With Hockeystick, BDC Capital is collecting better data and measuring performance.
BDC Capital's Strategic Investments and Partnerships (SIP) division is one of the largest seed stage investors in Canada. Mandated to strengthen and expand BDC’s strategic initiatives within Canada’s venture capital (VC) ecosystem, SIP works with entrepreneurs and accelerators to build promising technology companies.
SIP team member Amy Pollard, discusses how she uses Hockeystick’s software to monitor the portfolio; identifying trends, spotting outliers and tracking results.
Since launching in 2012, SIP has made over 170 investments across the country. In 2014, key-decision makers recognized that staff were spending too much time chasing portfolio companies for quarterly financials. In an effort to take control of the firm’s data collection and analysis process, SIP turned to Hockeystick.
Hockeystick: Tell me about SIP. What are you trying to achieve?
Amy Pollard: We bring together a number of partners and players within the Canadian technology ecosystem to garner financial and non-financial support for tech entrepreneurs.
We’re currently focusing on making strategic investments, fostering entrepreneurial development, encouraging global connectivity for entrepreneurs, and overall acting as a VC industry facilitator. Our portfolio includes companies like Vanhawks, Bridgit and Plum.io.
Hockeystick: What was the problem you wanted Hockeystick to solve?
Amy: SIP was dependent on a manual, time-consuming and ineffective process to fulfill its reporting obligations. We were spending weeks or months at a time chasing portfolio companies for data that was inconsistent and incomplete. That’s not the type of data you can use to make effective decisions.
It took us less than two years to recognize that spreadsheets and phone calls were outdated tools to accomplish the reporting requirements of a modern investor.
Hockeystick: How have things changed since you implemented Hockeystick?
Amy: It's a complete 180. We now receive consistent and standardized company data — allowing us to scale our portfolio insight and value.
Instead of being caught in a never ending spiral of back office tasks, we now have the freedom and flexibility to focus on adding value to the portfolio and making new investments. I’m spending a fraction of the time requesting data and a lot more time analyzing it.
We’ve also recognized that having all of this portfolio data means that SIP has an extra edge to better support its portfolio.
Hockeystick: Can you elaborate?
Amy: In the traditional reporting model, funds and investors usually get updates from companies that are doing well. Since switching to Hockeystick, SIP not only gets those reports but also gets updates from companies that are struggling.
I remember one case when a company reported that it had two months of runway left. As soon as they filed their Hockeystick report we received a notification and immediately reached out.
We were able to jump into action far faster than before.
Hockeystick is SIP’s trigger to learn about the portfolio companies who need us before the situation snowballs.
Hockeystick: What other metrics are you tracking on Hockeystick?
Amy: Currently we’re collecting revenue, burn, cash balance, fundraising metrics, valuation, team size and ask for written updates.
We also set up our template so companies can upload any additional documents that they’d like to share. Plus, we have checkbox fields that make sure they are onside with their government and CRA remittances.
Hockeystick: So Hockeystick really gives you a better understanding of your portfolio.
Amy: Yes. It would take too much time to collect the data, get a snapshot, follow up with everyone and then support them. We would just focus on the ones who were reporting regularly, which would be an inaccurate representation of our portfolio.
Hockeystick: Are there any Hockeystick features that you particularly enjoy?
Amy: Hockeystick recently released a customizable dashboard feature that SIP is excited to take advantage of. Aside from giving us the ability to modify our portfolio dashboard with any metrics that we want, it also calculates our portfolio value, investment activity, total published and late reporting rates.
The automated reminder emails are a huge value-add for us.
Hockeystick: You found us early on. What drew your attention to our software?
Amy: When we started looking for a platform like Hockeystick, there wasn’t a lot of options. A lot of the products we found were built from the company’s perspective whereas Hockeystick was designed to keep companies and investors in mind. The platform met our needs from that perspective.
The founding team also spent a lot of time walking us through the platform’s workflow and made sure that we felt comfortable with the system. That really set us up for success.
Even as Hockeystick has grown, that level of customer support hasn’t wavered.
Hockeystick: What impact has Hockeystick had on your organization?
Amy: Hockeystick gives us valuable insight into what’s going on, and it’s leveraging both unstructured and structured data. That’s something that we’ve never had before and it’s super empowering.
We only have a team of four, and it has enabled us to be effective without adding additional overhead. The positive impact it has had on our organization is indisputable.