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Craft Ventures Makes Data Nimble for a Time-Sensitive Process
100% of investors regularly accessing data
Investing is a time-sensitive process
Craft Ventures, a venture capital firm, knew that time was one of their most valuable resources.
Ethan Ruby, Partner, Analytics at Craft describes venture capital as similar to searching for a needle in a haystack, with hundreds of thousands of startups in the world, but far fewer on the path to massive success or a fit for Craft Ventures’ portfolio. Craft collects data from a number of sources to identify potential opportunities, and when they do it’s critical that they have the ability to quickly make contact and perform additional research if needed.
“Investing is a very time-sensitive activity, right? As we gather new data on startups and then learn something interesting, the best thing for us to do is take action on it right away. And that’s really hard to do when you have a bunch of data that you’re downloading once a month,” said Ruby.
Manually combining data sources was too slow and lacked flexibility
Craft collects an enormous amount of data related to startups and seeks to analyze it to understand which ones may be doing well, which are showing signs that indicate they should contact them about a potential investment, etc. Before onboarding Mozart Data’s modern data platform, Craft relied upon a data consultancy to help them refresh their data and move it to Affinity, their CRM.
"Before using Mozart it was a super manual process. We’d get data from all these different sources, we would download them as CSVs, and we’d try to manually combine them to try to get insights across all of them."
While the consulting firm could do the work Craft needed, it took multiple days of collaborative work every month. “A lot of that work was handled externally, so there was a level of friction to making any changes — we had to schedule a meeting to discuss and it took some time to implement those changes. So, we wanted to bring that process in-house,” said Sitara Ramesh, Associate at Craft.
The consultancy process did allow Craft to pursue analytics without a large team — any new solution needed to maintain that strength.
"The question was, as a very resource-constrained team, how can we quickly and efficiently set up a system and a pipeline where we’re able to ingest all these data sources, do some level of transformation with fairly minimal SQL knowledge, and rapidly iterate from there?"
Mozart helped make analytics scalable
Craft was able to quickly set up a modern data platform with their existing team and help from Mozart’s data analysts and move onto their top priority: building their company pipeline project to mine for investment insights.
Craft combines data from their disparate sources and unifies it on a cleaned version of the company website name for uniformity, then layers their own filters and qualifiers over that data to identify companies for their team to focus on. When the team’s interest in a given filter changes, or a market condition influences the way they need to assess companies, the Craft team can now quickly, directly make those changes in the Mozart platform.
"With Mozart, we’re able to connect all our data sources in one place, we’re able to run those jobs often, sync it all to a centralized repository, and then immediately surface any new insights we get. And frankly, without a data warehouse, it’s impossible to crunch numbers that large, to go through that much data. And Mozart by far made it easier and cheaper than any other platform to get our data warehouse set up and start crunching that data."
Mozart’s automated incremental transform feature helps Craft highlight those insights promptly. A change in a critical metric, like an increase in headcount or a new fundraising round, might impact Craft’s assessment of an investing opportunity. An incremental transform ensures they will be promptly notified when one of those changes is reflected in one of their data sources.
Craft could manually refresh their entire dataset frequently to make sure their data is up-to-date, so these valuable insights can be surfaced as quickly as possible for their competitive advantage. But, that process is unnecessarily expensive because computation time affects data warehousing costs. Mozart’s incremental transform feature helps Craft operate more nimbly and at a lower cost.
"Mozart has helped make us a more data-driven venture firm."
Looking towards the future
With their company pipeline built out and adaptable to their needs, Craft is looking to make more data even more accessible to stakeholders. They’re working on managing portfolio information and integrating it into Affinity more effectively, with automatic data refreshes to replace their manual one.