Asset Managers/Investors need a way to efficiently streamline their fund formation document process because outside services are too expensive, lack quality control regulation, and new innovations are very limited in the fundraising process/finance sector. Our investor onboarding portal is designed specifically for investors in private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds that fundraise & have an onboarding process to bring on new investors to contribute capital to their funds.
Processing fund formation documents can expose General Partners to unnecessary risk and impose tremendous inconvenience on potential investors. A handful of documents are drafted manually and mailed/emailed to new investors, resulting in a tedious process of follow-up emails, calls, etc. to communicate the status of those sub docs. Delays can follow this process from 4 weeks or more. Some documents could get lost and miss a signature, leading the follow-up process to be extended.
Typically, this process is handled by internal or external counsel, who draft the terms within the subscription docs. The head of investor relations is responsible for the follow-up of these documents, pursuing the completion of signatures, and updating the partners when new capital is ready.
Research Insights & User Pain Points
Using surveys, it was identified from a few different categories of prospective users who participated. They provided feedback illustrating frustrations they faced when trying to recruit and onboard new investors. Explaining the process was still manual or was expensive if outsourced to an external firm/counsel specialising in subscription documents.
If done in-house, the process was very manual and tedious. The process was traditionally an exchange of emails, hard mail, and phone calls that required manual tracking over an excel spreadsheet. Often this was a very limited user face that resulted in operator error or significant lag time due to missed signatures or lack of a status update notification.
General partners/fund sponsors often faced exposure to unnecessary legal liability due to new potential investors holding legal documents that contained proprietary information or vice versa. There was a need for a secure data hub containing a portal that holds investor details and other relevant information.
Preliminary user research to validate this problem with current prospects in the finance sector that are expressing frustration with their investor onboarding process for their new fundraises. Several surveys were given to solidify an actual need and demand for this solution.
Based on target users’ pain points, I wanted to work on the following features:
- Reduce/eliminate the use of external counsel for drafting and managing subscription documents.
- Streamline the onboarding process of new investors when raising a new fund.
- Manage the signatures and status of the subscription documents to deploy the newly allocated investor capital for purchasing new assets/investments.
- Success can be measured by a reduction in turnaround time, ideally from 4+ weeks to 2 weeks of document exchange to result in signature completion.
When firms raise new funds, they reach out to a pool of investors (20+) that are interested in subscribing to the fundraise. Being able to automate this process with subscription docs that are digital, reduces the manual process of drafting sub docs.
SubDoctor converts your existing subscription documents (investor questionnaires, tax forms, FACTA-CRS forms, etc.) to smart web forms with conditional logic.
Having a library of investor data allows auto-population of sub docs with their information when former investors join a new fund. Having digital documents allows the general partners to keep track of signatures and when docs are completed, they can access and deploy the newly allocated investor capital on investments/assets.
DocuSign is limited to only documents, while SubDoctor can integrate an investor portal and auto-populate with relevant information. Portal holds forms and other requirements that vet new investors who qualify to contribute to the fundraise. This data auto-populates the relevant forms and automates the subscription process, so a simple e-signature is required to properly give digital consent without having to go through excessive email chains, mail, and voicemails which are needed as follow up to complete the onboarding process.
SubDoctor can coordinate with all deal parties throughout the fundraising process, including investors' financial advisors, legal counsel, and investor relations teams. Create data exports for post-closing analysis or fund administration investor onboarding.
User Flow / Mock-Ups
This is a fun project I look forward to completing to help me understand similar products within my current company, which I may very well manage in the future. It would be great to leverage this experience to gain a role in my company that provides more ownership and the opportunity to add more value to our current and potential clients.
Product Manager Learnings:
Co.Lab was a very interesting experience for me as we covered the essentials of the Product Management landscape to gain a strong understanding of the role. As a Product Manager, it’s important to find ways to validate your assumptions. User research should be treated as an investment and not as a cost. It can be time-consuming. However, it is an essential part of the product development journey.
When engaging with users through interviews and user testing, I found that the most helpful approach was to ask for specific details about the user experience, such as pain points or usage patterns. If you take this approach too far you can end up producing technical jargon and over designing your solution, which may be costly in time and money.
What I learned over time is that the best way to get accurate information is by asking direct questions rather than providing abstract ideas that result in a lengthy spec document (if any).