Q&A with Felipe Alvarez Llano at Crosscut
We had the pleasure of speaking with our esteemed customer, Felipe Alvarez Llano, Head of Strategic Finance at Crosscut. Felipe share with us an overview of Crosscut and of his professional background. He also shares some of the challenges that led Crosscut to partner with Aumni and the different ways that he uses Aumni in his role to save time and make better decisions.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about Crosscut and your role at the firm?
A: Crosscut is an early stage venture capital firm based in Los Angeles, founded in 2008 by three partners. We are currently investing out of our fifth fund. We are sector agnostic, but currently, we are looking at five sectors: data, the infrastructure part of health tech, space tech (not launch focused, but everything that goes inside of the rockets), FinTech and PropTech. We usually invest in the seed stage, but we can go up to series A, or go as early as the pre-seed.
As for my role, I'm Head of Strategic Finance here at Crosscut. My role is divided into three parts. One part is portfolio support—specifically, I support our portfolio companies in their growth and financial needs, such as financial modeling, fundraising, and anywhere else we can add value. Another aspect of my role has to do with our internal strategic financial decisions. I manage all our internal investment models and ownership data, ensuring that all of that data is organized in a way that enables us to make better decisions and provides value for us.
Q: Were there any particular challenges your team faced that led you to Aumni?
A: My background is in investment banking, so I’m used to working with very large companies in which all the information was very neatly organized. Every company had their IR department, they managed their ownership percentage, their shares, etc. When I joined Crosscut, I started to learn about venture and realized that there's not a single source of truth. Every company— startup or firm — has different sources and different information. All our systems were patched between the financial documents, other service providers, the fund administrators, even emails— all these pieces that we used to make our decisions. We believed there had to be a better solution to get to a single source of truth.
Since partnering with Aumni, we’ve been able to organize all that information— the financial documents, the SPA, the note, and so on— and convert hundreds of pages of legal documentation into a single, easy-to-understand dashboard. Beyond being straightforward to view, the dashboard also gives us the ability to download the raw data, to ingest that data in our own financial systems, financial models, and the tools that we have. It’s great for our team members who just want to see a snapshot as well as for the team members that need access to play with that information in other systems. We now have a better sense of order and more flexibility.
Q: Which Aumni features do you like most? What are the common ways you use the platform?
A: I'm a numbers-driven person, and I like to be able to get the raw numbers, transfer them and play with them, as needed. The reporting capabilities and the bells and whistles of having everything neatly organized and visually appealing is a major draw for some investors on our team. But for me, where Aumni really shines, is getting the information in an easy-to-ingest format: being able to download the transaction log, view our annual transactions together with our cost, number of shares, dates and specifics of each transaction. I can then take that data and transform all of that into the pieces I need to plan and make decisions.
Q: Would you recommend Aumni to other firms?
A: I would recommend Aumni to firms that want to have a single source of truth and/or to supercharge their reporting and analytics capabilities. Combing through these documents is time-consuming. Every firm must do it once to make sure that the deal terms are solid; however, when the deal is closed, it's great to have a third-party, like Aumni, that can validate and check and audit those documents for various reasons to get the audit in check. The first audit we did together with Aumni was last year, and it went very smoothly. Even the auditors told to us that this was one of the easiest audit processes they had done with us. Plus, we were able to download reports directly from Aumni to support our valuations, which was very useful. Aumni is great for firms that want to have the flexibility to download raw about their transactions and to feed their own internal models. And it’s so important to know what you own because it empowers you to make better decisions.