For the venture capitalists, hedge funders, investment bankers and private equity folks trawling the skyways looking for deals, there’s nothing more important than a strong network.
But for most firms keeping track of meetings, managing follow-ups, and plotting a next move is still a pretty low-tech process (ironic considering all the CRM tools these guys have built for others).
Well, now there’s a company called Affinity, that’s hoping to give investors what they want. It’s launching a signup for its beta and has raised $13.5 million from investors to build out the toolkit.
The round was led by 8VC and includes participation from Sway Ventures, Pear Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Western Technology Investment and angel investors.
Affinity’s software searches across a network’s calendar items, emails, CRM tools and third party data sources to answer questions like “Who introduced us to the most companies in New York?” or “Who haven’t I called in a month?”
The company’s software can automatically update contact information and meetings based on its searches of company data, and can save users lots of time otherwise spent on things like basic data entry, the company said.
For co-founders Ray Zhou and Shubham Goel the launch (even privately) of Affinity is the culmination of work that began three years ago. In 2014, Affinity was known as Robyn, and was something the two Stanford alumni were working on as sophomores in the Pear program for Stanford students n the co-working space known as The Garage. From those earliest days three years ago when the two students were collaborating, they were getting help from Joe Lonsdale, the company’s chairman and the founder of the venture firm 8VC (then Formation 8).
“Affinity helps 8VC to allocate our firm’s resources to what matters most to our business: helping our portfolio companies succeed and engaging effectively with our community,” said Lonsdale in a statement. “These breakthroughs to help colleagues and friends leverage the data and people from each others’ networks will influence how all firms work in the future.”