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Venture capital portal + CRM: Solyanka & Joint Journey case study

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Check out this amazing case study of a venture capital CRM that includes portfolio and pipeline management. It's perfect for a large team of managers, analysts, and thousands of startups.

Thousands of startups applying for funding, up to 70 reviewed weekly, Slack, Notion, Miro, Pipedrive, endless file attachments, emails, etc, etcchaos! Thus began a story of building one of the seven no-code wonders designed to coordinate it all in one place: a venture capital portal. 

The result of this effort is an efficient tool for fund owners, analysts, platform administrators, and startup founders. On top of that, the platform is cheaper to maintain than any single subscription taken from the SaaS fruit salad used previously. 

Client

Solyanka business communications agency and Joint Journey investment firm work together to bring the brightest startups to the stars. 

This case study is based on Anna Sholina’s experience, a seasoned VC partner that managed the creation of the platform from the idea stage and up to the fully-fledged product stage—much like the startup clients she works with.

Challenge

Processing startups applying for funding, scoring them, and streamlining the entire process is a tremendous task. Previously, a separate administrator was employed just to make sure the data is transferred correctly between a variety of services. 

Startups would submit quarterly data in a non-structured way, which was then difficult to keep track of. 

To sustain that kind of data flow, analytics, presentation capabilities, role management, and team communication, we wanted the platform to be able to include the following functionality:

  • Workspace for analytics teams—with data dashboards, company profiles, and grading
  • Platform administrator workspace and controls for data processing
  • Startup member portal with reporting based on time period, revenue, and important metrics
  • A CRM for application management
  • Transparent startup scoring system
  • File exchange and storage
  • Emailing and notifications

The last requirement is, of course, high levels of data protection. 

How did you discover Directual?

We’ve approached Pavel Ershov, the CEO and co-founder of Directual directly, as we’re well acquainted already. The technical side of the project was performed by Code Word agency—Dmitry Novozhilov and his team.

Technology

  • Backend: Directual
  • Frontend: Directual
  • Extra tools: chartJS, editorJS, Directual JS SDK

What did you build with Directual?

Every single feature we’ve wanted to see in a single tool is now there. The entire process is streamlined, with little else to wish for other than polishing the visuals. Here’s the list of what the platform is capable of:

  • Fund managers can review the metrics on existing projects and see reports prepared by the analytics teams
  • Analysts can assess incoming projects and compile necessary data into dashboards, along with personal profiles and history of startup ratings
  • Platform administrators easily manage communication, data exchange, and everything else day-to-day
  • Companies have their own profiles, with various data views available for startup founders and fund managers
  • Full CRM capability, complete with a kanban board, Google Workspace integration, emailing, templates, notifications via Telegram, and data parsing (new lead cards and founder roles are formed automatically based on form application or email data)
  • Knowledge portal with role-based access

Naturally, this project took a bit of time to create, about 9-12 months in the making. It only took that long due to switching from one technological approach to another, shifting project scope from time to time, and team roadblocks.

Why was Directual chosen as a base technology?

Code Word agency is very well versed in Directual and continues to push the limits of what the platform can do. It was an obvious choice for a heavy-duty venture capital CRM—strong backend and frontend minimized the number of platforms involved, all the while cutting down costs and time to produce. 

What could be improved?

At the beginning of the project development, the kanban functionality was lacking in Directual, so it was created manually with the help of other elements. We’ve asked Pavel and Nikita to introduce it as a base element, and voila! Now it’s there, and this problem is no more. 

Mainly, it would be nice to know better how everything works and cut down production time even more. For instance, Google API took a while to crack, but having done the integration once, next time it will take far less time.

Everything else is mostly related to visuals, which we can polish perpetually—there’s no limit to greatness. For instance, the analytics dashboard can be a bit more refined, and the email editor is a bit rough, but otherwise, everything works flawlessly.

Plans ahead

The result in our hands really is something. The best bit is cost-efficiency: now that it’s done precisely the way we want it, we don’t need to pay per seat (and we have a lot of staff). It’s just the project itself and data limits. 

There are plans to expand the functionality a little to transform the project into a SaaS (as it usually happens with platforms with CRM functionality) and offer it to other investment firms. No doubt that every part of the system is easy to scale too.

On a final note, managing the creation of this platform has been a tremendous experience in no-code project management. That alone should be mentioned—as it turns out, it’s not all that different from managing startups. 

Afterword

This is a fantastic case of what no-code CRMs and case management systems can be if made with Directual. If you’d like to know more about Directual or how to replicate a project of this scale, give us a shout at hello@directual.com.

Leo Khellenbrand
December 6, 2022
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