Aumni Spotlight: Understanding the Benefits of Stronger Data Insights with Aumni’s Katrin Robb
We sat down with Aumni’s VP of Customer Success and Strategy, Katrin Robb, to glean insights into how Aumni customers elevate their data strategy by incorporating our solution. We explored what the data allows firms to do, the merits of improved data accuracy, and what surprises and delights our customers find as they begin the process of transitioning from spreadsheets to a robust analytics platform.
Q: Please tell us about your legal background and expertise in venture capital. How has your experience in the legal world informed your time at Aumni?
I have been a practicing attorney for over 15 years. I started out at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, doing private equity and venture capital work. I then moved to the Bay Area and spent the majority of my career at Fenwick & West where I worked with a wide range of venture-backed startup companies, venture investors, and entrepreneurs. Most recently, I was VP of Legal Operations at Silicon Legal Strategy where I led the firm's efforts to create a more efficient, consistent, and effective delivery of legal services in order to improve client service and value.
My deep understanding of the documents that Aumni analyzes, the venture industry as a whole, and how these documents play into the broader ecosystem, enables me to gauge what information is important and how the customer might derive the most value from our product. The familiarity I have with the data helps me think of ways to problem-solve for customers since I understand what’s driving the inquiries and how they will be using that information.
Q: In your role at Aumni, how have you seen customers apply the insights that the platform delivers?
Aumni has different solutions and workflows for a variety of roles. One example is an in-house counsel at a venture capital firm. Most venture funds, CVCs, and family offices have hundreds of deals. Remembering the intimate details of every deal is impossible for any attorney. Aumni’s ability to centralize data about the specific terms of individual deals has delivered significant value and time savings for attorneys when addressing questions posed by investment professionals. Without having to manually dig through documents, customers can use Aumni’s platform to quickly access key financial and legal information about any given investment, such as fully-diluted ownership, voting rights, investment stage, valuation information, information rights, pay-to-play, board seats, and more.
Another way an in-house counsel could leverage Aumni is in connection with reviewing new deals. Aumni allows them to easily and quickly access benchmarking information about their existing portfolio. Counsel can use these insights to ask questions, give advice, and inform negotiations for new deals. For instance, upon reviewing the term sheet of a new deal, the attorney may notice that the deal may not be in line with what’s typical for this type of company. Aumni’s platform can benchmark new deals as compared to their specific firm's deals over time.
CFOs can also benefit from Aumni. For example, Aumni allows them to easily access the data they need for limited partner reporting obligations. Rather than pulling the required data from various sources and tracking manually in spreadsheets, as is typical, Aumni lets them easily pull data points across the entire portfolio or a subset of funds for their LP reporting.
Another common use case is helping prep investment professionals for various meetings, such as board meetings or other important discussions and negotiations. Typically, GPs look to finance and the back office for preparatory information on a given portfolio company. Aumni pulls all this information together easily, allowing the back office to promptly forward it to the investment professional so they have all relevant information at their fingertips.
Last but not least, Aumni empowers the investment team directly by giving them quick and easy access to legal and financial information that is critical to their business decisions. A partner or associate can use Aumni in real time to pull data that can be very valuable during fundraising or exit scenarios. In a few clicks, they can answer questions like: "Who has the vote? Do we have power to make this happen? Who are the people that have a veto right?” and so on.
Q: How is Aumni helping investors improve their data strategy as it relates to better access to information, accuracy of their data, and ability to drive decisions?
Having easy access to organized information is only the beginning. Accuracy of the data is also essential. Human error can occur, no matter how many people review a document (e.g. the transposition of a number, substantive typos, or missing paperwork). Aumni’s systems are able to catch those errors by performing automated machine learning calculations. Even when data points are in different documents, Aumni can catch those mistakes making it easy to audit your documents and get them fixed in a timely manner.
Q: What makes Aumni’s customer experience unique for new clients? How does the onboarding process play into a firm's overall workflow or process?
At Aumni, we strive to provide our customers personalized, best-in-class service, and support. Every fund, CV, or family office is unique. We work closely with all of our customers to leverage their own processes and workflows to make the document gathering process as easy as possible. We work with them to put in place protocols for future investments to make it as easy as possible to get Aumni the documents we need in a way that works for that customer. We truly see ourselves as partners and really enjoy helping our customers build their data processes in a way that makes the most sense for them.
Our onboarding starts with helping the customer gather all their documents. We then ingest the documents and let them know what they are missing and what documents are not properly executed or incomplete. We conduct a thorough review process including comparing them to the customer’s internal deal list to ensure that all the necessary paperwork is present and that the documents match the customer’s expectations. Before even diving into a substantive review of the documents, Aumni often identifies inconsistencies between the customer’s record and what documents they actually have.
Starting with a document audit is critical because this information is usually in multiple locations and hard to track down. You have to contact different companies or speak with people who may not understand the documents. When finally located, these documents may be missing signatures or have other issues or inaccuracies requiring more back and forth over email. Because of that, we have implemented a “LOST Docs” service to automate most of this process and deliver significant time savings to the customer.
Q: Can Aumni help firms of all sizes or is the solution only for larger organizations?
What is really interesting about Aumni is that it provides incredible value for funds at any stage of development and data strategy. When a fund is brand new, getting documents in order establishes a strong foundation and helps raise money from more sophisticated LPs. For a mid-stage or larger stage venture capital fund, Aumni enables better organization of an enormous amount of data that they otherwise would not capture.
Even a sophisticated data strategy can be very siloed. Aumni is the glue that keeps everything together. Limited partners are becoming increasingly focused on data strategy, data integrity, and back-office processes. Aumni levels-up venture funds in a manner that LPs appreciate.