develop this here over a few seconds, but the problem is really that gray chart to be sure. Altvia as a technology provider in capital markets provides functionality and effectively all of what’s green here and doesn’t. And what’s great, but the reason that I want to unpack this a little bit as the blocker is because I will make the case that everything over here on the left, these two columns, fund inception, and portfolio management, if we went through all of the green boxes, which we won’t, look right at the top.
[00:10:28] Relationship management generally, this bucket of columns are things that a lot of people associate with CRM. CRM stands for customer relationship management, and yet, all of the sort of reporting and interface with the customer is over here on the right, and it’s structured this way. I didn’t structure it this way.
[00:10:46] I want to claim credit for the title and trademark. However, this is an industry report that this is structured in and I think what we can suggest here is that the reason a lot of the interfacing reporting is over here is because it’s almost this natural life cycle flow.
[00:11:06] Where a lot of the information that’s required to properly do some of this reporting is accounting based in some of the incumbent accounting systems. And so naturally or as we were talking before, administrators are now doing this, It’s a huge part of the market now. And so it’s just attach this sort of last line there, right?
[00:11:24] Like let the sort of reporting and interfacing happen there, and, I’m gonna make the case here that ends up being a systemic blocker, because those are oftentimes separate systems, like in our case, we don’t provide those systems. But you’ve got the customer relationship stuff and then you’ve got the customer and the interface and the reporting to them and oftentimes it’s disconnected.
[00:11:44] We’re gonna fast forward and show you how, we’ve broken down this blocker here by acquiring information from other providers and reattaching reporting and interfacing to CRM systems. Does that feel like a fair assessment if I think about it that way? Like sometimes the sort of accounting systems and the portals and stuff like that?
[00:12:01] Kelli Fontaine: Yeah, I think, funds and firms have front offices, back offices, so do LPs. And I think everybody works separately. And if the data doesn’t all talk, then number one, you can’t even analyze all the data against each other, right? So if you’re getting a distribution that comes from the accounting and it’s not over here, and attribution on your investment level data.
[00:12:21] It so it, it’s redundant data workflows. It’s not always correct. And so having the data in one place is extremely important to be able to provide even the reporting to the LPs and the way that you would want to.
[00:12:34] Jeff Williams: Yep. And if you’re not, you’re missing an opportunity because the reality is. You’re always fundraising, right?
[00:12:43] You’re fundraising, your GPs are constantly fundraising, and so a lot of the investor relations activities are really fundraising activities, right? Again, providing an outstanding customer experience, differentiating, there’s opportunities all over the place, and you’re constantly under the bright light because you’re fundraising.
[00:13:03] Kelli Fontaine: Everything’s an opportunity that you have with every time you interact with an LP. It’s an opportunity, yes. for the next fund for setting up the stage for their next commitment to you.
[00:13:14] Jeff Williams: Yep. Let’s talk about how you’re doing this cause you’re doing this amazingly well and it’s cool because sometimes we hear from customers who are less familiar with some of the technology problems we can solve for them.
[00:13:27] About you. And of course, like a lot of times we’re talking to sales prospects who want to talk to you, which is, here we are. Exactly. But let’s talk, you’re doing something really well. Help us understand how you approach this.
[00:13:44] Kelli Fontaine: So when I started at Cendana, we’re a very small team and we’re a small team today.
[00:13:48] There’s four investment professionals and one VP of finance. We do leverage a fund administration firm. But that’s our team, right? And we have 2.2 billion under management and we have 60 fund relationships now. So us being able to scale happen because of software and because of how we structure the data.
[00:14:08] But I think an important part, stepping back on also how we work, I think it’s important to say our investment thesis is that we want concentrated portfolios. So high ownership, less companies in each fund for venture. And then we structure a portfolio the same way. We wanna be the lead investor.
[00:14:26] And so that doesn’t just mean the largest check, but we are very hands on with our managers. That means a monthly call with 55 monthly calls we do with all of our managers monthly calls with our larger LPs. And so that very hands on approach, also is important how we act with our managers and the data that we wanted to capture.
[00:14:45] So with that being said, when I joined, I took everything that they currently were tracking. And this is my first time on the LP side of the table. So I also sat down and spent a few months of what else could we track? What else would we wanna track? So you really have to get your arms around everything in the universe that you would ever wanna track in your business.
[00:15:07] And I think it’s important because emails, number of meetings, all of this matters because how many opportunities are you seeing? How many make it through the pipeline? All of this needs to be quantified if you wanna help processes for your business. And everything is considered data, in my opinion. And so I think it’s important in private investments.
[00:15:29] Is, where is that data coming from? Because it’s not just a pipe that you can turn on. We can’t just say, Oh, we’re gonna track all the credit card data. It’s all very opaque and it all has to be extracted and it’s all very proprietary to you, which gives you a total competitive advantage if you’re extracting it and modeling it.
[00:15:46] But it’s really understanding where it’s coming from, how you can structure it. So getting your arms around all of the data, putting it all out there, and then how can it be structured so that it actually all talks to each other? Because again, if I have one spreadsheet over here and a database over here, how are you ever gonna analyze the data?
[00:16:03] And so I think it’s really important to get it all out on the table and know that there’s gonna be more, right? There’s gonna be more as you grow your business. And so then you can start looking at what the solutions would be, right? And so it took me a few months to get my hands around the data that we were gonna use. Before I even understood what solutions we could look at.
[00:16:27] Jeff Williams: And here it is. Here’s the answer, right?
[00:16:30] Kelli Fontaine: This is a sample of, things that we’re currently tracking. Obviously our own data, the fund level data, our managers data, the company, we have 2,900 companies in the portfolio. What we track on those companies, there’s 12 qualitative points, the KPIs.
[00:16:45] I think an important part really when I keep coming back to this, is proprietary data. Because again, everybody has different data that they’re getting from managers. Sometimes they have a great relationship and they’re getting, the customer names of who’s providing the revenue for these companies.
[00:17:00] So it’s really what is the proprietary data you’re getting that if you harness it, it’ll make you that much more valuable. And so for us, we really spend a lot of time on the proprietary data we get, and we haven’t really leveraged third party data systems. But so these are data sets that we track.
[00:17:16] Jeff Williams: Yeah. I point out on that note that you don’t have to be a fund of funds to have proprietary data. You mentioned an example. Understanding what’s going on inside your portfolio companies as the GP only. Understanding how data points of sort of operational data that they have correlate.
[00:17:35] The opportunities are limitless. You don’t have to be a fund of funds. I’m passionate about the fund of funds one because it’s a compounded problem. And you’re a GP and LP both, so you’ve got all the same dynamics but you certainly don’t have to be a fund of funds.
[00:17:47] Kelli Fontaine: No, our GPs, when I look at what they track they should be the ones that do it really well. It’s obviously the ownership, the current share price, their perada decisions, the portfolio models, but also it’s, hey, they’re sourcing capabilities. Which companies did they miss that are actually in their sector wheelhouse and following up on which networks they’re missing out on.
[00:18:06] So it just depends on what they’re specifically wanting to track. But everybody should be tracking their own investments in their own universe of investments. And LP relations as well.
[00:18:20] Brie Aletto: Yeah. So actually I’m getting texts of questions that have come through. So how do you track the LP satisfaction? And delighting the customer outside of high returns and high integrity investors.
[00:18:30] Kelli Fontaine: Yeah I think LPs do vote with their fee. I think it’s a lot about the re-up and the check size of the re-up. Hopefully you’re not getting to that answer too late.
[00:18:41] I would say I think we engage pretty consistently with the LPs, we have monthly calls so we know what they’re asking for. Our largest LPs, we have monthly calls with even not large LPs that really just wanna be engaged. And I think those monthly calls, if we’re providing the service and value and knowing what they want, then it’s that immediate feedback of, oh, they actually would like to see this from us, or, hey, if we would track this or provide this report, it’s valuable to them.
[00:19:07] We should show it to other LPs. And so I think it’s that consistent feedback of when we do show data to them, when we do expose things to them, how they react. If they come back with more questions, if they’re satisfied with what we’re showing them it’s immediate feedback for us.
[00:19:22] Jeff Williams: And I can’t help but go back to the slide, but imagine how much you stand out, right?
[00:19:27] Among those survey results. You’re basically in the elite 8% at the very top of that. And so I guess going back to our previous point of the data, you don’t have to be a fund of funds. There’s just such an opportunity to do anything and to involve your LPs or your customers, as I’m gonna uncomfortably call it in a conversation about your technology and about your data.
[00:19:51] They’re sitting there begging to see something that differentiates you.
[00:19:54] Kelli Fontaine: Yeah. I think, the GPs that stand out in my mind can tell us how many opportunities they looked at, which geos that they’ve seen more opportunities from, what trends they’re seeing in their own sourcing, right?
[00:20:04] They’re able to tell us these things because they are tracking the data, they can say, we’ve seen a lot more of this type of founder lately, or this type of company lately in this sector. They have a pulse on what’s happening, not just anecdotally, but a quantitative answer.
[00:20:18] Jeff Williams: By the way, I do love those venture managers that tell you very confidently in the companies they missed on because their track record.
[00:20:26] The ones that they didn’t raise on is so good. I loved it.
[00:20:37] Kelli Fontaine: Yeah. The anti-portfolio.
[00:20:37] Jeff Williams: Shout out to BVP on that one. Okay. Walk us through a little bit of how this works. Walk us through a little bit about how.
[00:20:44] Kelli Fontaine: Again, when I took a step back and looked at all of the data that we needed to get into one place, if we wanted to be able to analyze all of the data we needed in one place. We get it from Standish, which is our fund administration firm, right? All the fund administration firms that our GPs work with that’s Aduro, BMS, Carta, etc.
[00:21:03] So we get data from them, right? The updates that we get on a quarterly basis, which tend to be in the form of email or PDF letters, emails from our managers. We have a Slack channel with our managers. We do 55 monthly calls, again on a standing rolling basis. All of that data within those call notes and the call notes themselves law firms, of course, we get information from the term sheets and from our own subscription documents on our own LPs and who we should be corresponding with in the subscription documents.
[00:21:31] And then again, third party data applications. That was lower on our list because we really wanted to harness the proprietary. There’s still a lot we could do if we did more universe versus our portfolio, but again the bulk of our effort has been on our own proprietary data.
[00:21:47] Jeff Williams: I think about that a lot of times I’m like, just give everybody the same data set, like Pitchbook, Preqin, all of whom, our partners of ours and we value them tremendously. But I almost comically think in my head, What if everybody just had that. And where everybody just be trying to crowd into the same, who knows?
[00:22:03] But the point is there’s gotta be something that’s proprietary, that is table stakes for you.
[00:22:09] Kelli Fontaine: Yeah. I think it’s what’s unique to you and what’s your advantage? And what’s your niche, right? And why you’re creating your investment thesis philosophy, why youre doing your portfolio construction. Anything about your investments should come from not just an anecdote, but there’s gotta be some data to support and back it up these days.
[00:22:26] Jeff Williams: Yeah. And that’s a great point because there’s gotta be some data somewhere. I think that there’s a lot of people that are discouraged and they say we don’t know. We don’t necessarily have that data. And what I say is like that data is being generated.
[00:22:38] It’s just like exhaust. It’s in your office. It’s like now at home with your employees. It’s just like the every keystroke is something, and how do you harness that? Like where do you start?
[00:22:48] Kelli Fontaine: And this is an example, right? Like how many pitch decks do we see per year?
[00:22:52] And so you could extract the performance from each pitch deck and say, Hey, this is, as much as you wanna say Cambridge benchmarks they don’t tell you fund size, they don’t tell you number of companies other information. If you’re just taking that information from pitch decks and putting it into your database, then you’ve created your own benchmark selection.
[00:23:10] So there’s different ways to do it, but yes, again it’s all information that you probably have access to. It’s just taking the effort to extract it.
[00:23:21] Jeff Williams: High volume outbound models in private equity, which you’re seeing a lot of, companies, right? And you might not have names to associate them with quite yet, but there’s a lot of data in those.
[00:23:34] And so that’s a place to start, right? How do you start to systematize that data?
[00:23:38] Brie Aletto: This was not a planted question, but there was one that came through. Could you recommend tools or platforms to manage data? Thank you to whoever asked that by chance.
[00:23:48] Jeff Williams: Certainly. And we will.
[00:23:49] Kelli Fontaine: So we’re getting there on the next two slides.
[00:23:53] Jeff Williams: Look at all this data.
[00:23:54] Kelli Fontaine: So when we look at Cendana, it’s really when we talk about stakeholders, what makes our ecosystem work and why, how do we wanna build the firm into the future? And it really is, credit to our GPs. They’re the ones that are finding the best companies and investing in them and creating the ecosystem.
[00:24:11] So we really, we wanna be able to give data back thats relevant to them, right? And so we do that. We can benchmark sectors. What the valuation of companies in a specific sector or geo is, we can benchmark what their portfolio construction looks like versus other funds in our universe and within our portfolio.
[00:24:28] So we try to, utilize the data we take and give it back to them. Our portfolio companies, obviously we talked about this, we try to track every single data point we can about the companies themselves, 2,900 companies. And then downstream investors. That helps our fund managers and the companies if they’re getting the next round of funding.
[00:24:48] And so how can we best highlight the underlying companies and then our LPs, of course, and our advisors. So everybody. And we could utilize our data for everybody. And so it’s, we really laid out then of all this data, what are our priorities, right? Number one, to make sure our investments are correct and how do we best hone our own investment portfolio.
[00:25:09] The GPs, the LPs, looking at all our stakeholders and really prioritizing the analysis that we wanted to do for each stakeholder.
[00:25:15] Jeff Williams: Yeah. Love it.
[00:25:19] Kelli Fontaine: And so this is just one simple thing and it seems like it should be one click. And when I started it seemed Oh, you should just be able to press a button and do this. And its not.
[00:25:29] Jeff Williams: And it turns out it’s okay if it’s not. I encourage people, I’ll tell you. Let’s just have a little moment for that. Yeah, bury it. Have a funeral because it, you can still get there. We just have to get past this one click.
[00:25:39] Kelli Fontaine: We have built out our database now so that a lot of stuff is one click, which is great for our GP because he always wanted things to be one click.
[00:25:49] Now I made it possible and it’s taken years to build to get there, though, I would like to say. So if you just wanna look at how much does a specific company mean to us? How much does specific company mean to one of our funds or an LP specifically in our funds? That question is actually very difficult because we can have a company with three Cendana managers that invested in it, right?
[00:26:10] And they all own different amounts of it. And that seems like it should be a simple calculation, but it’s not. We have different entities that own different funds and so the roll up look through is, Cendana invests into a fund, they invest into a company. And so looking at our overall exposure, it’s you have to trap a lot of things and structure it correctly so that you can get to this answer.
[00:26:35] So I can tell you, if you’re an LP in our fund, this is your exposure. This is the dollar amount that this specific company means to you.
[00:26:43] Jeff Williams: I can tell you too, if you removed the GP investment into company, which is what a lot of y’all that have joined us today would effectively do in this it becomes a little bit simpler but again, the sort of proper structuring of the data, proper ingestion of the data and then proper analytical capabilities.
[00:27:03] Now you still have LPs they still wanna know as your fundraising or you’re always fundraising. Hey, what’s, what are we exposed to in terms of this sector, this geography right now? You guys have sort of dual layers here, and that’s what makes this really interesting to me.
[00:27:21] But you don’t have to be a fund of funds to have some of these challenges. Sometimes it seems like one box, Hey, what is our sort of look through to our LPs? It turns out that even a simpler model still has its own complications.
[00:27:33] Kelli Fontaine: Yeah. What percentage of your companies are at a certain revenue run rate?
[00:27:37] There’s, the answers for specific GPs there, you don’t have to be a fund of funds to have questions where you want to just be able to press a button rather than export the analysis in excel and recreate analysis every time you’re asked.
[00:27:52] Jeff Williams: Okay. Here’s how it looks, and I love this chart.
[00:27:57] I know you do too. Might be a little foreign to some of the folks, but it turns out the point ought to be here that there’s a lot of data in a lot of places and we need to get it somewhere. and then use proper tools to be able to do these things. So we can just run one click.
[00:28:10] Kelli Fontaine: Yeah. So this is a screenshot of our Answers data cube.
[00:28:16] And so the data cube’s actually mainly pulling from a Salesforce. So it’s just showing how we can link every single thing in Salesforce so that you can query and do analysis on anything because it’s all linked to each different table in Salesforce.
[00:28:31] Jeff Williams: We’re a Salesforce partner, Altvia is, and we are ominously sitting underneath the Salesforce Tower here in San Francisco.
[00:28:38] Outstanding company, outstanding partner, but I think VP of sales forecasts in terms of reporting. Hey here’s the forecast. Here’s the historical trend. It turns out, look through exposure on private equity portfolio is not where, Salesforce got start, nor where they want to be really developing things.
[00:28:57] And that’s where we come into the picture. So let’s get back to the question.
[00:29:01] Brie Aletto: Yeah, that was exactly where I was gonna lead us to is why don’t you walk us through what it felt like coming in and determining once you had the data plan in place.
[00:29:10] Kelli Fontaine: Yeah. So and I think when we looked at everything that we wanted to track and where our business could grow, right?
[00:29:16] There’s still several different business lines that could be on the table for us. Not that we’re doing them anytime soon, but if we wanted to, what else would harness this? And I looked at each of these providers and actually probably more than this, but these are the top ones that I have stayed in contact with even over the years, just to see where their products have grown to and nothing got us there, right?
[00:29:35] Everything could be like, oh, this can take care of your relationship management, right? This can be your people tool. What about the company data, right? Everything was only partial was one part of the problem. And again, if all your data’s not in one place, then you’re never gonna be able to analyze everything and in your company.
[00:29:58] And it should be able to, from sourcing to investment to post investment to LP relations, it should all be able to talk and you should be able to run analysis on all of it. And it came down to the fact that there’s nothing that could get there. A customized tool was needed. And so looked at Air Table.
[00:30:15] This was five, six years ago and it was newer and there’s not APIs and I didn’t think it would be able to scale with us. And I had worked with Salesforce before, so I was comfortable, but I started calling consultants. I’m a one person within a three person shop at that point in time.
[00:30:33] And so I needed leverage and help and everybody I talked to did not understand what I was talking about.
[00:30:39] Jeff Williams: Really good at Salesforce, ot so much in your market.
[00:30:41] Kelli Fontaine: Correct. They were talking about how they were going to create things on the account level that should not be on the account level even I knew that I’m not an expert, they’re the experts, but it just was very clear to me.
[00:30:56] I was wanting Salesforce as a solution, but I didn’t think we could even do it because there wasn’t a partner that we could partner with. And then finally, my own personal research found you all through internet search. And the first demo I had, it was like, they get it right? They do this, they live, they breathe this.
[00:31:11] They’re specific to our industry. They get it. And the way you were thinking about structuring, the way you structured your own portfolio demo is like, this is exactly how I was thinking of our own. And so it was an automatic fit for me that I knew that, whatever I wanted to build in the future, I could either, if you guys didn’t do it, I could pipe it in or figure out something because Salesforce is a platform where you can build off of, but I knew that you guys were the right partner because how you already had a harness of our data problems and what we wanted to accomplish.
[00:31:42] Jeff Williams: Yeah. And I think one of the things that we oftentimes get is, Oh, you’re just another Salesforce consultant. We are most definitely not, we help bridge the gap between Salesforce and this market. We work specifically in it, so we prebuilt applications that bring the data structure that’s needed, but we also, on the back end of things, provide the analytical capabilities as well as the engagement capabilities. So we allow you to take that right to your LPs.
[00:32:08] Kelli Fontaine: You’re a partner. Again, if I come to you with, Hey, we would actually like to do this with our data, or add this into the system. You guys can think three steps ahead of where I’m already going. And so I think that’s not a consultant, that’s a partner.
[00:32:20] And that’s the biggest difference. And it’s allowed us with a four person team to accomplish what we have with our own database is really, you all.
[00:32:29] Jeff Williams: I think we need to fact check the four things, 2.2 billion four employees. It’s incredible. It really is.
[00:32:38] Brie Aletto: Did you do the demo to Kelli? When she was looking for systems.
[00:32:40] Jeff Williams: Not the first one, but I do recall, yeah, the first time we met and many demos along the way. Yeah, it’s been fun. It’s actually been really I said proud. I’m not kidding. I’m really proud of what y’all have done cuz it’s so impressive. And with so few resources.
[00:32:54] Brie Aletto: And been able to take the tools and use them to its fullest extent to what it’s intended for, which I think is a really core component of this. Like when you looked prior to that slide, if you wanna go back real quick, this can look confusing if you’re not actually in the system and understanding it.
[00:33:10] But, you could even connect a couple of these pieces of data and get a lot of outcomes from it, but you’ve really spent some time.
[00:33:20] Kelli Fontaine: Each of these was its own, let’s call it Excel workbook, right? And so each of these was only an analysis in itself, in its own workbook. And so we really think, with you all, how we’ve worked with you all is we got all the data I could at once, right?
[00:33:32] Our fundraising still lived on Google Sheets, I hate to admit. Getting the other two partners to actually like, do some things was hard because they liked to look at things and Excel view. This is our first fundraise we’ve done within the pipeline and within Altvia. And it’s been great because we can probability wait.
[00:33:51] It’s a kanban view, it’s real time and everybody can log in and see where we are with things. We do our own investment meetings every week now, and there’s a pipeline of investments for us to go through. So these are all things that have been added in over time. I would say we started with just AIM, then we added in Answers.
[00:34:08] Which for me has been the biggest game changer of all your products. I think it’s absolutely what takes your business to the next level. And I think that is what we’ll do a demo of. And then we added in ShareSecure, I think just last year.
[00:34:27] And ultimately our decision on that was, I told you all portals are necessary evil. Again, we have 60 fund relationships logging into portals. Not ideal but they are necessary evil and meaning that somebody else was owning our portal, right? Our fund administration firm was owning the portal, therefore owning LP communications, therefore owning a little bit of our LP relationships, and that’s not ideal, right?
[00:34:51] We wanted that in house, and so that’s when we switched over to ShareSecure so that we can own, the data they’re seeing, the communication style, the frequency, and what we’re showing them. And so that’s the last piece that we most recently put in place was adding ShareSecure on last year.
[00:35:06] Jeff Williams: Yeah. And I think that’s that sort of gray column, right? You had it and now what becomes possible for you is, oh, I could see that they’ve just logged in and looked at this data set. And maybe, the customer relationship manager is gonna make a call now. Maybe not right. You don’t have to.
[00:35:24] But creating opportunities by bringing it to be a part of managing the relationship. I think people are eager to see software demos.
[00:35:32] Brie Aletto: And we’ve gotten a couple more questions, which keep them coming. But we’ll get into the demonstration and I’m sure we’ll peak some additional questions and then we can answer maybe the questions and the last call it, few minutes.
[00:35:44] Jeff Williams: Okay. I am going to reshare.
[00:36:00] I guess we’re gonna see ourselves for just a brief second here. That’s okay. This is real. This is a real software demo here. We’re conscious of some of the sort of information here. So we’re confident that we’re not sharing anything overly sensitive. But real life, this is what your data looks like.
[00:36:16] And to orient some of the folks that may be less familiar, this is the Answers product that Altvia offers and which brings all that data together enables you, I always look at this sort of screen and I think, five analysts, three nights, a lot of coffee. You maybe get to something like this, but walk us through what what we’re looking at here.
[00:36:37] These are, this is that pretty complex calculation that you were talking about before?
[00:36:41] Kelli Fontaine: Yeah. I think again, it’s going back to rolling up all the managers that are in the company and looking at it. So this is ultimately, on the right side you can see that there’s filters.
[00:36:52] Those are dashboard level filters, meaning if you click one of them, the entire dashboard will filter on that. So at the top, when it says entity, that’s our fund. So if we wanted to look at only the top companies in Cendana Fund I. Or all of the entire Cendana portfolio, it will filter. We can also look at it by our investment into it.
[00:37:10] We have what we call pilots, which is a million dollar check, or we can just look at it at our core checks. $10 million checks, 10 to $20 million checks. We can look at it by geo, sector. All of these filters are so that you can go. Deep deep into the analysis, right? Okay, that’s our top companies.
[00:37:25] Great, but what’s our top companies from our pre-seed managers? What’s our top companies in New York? What’s our top companies look through for managers that are FinTech focused? So all of this is very easy to immediately do deeper analysis and drill deep down into. So again, this is just the first thing that was the initial like, why don’t we have this?
[00:37:47] Why is it so difficult to get to? And it was the look through. And so then when you go down here, when you scroll down, I think a lot of people look at the vintage of the fund, and we like to look at it at the vintage of the companies, right? So a fund is supposed to be investing over three years, but what do the underlying companies look like.
[00:38:02] And so we can drill down further from the actual initial investment made into the companies and when the dollars were actually deployed. And when you go down further, we keep an eye on the median ownership and the median valuations and what’s going on in the portfolio.
[00:38:19] It’s important for us to track how much it costs to buy a 10% ownership stake of a company because that informs what the fund size should be. And so all of these things are what we track because we hear anecdotally, oh no, things are over $30 million at the seed stage now. In our portfolio, people are finding stuff that arent.
[00:38:38] It’s fact checking and seeing what trends are actually occurring. And it goes back to, you can look at sector, geo, anything and expose that data.
[00:38:46] Jeff Williams: And like this sort of thing for me is always like that. I don’t know, maybe that jumps out to other people.
[00:38:51] Maybe it doesn’t, but to your point, it’s as simple as clicking on that, right? And hey, let’s see what that returns for us. Yep. And you got a lot of data here that we’re crunching. Yeah. come back. But now the entirety, including the table above, has been filtered down to it. We call this product Answers.
[00:39:10] I joke with people that you can come get the answers you’re looking for. A lot of times you’re gonna get answers maybe you weren’t looking for. And again, to reiterate the point, this is your data exhaust doesn’t really matter what is in the exhaust for any given firm, right?
[00:39:29] It’s how is say, hey, you think you know who sources good investment opportunities for you. Do you, have you really looked at it? Do you have the data inputs to properly assess that? What if they aren’t good deals? What if you could correlate somewhere in that data exhaust for a private equity firm?
[00:39:50] We’re spending a lot of time sourcing deals from somebody we think gives us good ones, but it turns out that I’m able to correlate, exit outcomes or year over year top line growth to somebody else entirely who isn’t as high volume, but isn’t as competitive either. And so maybe we need to keep developing that relationship.
[00:40:08] Kelli Fontaine: With an LP hat on, in venture specifically, it takes a long time even private equity, right? It’s not gonna be next year. When are they coming back for their next fund? There’s not gonna ben at the seed stage, there’s not gonna be a billion dollar exit in two years.
[00:40:22] Likely from a company. And so like how do you gauge how the portfolios are tracking? And so we do track a lot of, graduation rate, mortality rate, who the co investors and lead investors are in the follow one rounds and what’s going on within the portfolio. And so we do have dashboards where we can, if somebody’s pitching us, we can say, this is how you stack up against our GPs from that vintage or that sector.
[00:40:44] And so, it becomes a quick investment analysis tool. And again we created dashboards specifically for our LPs that live on answers where we can show them their geo breakdown, their sector breakdown so they can understand their own investment exposure.
[00:40:58] Jeff Williams: So that’s really what I’m excited to get to.
[00:41:02] Kelli Fontaine: Can you scroll down a little bit? The graduation rate, like this was this manual calculation where you’re having to go through and figure out who actually has raised a Series A. And again, you don’t wanna double count companies if you have more than one manager in them. So there’s all of these nuances and in Salesforce you would get part of the way there and export it and play around and excel at every time it was a denovo analysis.
[00:41:25] And here it’s there every time you update the data. And again, we can filter it. Okay, what is our graduation rate for companies in New York? What is our graduation rate for this specific manager? You can get to a lot deeper analysis with the click of a button.
[00:41:38] Jeff Williams: Yeah. I almost have nightmares at times, but it’s Oh, can we look at our portfolio by this?
[00:41:44] And you spend three days seemingly awake, doing that. And God forbid your Excel workbook, breakdown on you. But even if it doesn’t, and you get there and then you show it, to a partner who’s gonna show it to an LP because they asked. And it’s we’re gonna need to pull, the other thing in too, for context.
[00:42:05] And that’s to your point, it’s that’s another three days at least. Yeah. And here it’s seconds. Okay. I could look at this all day. I love this. However you just made this. That’s pretty good. It’s pretty good. Multiple, a lot of unicorns. Big ups to you guys for this. You mentioned something right before I went on that little tangent, which is, this is a big flex for you, right?
[00:42:32] This is you really standing out. I know you guys put a lot of emphasis on this when you fundraise, but you don’t stop there. And our vision as a company is really to enable the technology that enables these kinds of relationships. The key part of that is making sure that you’re doing that and you’re being the hand that feeds you inside your own portal, and that’s this sort of circular piece of information for you.
[00:42:57] And so what we aren’t gonna do is show you all of the real data that Cendana is sharing with their LPs. But I do want to touch real quickly on just what some of that looks like here. I’m gonna log in. This is now fictional and maybe Juliet can give us the thumbs up on making sure this is okay.
[00:43:54] Brie Aletto: And maybe while he’s doing that, Kelli, I can ask you one of these questions, which is very relevant. How do you continue to ensure consistency in data across the various tech stacks, especially where there is overlapping?
[00:44:10] Kelli Fontaine: So what we have done, I guess we upload data where we can, right? So we get a lot of data from our fund administration firms, from our GPs.
[00:44:20] We’ve requested an Excel. The beauty of the way AIM is set up is that we can make sure that it’s just automatically uploaded. So I think where we can, we try to automate and not have as much human touch as we can on the input of data. And so to make sure quality, and I think that is important though, talking about, there shouldn’t be a redundancy of entry, right?
[00:44:40] Like one person in finance should own the cash flows, one person should be in charge of it. It’s gonna be double checked on certain ways, but it should be in one place. And the way you guys have set it up is that, you know what’s beauty of working with you is no, we shouldn’t put it there.
[00:44:57] Let’s then put it on this page and then we’ll have it mapped so it actually shows on this other screen. So really the data should all just be in one place. And it does take a lot of effort to clean make sure that it’s all consistent and precise, but you only input it in one place and have a correct processes for inputting and owning it and updating it.
[00:45:17] But if you stick to those processes, then the data can be in multiple places on multiple pages within Salesforce, within AIM, so that when you pull up the account, it’ll show me what’s the current valuation, even though I don’t enter the valuation on the account page. And so the way you guys think about it is so that you only have to input it once for it to live multiple places.
[00:45:41] Jeff Williams: So here we are now, to fast forward and connect the dots here, now we’ve got the ability to understand our own data from an internal perspective, which you clearly do. And now we’re taking the step of saying, Hey, here’s portions of that data. That we want LPs to be able to self-serve directly.
[00:45:58] So I clicked through it pretty quickly here while you guys were talking, but one of those things, like for me and go again going back to some of my PTSD is can I not just narrow down and get a series of cash flows from you? We have a rather large commitment. Can I not just get, a series of cash flows with dates that I’m looking for out of the commitment we made out of this fund or that fund.
[00:46:19] And so we’re gonna allow, all of the same functionality here.
[00:46:23] Kelli Fontaine: I think what’s big to point out here too is that all those dots, you can export all of this into Excel. And I think, that’s huge because most people provide everything in pdf. And again, what I’ve had to request over and over again from managers is hey, can we get it in Excel?
[00:46:38] Because there’s human error. If you’re transposing or even double checking against PDFs and everything in your dashboards, you can even just download a widget. Each table is a widget. So the map above, if you just wanna be able to put that into your investment memo, you can download that specific image and put it in the memo, or you can download the actual Excel data and do with it what you want.
[00:47:03] So I think that’s really cool on the dashboards, that it’s not just a pdf you’re being handed, you can take what from the dashboard you want.
[00:47:13] Jeff Williams: Yeah. This one actually I think is a great example of that too. I think back to when I was on the LP side and doing diligence and everybody from an LP perspective is presumably doing a lot of the same things, and yet also very different ones.
[00:47:28] But it was who’s really investing in this? And are they gonna continue? Let’s make sure the fund size is appropriate, all that. Let’s make sure that person that really drove the value is still doing it. And let’s make sure that person is still investing in the types of companies that they’ve historically been really good at investing it.
[00:47:46] And the traditional process was like, here’s a big Excel file, good luck with that. And now it’s I wanna point out how bad I am versus my colleagues actually. So Nick jumps out right away as somebody that super interested. So I could go ahead and click this, but then I would, get consumer software versus enterprise and I wanna come up here instead.
[00:48:06] And, so now I’m almost providing therapy to all my PTSD here by saying, Okay, let’s look at the companies. Nick has primarily invested in these types of companies in the west coast. A little venture too, cuz this is a demo that I put together here. So we’ve got some rounds and stuff like that, but here are those companies that are those funds and here’s, how Nick did investing this.
[00:48:27] Super interesting, let me take that with me and get on with it. And, the thing I think, we’ve encountered at times with people is I don’t know if we wanna share that much information, but this example that I’m showing here is literally that Excel file that we would’ve gotten anyway.
[00:48:43] We actually aren’t sharing any new information.
[00:48:45] Kelli Fontaine: I think at the end of the day, transparency is key to relationships and trust, and they’re your key stakeholders and they’re trusting you with money. And if you make it easy for them to do analysis, then there’s a more trusted relationship.
[00:48:58] And so that’s how we work with it. And, I think that’s how we approach it.
[00:49:05] Jeff Williams: Interesting point. I know we’re wrapping up here, but I’m gonna propose in closing here that maybe that’s why 92% of the market believes that, the customer experience isn’t outstanding because it’s built upon not actually wanting to be transparent or fear. And I think there is an important step of getting your data and your technology in order internally first.
[00:49:29] And what you find pretty quickly is that it’s not only not a liability, it’s a weapon. Now you can go take it and put it in hands of your LPs. What other questions do we have?
[00:49:39] Brie Aletto: I’m actually gonna put you on spot. So I think we just might need to clarify which portions, like AIM, Salesforce, ShareSecure, Answers. We got a couple questions about can you integrate other CRMs and leverage the analytics tool and/or the portal?
[00:49:58] Jeff Williams: Okay, fun. Really good questions. Yeah so I guess in an attempt to clarify, Oh, Altvia is a company that uses a number of different pieces of technology.
[00:50:10] A number of different products. One of the pieces of technology is Salesforce. We have chosen Salesforce as the sort of platform that we believe is best to build CRMs for this market. And so Salesforce is a piece of technology we use in our offering.
[00:50:30] We have a sort of private market specific CRM that we’ve built on Salesforce. We call that AIM. Answers is an analytics product, which we saw a lot of there. ShareSecure is a portal product and by the time it’s all said and done, all of these things are heavily integrated, such that, your CRM can enable people in your portal to see data that is specific to them and relevant to them, like their capital commitments.
[00:50:55] Or track record or underlying portfolio company financials or anything that you would really like to, that’s a big part of what we’re trying to do is enable y’all to have the edge that you seek. And so if it’s, examples other than this that’s cool too. It’s actually a lot of fun for us to solve new problems.
[00:51:11] So that was on the products. The question about other CRMs? Give us a call, we’ll talk about it. We have done a number of things with our technology to try to enable folks to, to leverage what they’re currently doing in CRM to the extent that you’re doing it already inside of Salesforce, then the conversation’s a little shorter, but call us.
[00:51:33] Brie Aletto: I think that was where there was like maybe confusion around, where does the dashboard live? Which isn’t necessarily in Salesforce, although it can be.
[00:51:40] Kelli Fontaine: So we have our dashboards we create them in Answers, but the other team members do not log into Answers.
[00:51:50] They only see it in Salesforce or they see it in ShareSecure. So we have specific dashboards for specific LPs even in ShareSecure that only specific LPs see. And I think the dashboards can live in Salesforce as well or in ShareSecure.
[00:52:05] Jeff Williams: And so just important to note on that, that Answers is a piece of technology that is not built upon Salesforce. In fact, it’s very intentional that we’ve done that.
[00:52:13] Kelli Fontaine: You can put whatever tables, whatever data you want. Yeah. In the back when you saw that weird tree map of all the data, those are Salesforce tables, but you can link it.
[00:52:23] Jeff Williams: Excel tables, other systems, all sorts of things.
[00:52:26] Brie Aletto: Which leads me to this question, Have your GPs been open, flexible to changing the format of the data they provide?
[00:52:33] Yes. Yes. I think. Again, the monthly calls and the relationship that we have largest LP we set like what other people have done the best in our portfolio. What they have done is the standard for us and best practices, and we try to share that. So I think there’s some GPs who are very sensitive to company data because they feel that it’s the founder’s information to share.
[00:52:56] So they do withhold a lot more. But on a reporting standard basis, we do have many GPs who expose views to us and keep it up to date. And yes, we have been able to work with our GPs in providing them with templates that they can then press their fund administration firms, or even they utilize internally that we know is best practices.
[00:53:17] Jeff Williams: And don’t you think, at the end of the day, the speed with which they respond, the spirit in which they respond to your templates, but also then the speed with which they do? That means something to you.
[00:53:27] Kelli Fontaine: I think it means, part of your job. If you’re running a fund, the number one thing is investing, but it’s also a firm, right?
[00:53:33] It’s also a company. And so how can you build that company? And part of that is, you have to have understanding of your data. And your investments. And so I think it’s just good organizational practices to have all that data available to be able to say, Yes, I have the answer. It shouldn’t be having to be a lot of work when you’re asked a question.
[00:53:52] You should be questioning your own investments and doing analysis on your own investments. And so that data should be available.
[00:53:59] Brie Aletto: Again, somewhat related, how do you get the LP individual statements being pulled from AIM uploading, large Excel? We’ve talked a little bit about this, obviously, and shown it.
[00:54:11] Jeff Williams: And you use a fund administrator, and I think that’s implied to be the question.
[00:54:17] Kelli Fontaine: So yeah, we get the cash flows and then they’re uploaded into the system uploaded into AIM, which is the Salesforce system. And then there’s permissioning on the contacts within Salesforce and what they can see when they log to ShareSecure.
[00:54:32] So that’s our workflow process is that we take from the fund administration firm and we just upload it directly into the system. And again, it goes back to then all the data is in one place. And we do all of our capital calls and distributions through AIM and ShareSecure.
[00:54:47] Jeff Williams: Something we didn’t even talk about!
[00:54:50] Maybe a future webinar. We’re up against the clock here. I think that’s it.
[00:54:55] So thank you so much, Kelli. I know there’s people on the other end of the webinar that are very impressed. I am too. I’m super proud of you. It’s been a lot of fun to work with you.
[00:55:05] Kelli Fontaine: You guys have been great partners. The reason where we are with a four person team.
[00:55:08] Jeff Williams: You said, not me! Thank you everybody for joining us as well. Look forward to hopefully hearing from you, and let us know how we can help you all with problems you’re facing. Thank you. Take care.
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