weekend fund

Our Stack at a $10M Fund

By Vedika Jain on Jan 26, 2021

Weekend Fund is a two-person distributed team. Ryan is based in LA. I’m based in London. We work on the internet.

There has been a lot of “micro fund” chat on the internet: The rise of rolling funds, the rise of Micro LPs, The Rise of the Solo Capitalists

But little has been shared about how funds like ours operate, and how we aim to:

  • Be the highest helpfulness to check-size ratio investor to our portfolio founders. One of our portfolio founders Harry Hurst tweeted about the concept here.
  • Invest in the best early-stage deals partnering with founders early and driving returns
  • Be the best possible fund manager to our LPs: trusted, communicative and high-performing

Jeff Lawson, the founder and CEO of Twilio, said this about strategy on the Bessemer Venture Partners Cloud Giants Podcast:

I often say that strategy is a dirty word in business; it should be struck. Any time you find yourself talking about strategy, you’re probably off-course, actually. There’s only one business strategy: serve your customers.

I agree with that. In venture, I think there’s only one core strategy: serving founders in a differentiated way. We’ve implemented workflows made up of tools, automations and habits to optimize our limited time to create leverage to serve founders.

Let’s break this down.

Spark

Investors spend a lot of time in their inbox. 😅

Here’s what makes Spark the best email tool for us:

  • Shared drafts: We use each other as a second pair of eyes to review email drafts including offers to invest in companies, deal-flow sharing with other investors and diligence follow-ups. Spark has a collaborative real-time editor that speeds up making edits before sending a draft.
  • Spark templates: We use Spark templates to quickly share details about portfolio companies with other investors when helping founders with their fundraise.
  • In-email private chat: We use this to make quick decisions about the email we receive. This includes cold email, deal-flow from other investors and admin/scheduling.

Airtable

Airtable is the central storage for all information on deal flow, investments, and people in our network.

Here’s what makes Airtable the best tool for us:

  • Flexible: It’s flexible enough for us to store anything. We store a lot.
  • Relational: You’ve probably heard that investors are in the relationship business. Relational databases like Airtable aren’t just about storing data, they store relationships between data. This helps us see links between the companies, deals, founders, investors, funds, and more in the WF universe.
  • Integration friendly: It integrates with other tools to make all types of workflows that power the fund.

Our Airtable “base” includes three primary tables:

Companies

  • We manage our Pipeline through an “Active Pipeline” view which filters companies we are meeting, diligencing or going to pass on. We also have a Missed view, a Tracking view, a Markups view and more to help us sort through companies.
  • We automatically capture pipeline entry and exit dates to track how fast we’re responding to founders. We try to get back to founders with a 7 day “SLA”.
  • We also record who introduced us to every deal sourced through an introduction. This links to our People table enriching our CRM.  

People

  • This includes founders, investors and others who have introduced us to companies. The table is designed to surface the context of our relationship: i.e for investors, it would surface which deals we’ve co-invested in, which deals they introduced us to, etc.
  • We have a “Warm Angel and Small Fund” view we use to share deals with angels + small funds we’re collaborating most with.
  • We also have a “Top Introducers” view that filters top introducers based on the # of deals + portfolio companies they’ve introduced us to.

VC Firms

  • We use this table to capture who is investing at VC firms (linked of course to the People table), and what stages, categories, check sizes they invest in, and if they lead rounds.
  • Like our People table, we have a “Warm VC Firms” table we use to share deals with the firms that are most collaborative. It’s also helpful for identifying firms that might be best suited for a particular company based on their stage and market focus.
  • What makes this table especially useful for deal-sharing is the subjective context we capture in notes and often share with founders before making introductions. Here’s what a note would look like “Coatue is one of the most data-driven firms and Mazzeo’s one of the most energetic, product-minded investors I know.” Yes, that is a real example.

🎁 Here’s a digital goodie: Template from our Airtable

Zapier

We automate as much as possible not just to save time, but also to not miss any steps in our processes. We want to be working on the right things, the right way.  

Zaps we have running right now:

  • Deal channel creation zap: We have a Zap that automatically creates a deal channel in Slack for every deal we’re meeting from Airtable. More on that below. 🎁 Template here
  • 7-day SLA zap: We have a Zap that sets up a reminder to follow up 7 days after the deal entered our pipeline. This helps us ensure that we get back to every founder in a reasonable time. 🎁 Template here (last 2 steps in template)
  • Tracking zap: We have another Zap to follow up on companies we’re tracking. 🎁 Template here

Slack

Slack works well for our working style at Weekend Fund. Here’s how we use it for deals:

  1. Our deal creation Zap (as mentioned above) automatically creates a Slack channel for every company we’re meeting
  2. We consolidate materials/context in the channel before every pitch call
  3. We share questions for the founder in the channel before every pitch to ensure we’re well prepared
  4. Debrief + decide next steps immediately after call
  5. The 7 day SLA Zap goes off in the channel 7 days after the deal entered our pipeline
  6. We close the channel only after we close the investment or send the pass email + “close the loop” email updating the person who introduced us to the deal

In addition to deal channels, we have a few more to organize our communications:

  • #deal-outbound: Vedika is using this channel to build a habit of outbound deal sourcing starting with 1x deal a day
  • #experiments: As early stage becomes even more competitive, it feels even more important for us to run experiments. We’ve run experiments like Weekend Build, Fundraise From Home, and are working on our next one. This is the channel we use for experiments related chat.
  • #shower-thoughts: This is a creative safe space where we discuss “What if we tried this?” ideas.

At the time of this post, we have 25 Slack channels open. This might sound silly for a two-person team, but we’ve found this organization helpful in our communications. Our slack history is a searchable artifact for the years to come.

Vimcal

The newest tool in our stack is Vimcal, the calendar app we use for scheduling. Here’s why we use it:

  • Timezone juggling: As a distributed team jumping on calls with founders around the world, we do a lot of scheduling across timezones. Vimcal is the best tool we’ve found for this.
  • Efficient, but still personal: Gets us the efficiency of booking links without the risk of it coming off as transactional

AngelList Venture Funds

AngelList makes it possible for a small team (or single person) to run a venture fund. They provide:

  • Operational support to execute deals - reviewing + signing legal docs and wiring funds
  • Tax reporting and accounting overhead
  • Capital calls and other LP management
  • A dashboard with investment and fund performance data (use this calculator to see how your fund performs in comparison to others)

Share Your Stack

This is our stack at a high level. There’s a lot more we do behind the scenes, and we’re always thinking about ways to improve our workflows, automations and habits.

While we don’t expect other fund managers to copy our way of working 100%, we’re hoping that sharing our stack and workflows will be useful for other emerging fund managers.

If you’re a fund manager, we’d love to see the stack powering your fund on Twitter. Tweet me at @vedikaja_in.

Thanks to Ryan Hoover, Varadh Jain and Liam Moore for reading drafts of this.