Alpine Pacific Capital Puts More Deals in the Pipeline With Smartsheet
Alpine Pacific Capital needed a work execution platform to streamline various processes, from managing their deal pipeline to performing due diligence and communicating with portfolio companies. They turned to Smartsheet.
"Putting updates and progress status in Smartsheet sets a different expectation – everyone is accountable to show their contribution to the top and bottom line. Smartsheet helps keep everyone efficient and operating at the top of their game."
With offices in Orange County and Seattle, Alpine Pacific Capital is a fast-growing private equity firm that understands that efficiency and coordination are critical to successful deal flow and investment management.
Todd Marker, co-founder of Alpine Pacific Capital, has a 10-plus year career in private equity and has seen technology solutions come and go. Having tried Salesforce, OneNote, and Microsoft Access in the past to coordinate deals and due diligence with companies, he found all were either too complex, difficult to use or lacked the adoption necessary to be effective.
“You’re only as good as your weakest link, and if something is too complicated to learn and maintain, it falls by the wayside and everyone ends up managing deal flow and due diligence back in spreadsheets,” explained Marker. “There’s nothing collaborative or efficient about multiple versions of spreadsheets flying around.”
So when he and his partner launched Alpine Pacific Capital in 2011, Marker knew he couldn’t afford to make the same mistakes. It was critical that he and his partner choose a tool that would make two geographies feel like a single office. As a small resource-strapped firm, the technology solution had to be flexible enough to help manage multiple functions, including their deal pipeline, due diligence, portfolio company management and budgeting.
One Tool Fits All
When Marker and his partner discovered Smartsheet, they knew they’d found the tool they were looking for to help manage their business. “It was a quick decision for both of us,” said Marker. “The familiarity of the spreadsheet interface married with real-time updates was the perfect fit for managing our deal pipeline, performing due diligence and communicating with our portfolio companies.”
And when they saw how Smartsheet could be used for all the other various internal operations, the deal was sealed. “We use Smartsheet both to manage our business – operationally – and what we do as a business – partner with management teams to build value for our investors.”
Streamline the Pipeline
In Smartsheet, Alpine Pacific manages deal flow from the moment a potential investment is introduced all the way through the consummation of a transaction. This includes all stages of market, legal and financial due diligence and concludes with deal documentation. The team sets up individual workspaces in Smartsheet for each company under consideration to keep it all organized.
Managing the Deal Flow
Alpine Pacific team members use RYG Balls as helpful visual indicators are used to show if a company meets internal investment requirements and is ready to move on to the next stage.
In addition, cloud collaboration and file-sharing helps the company complete due diligence sheets with potential portfolio companies. Once companies have access to the due diligence sheet, they can easily gather all required documentation, upload it real-time into Smartsheet and use a checkbox to show that item is complete. For Alpine Pacific, it’s extremely helpful to see the sheet change as it is updated in real-time.
Any other pertinent information that needs to be explained about the required task is detailed in the Discussion notes.
And Alpine Pacific saves pipelines and checklists as templates. Now when they engage with new potential companies, they don’t need to reinvent the wheel – they simply pull up a template to get started. Saving time setting up the tool means more time to work with clients.
“Every management team that we’ve introduced to Smartsheet has fallen in love with it,” said Marker. “It’s so intuitive and easy to use – not to mention much more organized and helpful in driving progress than a simple file share and email.”
Internal Operations Hum Along
In addition to the sheets and workspaces for companies under consideration, Alpine Pacific has an internal workspace set up to manage all facets of their own business. For example, the company uses Smartsheet to plan their annual budget, re-forecast as necessary, and closely monitor expenses.
The firm uses Smartsheet to create its database for capital providers, with contact details that are organized and accessible anytime, from any device.
And Smartsheet is a repository for key documentation and resources, with a “toolbox” that contains everything from legal templates to customer interview questions to 90-day plans.
“Internally, we’re more organized and better positioned to take advantage of our years of experience than ever before. In short – we’re more efficient” explained Marker.
Accountability Drives Success
Alpine Pacific’s portfolio companies also benefit. “Once we invest in a company, we strongly encourage them to use Smartsheet to manage certain functions of their business. Because we’re shared to many of those sheets, it’s interesting to see the culture shift that can happen when you introduce a system for real-time accountability,” explained Marker.