Bill Elcock DiligenceVaulter focused on strategic partnerships. Previously at Brookfield and NEPC. Holy Cross & Babson.

Quarantining in the Vault

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These past two months have been like nothing else we have seen in our lifetimes, and we at DiligenceVault are sharing some learnings and perspectives to help one another.  

Here at DV, the entire team has been working remotely since early March and thankfully everyone is doing well. At the beginning of all this, I remember standing in our offices and contemplating if I should take my computer monitor home with me on the subway at rush-hour, and I am certainly glad I did. With so much going on, I have found it difficult to pull myself away from following the news and checking in on loved ones, but I’ve found that a key to gaining a sense of normalcy has been finding a routine. A routine means something different to all of us but work from home definitely means working from home. Many of us have taken pointers from others in our network and colleagues on how to establish a successful routine. Establishing a good work environment and claiming space (which can be difficult for those with kids and roommates), not letting household chores and other distractions pull you away, and sticking to a schedule as best as possible have all been successful for many of us on team DV. Taking breaks, finding time to walk around and exercise are paramount for mental clarity and focus.

We developed a routine of having several team-wide video calls throughout the week, with one on Monday mornings to discuss key tasks for the week but more importantly to check in on each other and discuss non-work-related matters such as Netflix, book recommendations and recipes to try out. Despite all of this, I feel like I have grown closer to my teammates as we are all in this together. I have seen teammates in a whole new light with new hairdos, beards and clothes. This has also been a great opportunity to get closer to our clients and contacts as we share experiences across locations, and their words mix with sounds from their children, spouses, dogs and cats.

  • A phrase our team has been using for motivation over the past month is, “Be the bounce.” When we return to a sense of normalcy, we want to be ready to hit the ground running and capitalize on some of the lost time. We want to be the bounce. Since being in lockdown, like everyone, we have had moments to contemplate, strategize, stress and wonder what post lockdown times will be like. Fortunately, these moments have led us to take action, and it took incredible teamwork to achieve these:
  • We opened our third office, expanding into Europe by way of London. We simultaneously learned that the process of opening an overseas bank account while working remotely is something much easier said than done.
  • We conducted entirely remote interview processes and hired across client service, engineering and marketing teams in India and NYC. These were our fastest hiring decisions yet! To welcome the new team members, we compiled a brief team video, which was unnerving for some of us. Between this and the daily Zoom video calls, we all have spent considerable time seeing ourselves on      camera. I hope it is the camera adding 15 pounds and not the quarantine+15.
  • We had been planning to start a webinar series, and these past few weeks inspired us to follow through. The first one had stellar industry experts and revolved around the theme: “ODD During Quarantine.” We want to thank our speakers, Brad Stehle and Michael Merrigan, for their insights. If you are interested in accessing the recording of this webinar, sharing ideas for content of future webinars, or participating in upcoming webinars, please let us know!
  • We created a Pandemic Questionnaire for manager monitoring, and updated it as the environment shifted significantly in just a few weeks. It’s available on the DV platform for our users and it is available to everyone here.

On the Strategic Partnerships team at the Vault, we discussed if and how to have sales conversations and client conversations. Our prospects and clients are not the only ones going through a shock, all of us are; so, we reviewed our messaging to minimize anxiety. Our approach has shifted to be more consultative and we have been fortunate enough to connect with many members of our community on such a personal level, understand their current pain points, and educate as to how technology can augment their processes. The clients respect our tenacity and approach, and we continue to onboard new clients, particularly cross-border.

DV platform activity has peaked! It has been rewarding to see our existing clients fully leverage the power of a digital diligence solution. For LPs and allocators, reviewing and analyzing data from the prior quarter or even the prior month is irrelevant when the markets have sold off over 20% and liquidity structures have changed. We are gratified that DV was able to give clients not only the ability to collect BCP data, but also the ability to gain insights into their live exposures and significantly reduce their time to data. A win for our client is a terrific win for us.

These days our asset manager users are also under tremendous stress, with increased information requests from investors, all while working remotely. Communication ends up being a significant challenge. So, DV introduced friendly nudges on the platform to remind users about security best practices, ease of collaboration, and time saving techniques.

Whatever and whenever the new normal is, I know we will be ready. The NYC team will be in new offices closer to Rockefeller Center, we will be able to meet our new teammates in person, and most importantly, we won’t forget all of the valuable lessons and perspectives that we have learned in this unusual time.

London Calling 2020

Over a month ago, DiligenceVault expanded into the EMEA region with the hiring of our newest Vaulter and EMEA Business Development Director, Guillaume Rouault. Guillaume has...

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