The Emerging Manager Toolbox

And a sweet taste of the Automatter inception story.

In my last post, I talked about how emerging fund managers could leverage strategic process design and automation to gain a competitive advantage in an industry built on exclusion. It seemed to be well-received. (She’s being modest. It’s been viewed 10x more than any of our previous articles. - JD)

Today, we’re giving you an early Christmas present. We’re releasing the Automatter Emerging Manager Toolbox. But before you click away, won’t you listen to me ramble for a bit? This week, instead of snark, I want to reflect. I want to revisit the reason why we started Automatter in the first place.

Take me to the Emerging Manager Toolbox!

I’ve worked in the venture industry for all of three months. Prior to that, I worked on the operating side at an early-ish stage startup. After realizing that I didn’t have the charm required for a sales role, I signed myself up to help build out our Revenue Operations team. At the time, RevOps was relatively nascent as a function and a big part of my role was to define a framework for how the company would align our sales, marketing, and customer success teams in the name of operational efficiency. Luckily, many folks smarter than I were trying to figure out the same thing for their own companies, and were doing so through webinars, e-books, conferences, and online forums. I was a sponge for absorbing other people’s great ideas for how to prevent your sales team from sending out rogue, non-standard contracts. 

Ultimately, we decided that: 

Revenue Operations is responsible for designing processes for the systems that they manage, in order to extract high quality data that aligns people around the need for operational efficiency and revenue growth.

When I transitioned into my new role in September, I took to the internet to learn how the best of the best were designing their systems and automating their processes to drive… IRR? (Exactly how venture fund returns are judged is way beyond our scope. - JD) Having been introduced to tidal wave that is VC Twitter©, I assumed there’d be no shortage of content.

I was met with crickets. Out of the [number redacted due to embarrassment] VC twitter feeds, blogs, and Substacks I waded through, I found not one mention of automation. So I did what any good Millennial would do and consulted Google, where I was again met with disappointment. While searches for sales, marketing, and customer success automation produce close to 900 million results, “venture capital automation” produced a measly 28M - most of which were pings for companies working on physical automation and robotics. (Oh, hey! I co-founded one of those. - JD)

I was baffled. Why weren’t venture capitalists eating their own dog food?

Being a novice, I assumed I was missing something. Perhaps, given greenness, I was trying to distill something more complex than I understood.

Until I saw ~the tweet that changed everything~

And thus, Automatter was born. 

I bring to Automatter a sick obsession with process automation that is only matched by my desire to see fewer white, male faces at the top of the tech and venture industries. As someone relatively low on the industry totem pole, I am limited in the change I can incite in an industry that is deeply flawed. But when it comes to automation and strategic process design, I’m an expert. And I want to make that expertise widely available to those who have historically been denied opportunity and whose worth has been questioned at every turn of their journey.

This Toolbox is very much a work in process -- an MVP, if you will. It was built from hours worth of failed Zaps and conversations with emerging managers about their pain points (or just lurking their tweets).

Some truly powerful resources (Exhibit A and B) have been built from crowdsourcing -- so Twitter, do your magic. What tools do you use to manage your processes? Or better yet, what would you like to see that doesn’t yet exist?

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Many thanks to everyone who’s chatted automation with me over the past few weeks, including Paige Doherty, Amani Phipps, Chris Harvey, Vedika Jain, Andreas Klinger, Huston Collins, Matt deCourcelle, and Aaron Bailey.

The Emerging Manager Toolbox