Case Study: Airtree Venture's Transformation with Visible

Belle Raab

About Airtree Ventures

Airtree is a Sydney-based venture capital firm backing founders based in Australia and New Zealand building the iconic companies of tomorrow. The firm was founded in 2014 and is now deploying out of its 4th fund with $1.3 billion in assets under management. Their portfolio includes over 105+ portfolio companies and 250+ founders who have helped create over 17,000 jobs.

Airtree’s portfolio includes the region’s breakout technology companies, such as Canva, Go1, Employment Hero, Pet Circle, Immutable, and Linktree.

For this case study, we spoke to Dan Lombard who is the Data Lead at Airtree Ventures.

Related article: Airtree Ventures already returned its first fund thanks to Canva while maintaining the majority of its stake

Fragmented Systems and Processes Prior to Visible

Prior to the integration of Visible, Airtree relied heavily on a fragmented system of spreadsheets to manage their portfolio of 105+ companies. Each quarter, four employees were tasked with managing the relationships with the points of contact at 15 to 20 portfolio companies through manual outreach and communications. This reliance on spreadsheets resulted in inefficiencies and potential data loss, as spreadsheets are prone to break when modified.

Challenges With Data Accuracy and Scaling Manual Outreach to a Growing Portfolio

Before Visible, 80% of Airtree’s portfolio monitoring problem was having clean data and scaling outreach to their portfolio companies. They faced two primary challenges with their former system:

  1. Operational Efficiency: Four team members spent significant time manually collecting data from over 100 companies every quarter. The Airtree team members were sending one-off email communications to each company and manually keeping track of who needed to be followed up with at each company which diverted resources from other critical projects they could be working on.
  2. Data Integrity and Scalability: Frequent changes to the data in spreadsheets resulted in errors in the sheets and data loss, which caused frustration as there was no way of understanding which changes were made to the sheet and when. This process made it difficult to scale portfolio monitoring operations as Airtree grew.

Why Airtree Chose Visible as their Portfolio Monitoring Platform

Airtree chose Visible for its robust, scalable, and user-friendly platform. Key factors influencing their choice included:

  • Ease of Use and Customization: Visible's platform offered unparalleled customization and ease of use.
  • Support and Development: Visible’s team actively listened to feedback, offered best practices, and continuously invested in their product, ensuring a partnership that catered to Airtree’s evolving needs.
  • Automation and Integration: Visible excelled in automating portfolio monitoring and offered a frictionless experience for founders. Airtree leveraged the Visible API to seamlessly integrate data into their existing data warehouse system.

Airtree’s historical data collection process, previously led by four Airtree team members, is now a streamlined process led only by Dan, who leverages Visible Requests to collect data from their portfolio of 105+ companies. Visible Requests empowers Dan to send customized link-based data requests to each company, automate the email reminder process, and easily keep track of where companies are in the reporting process.

View an example Visible Request below.

Onboarded to Visible within 24 Hours

Visible provided Airtree with an efficient and supported onboarding. When asked about Airtree's onboarding with Visible Dan Lombard shared the following:

Visible stood out by enabling a swift and seamless transition that was operational in less than 24 hours, a stark contrast to other providers who estimated a quarter for full implementation. This rapid integration was facilitated by a comprehensive onboarding template provided by Visible.

Visible API & Airtree’s Data Infrastructure

With the implementation of Visible, Airtree wanted to take a more sophisticated approach to the way they handle their portfolio data with the goal of driving more valuable insights for their team. The approach needed to be automated, integrate with other data sources, and have a singular view accessible for the whole team. This was not possible when their data lived in disparate systems, files, and spreadsheets.

Dan Lombard has led the improvement of Airtree's data infrastructure. Now, data sources like Visible and Affinity are piped into Snowflake via recurring AWS Lambda jobs. Airtree leverages the Visible API daily. Dan mentioned that while Airtree collects data quarterly, a daily sync of the data is crucial because Airtree is always onboarding new companies, communicating with their founders, and uploading historical data.

“The Visible API gives us this level of daily fidelity and only takes the AWS Lambda job 5 minutes to populate an entire data architecture.”
- Dan Lombard, Data Lead at Airtree Ventures

Once the data is in their database, Snowflake handles the ETL and entity matching. Airtree then has Streamlit sit on top of Snowflake to query data, provision access, and build out new insights.

Advice for Other VC Firms Building Out Their Data Infrastructure

Don’t overcomplicate things to start. It is easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles. Dan recommends a bias towards simplicity. Start small and use it as a stepping stone as you build things out.

Conclusion

Airtree’s adoption of Visible transformed their portfolio management by automating key processes and centralizing data, thus enabling more strategic decision-making and efficient operations. The case of Airtree is a testament to how the right technological partnerships can profoundly impact business efficiency and data management.

You may also enjoy:
Product Updates
Product Update: Turn Emails Into Insights With Visible AI Inbox
Structured data. The holy grail of business intelligence. Structured data unlocks a realm of possibilities, from setting benchmarks to enhancing decision-making processes. Yet, in the venture capital landscape, accessing reliable, structured data remains a formidable challenge. This is precisely why we created the Visible AI Inbox. With unique features like automated metric detection and file parsing, the Visible AI Inbox stands out as a pioneering solution for portfolio monitoring. Discover how it can transform your data strategy by meeting with our team. Turning email into insights We believe that investors should spend time sourcing new deals and helping founders, not manually copying and pasting data from email 🙂. The AI Inbox helps aggregate insights that exist siloed in data, files, and updates across a venture firm. Updates from founders often stay stuck in one team member's inbox because it's too time-consuming to extract and enter the data and files into a more centralized repository. Visible AI Inbox makes this possible within seconds. Requests + AI Inbox = A Complete Picture The addition of the AI Inbox continues to advance our market-leading portfolio monitoring solution. The pairing of Requests + the AI Inbox will give investors a holistic view of portfolio company performance across a fund. Visible continues to be the most founder-friendly tool on the market. We’ll continue to build tools in existing workflows where both founders and investors live every day. How Does it Work? Visible AI Inbox works in three simple steps. Forward emails to a custom AI inbox email address Visible AI automatically maps data and files to portfolio companies Investors can review and approve content before it is saved From there, dashboards, tear sheets, and reports are all automatically updated on Visible. Learn more about how Visible AI Inbox can streamline workflows at your firm by meeting with our team. FAQ Will this be available on all plans? Visible AI Inbox is only available on certain plans. Get in touch with your dedicated Investor Success Manager if you want to explore adding this to your account. How is Visible addressing privacy and security with Visible AI Inbox? No data submitted through the OpenAI API is used to train OpenAI models or improve OpenAI’s service offering. Visible AI Inbox leverages OpenAI GPT 4 and proprietary prompts to extract data in a structured way and import it into Visible. If you’re uncomfortable with utilizing OpenAI to optimize your account, you can choose not to utilize this feature. Please feel free to reach out to our team with any further questions. These processes adhere to the guidelines outlined in Visible’s privacy policy and SOC 2 certification.
Metrics and data
[Webinar] VC Portfolio Data Collection Best Practices
Customer Stories
Case Study: How Moxxie Ventures uses Visible to increase operational efficiency at their VC firm
Operations
How to Start and Operate a Successful SaaS Company