Hackernoon logoWhy Did Our Private Equity Fund Need a CTO? by@nchykina

Why Did Our Private Equity Fund Need a CTO?

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@nchykinaNatallia Chykina


We live in a connected world. 
Speaking about IT in particular, hardly many modern software development teams ever build their new products from scratch. Instead they assemble them together from a number of puzzle pieces — libraries, frameworks, platforms, external systems with an API.
When I came to iTech Capital (a PE/VC firm with $150M+ assets under management) as a CFO/COO, I first wanted to do exactly that: to cover certain aspects of fund’s back office functionality by relevant best-in-class SaaS products. 
You need a fully-functional CRM for Investor Relations and Pipeline Management? Salesforce is a no-brainer, and Pipedrive a lightweight alternative. 
You need simple cloud accounting (believe me or not, accounting in a private equity fund is actually pretty simple)? Use Xero or Quickbooks for your routine reconciliations.
You need reporting and dashboards? Use any of a number of widespread “whatever integration platforms”.
You need HRM? BambooHR is a simple and good solution.
Etc. etc…
But most importantly the nerve center of the infrastructure was missing. We needed a portal to pull this all together while keeping the data in the original, specialised and convenient systems. Portal for both investors of our funds and our internal team. A single solution where we could track our companies, metrics, documents, KYC in progress, distributions, dividends and capital calls. And forecast our waterfall of course.
For several months I ran through endless demos of different PE software providers — most expensive, with back-to-90s interface or nowhere even close to what we needed. Main thing was that all of them thought that their system is the only system in the world people are going to use, which means that even if some data managed to flow into it accidentally from outside, it never managed to get out of this Bermuda triangle in any form or shape other than in pdf or xls format. Looking at this nightmare, I was really envious sometimes to the IT people, who were able to easily tie together lots of things with plug-and-play approach.
That’s when we at AIRR decided to build it differently. With API for exporting data, mobile app and many integrations available out of box.
After all, we are a PE/VC fund, we invest in IT. That’s why many of our investors are geeks, or at least wanna-be geeks who have certain "service level expectations". They need push notifications about the news in the companies they’ve invested in. They need a mobile app, of course. They want what-if analysis of “how much money I’m gonna earn” done with a few simple draggable sliders. And surprisingly none of the PE fund management systems on the market currently has it.
We will. Stay tuned, and feel free to contact me if interested.

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