UNDERSCORE VC AUTOMATES
ITS DATA DISTRIBUTION WITH
COBALT PORTFOLIO MONITORING

Firm saves time and focuses on growth plans using automated reporting capabilities.

Firm Type

Private Equity/Venture Capital

Challenge

  • Repetitive data entry and inconsistent reports
  • Not enough time for analyzing and strategizing
  • Manual recording delayed expansion plans

FactSet Solution

  • Faster, intuitive data collection
  • Unified data from investment ledger
  • Fewer errors with reporting clarity

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About UnderScore VC

Founded in 2015, Underscore VC is a venture capital firm that focuses on emerging companies in the Boston area. Underscore VC provides support to entrepreneurs such as, early-stage tech founders to go from idea to IPO.

The Challenge

Underscore VC Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer, James Orsillo, recently selected Cobalt GP for the company’s portfolio management and fund accounting solutions to help the firm scale its systems alongside its portfolio. Prior to implementing Cobalt, Underscore faced challenges with fragmented information, too much busy work, and a drag on growth.

Why the need for a new portfolio monitoring system?

“In a word: growth. As our number of investments grew to a large and larger critical mass, the number of Google Sheets we had to keep (one for each) became unmanageable. What's more, the demand we were putting on Google Sheets itself outstripped its ability. It couldn’t do different kinds of analysis. And it doesn’t offer the sort of business rules and scaling capabilities we needed to synchronize cash flows with our back-office accounting team.”

What were you looking for?

“I wanted to create a closed-loop process where as soon as we updated the ledger, all the data flowed to where it was needed. With a spreadsheet, you can overwrite anything, and it doesn’t feed into the reporting the way you want it without manual intervention.”

The Solution

Why did you select Cobalt?

“Cobalt had just what we needed. It was the only solution that gave us one place to look at our overall fund performance along with the performance of our portfolio companies. Most tools are good at one or the other. We like how Cobalt combines the data from our investment ledger with the history and KPIs of our portfolio companies to paint a more complete picture.”

Is Cobalt changing how you work?

“It will save a lot of time when we collect information from our portfolio companies. In the past, I had to email each company individually to get them to send me their quarterly data. Now Cobalt will blast all of them a link to a secure page where they can enter the information. It’s also much faster to make changes. If I want to add a new metric, I can automatically request it for all the companies. In the past, I had to manually add it to each of the templates we had. It isn’t the best use of my time to be a spreadsheet jockey.”

The Results

What about how you make investment decisions?

“The most important benefit of Cobalt is how it empowers the team to stay on top of our investments and prevents business building errors. One example: If I wanted to see how each of our portfolio companies were performing compared with their budgets, I would have had to open a lot of spreadsheets. Now I can open one report and see who is doing really well and who needs some extra help.”

What is Cobalt like to deal with?

“I can’t overstate the customer-service orientation of the team at cobalt. They are one of the most responsive vendors I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with many. I feel like we are a part of their team, where they really listen to everything we need.”

 

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