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Investor Approval Automation With BVP

A Unitek Case Study

How We Radically Transformed the Way BVP Builds New Investor Funds

Raising venture capital and investment funds is an incredibly complex and document-heavy operation.

Finance teams collect, verify, and process huge volumes of data and documentation at multiple touchpoints along the customer journey. They need to do that quickly, efficiently, and error-free while ensuring compliance in a highly regulated industry.

As if that weren’t enough, investment firms often work within ultra-tight timeframes to get new investors on board.

If that sounds like a near-impossible task, it’s because it is.

Yet, the stellar team at Business Venture Partners (BVP) was up to the challenge. For years, they managed to do all that and then some with spreadsheets and an entirely manual process.

Until one day, they’d had enough.

About Business Venture Partners

Business Venture Partners is a venture capital and impact investment firm. It was founded in 2004 to raise investment funds for small and medium-sized businesses and innovative startups in Ireland.

BVP actively seeks out companies looking to make a positive change in the world and whose ambitions align with Ireland’s National Development Goals.

Since 2007, BVP has successfully invested in some of Ireland’s most innovative companies, including Crawley Carbon, HealthBeacon, and UrbanVolt.

The Problem: Protracted Manual Onboarding Was Costing BVP Time, Money, and Potential Investors

This is what a typical fourth quarter looked like for BVP prior to implementing Unitek’s solution:

1. Teams Wrestled with Monster Spreadsheets and Manual Data Entry

For many years, BVP didn’t have an automated system or a central data warehouse in place.

Each time they raised a new fund, they’d create a spreadsheet from scratch. The entire team would collaborate in that same spreadsheet, writing over each other’s work.

They’d then send out application forms and other documentation to potential investors — either online or by post — and wait for them to come back. More often than not, BVP would have to hunt down lost or late forms, chasing investors and brokers and drowning in paperwork.

When the forms were finally returned, dedicated personnel would manually enter and double-check all the data into the spreadsheet. By the time they were done, that spreadsheet would reach epic proportions.

And because spreadsheets are siloed and notoriously error-prone, the team would often go back and forth correcting mistakes and inaccuracies, wasting valuable time and resources.

As a result of all this, onboarding new customers could take weeks and even months. Frustrated investors would sometimes abandon the process altogether.

2. The Clock Was Ticking on Closing New Investors

Due to investment cycles, BVP traditionally experiences a huge surge in demand towards the end of the fiscal year. Investment activity trickles in around late November and gradually increases until they virtually pour in during the final weeks and days of December.

But if volume wasn’t enough, it gets worse. BVP has a hard deadline until December 31st to key all new investor data in, full stop. That made for more than a few all-nighters around Christmastime.

3. Regulators Were Always Watching

Did the team at BVP realise they needed a system and a more digital process?

Of course, they did — so much so that they went on to build an entire central data warehouse in-house, which took a massive load off their shoulders.

What BVP struggled with was whether to introduce more digitisation into their workflows — and how much.

Like all investment firms, they couldn’t afford to become too systematic.

Due to stringent central bank, data protection, Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know Your Customer (KYC), and other regulations, BVP had to stick to manual intervention at critical points along the investor approval process. A real person must always double-check ID expiry dates, proof of address, provenance of funds, and more.

The Challenge: Building a One-Click Investor Journey with Robust Security and Compliance Safeguards in Record Time

BVP contacted Unitek in the midst of a particularly hectic Q4. They needed help with building an investor onboarding system before Christmas that was:

  • Quick
  • Paperless
  • Easy to use
  • Automated with options for manual intervention
  • Customer-centric
  • Robust
  • Secure
  • Regulator-friendly

What made this project particularly challenging was that we had to implement everything on the fly as new investors were coming in and by the end of the fiscal year on December 31st.

Unitek’s Solutions: Intelligent Onboarding and Identity Verification

With the end of year looming, we had no time to lose, so we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

To start, we implemented our intelligent onboarding and identity verification solution, which allowed BVP to automate the investor application process.

Application forms are now fully digitised and come in automatically without any need for human intervention. Chasing unreturned DocuSigns or missing paper forms is a thing of the past.

The system also allows users to scan and authenticate photo IDs from any device and verifies that all required AML and KYC checks have been completed.

The completion of these steps triggers a command that sends a letter to the investor to transfer their funds. This is followed by a thank-you letter and fully automated bank reconciliation.

For compliance reasons, BVP chose to leave a few manual checks at the final investor approval stage. This was made possible thanks to Unitek’s flexible Automation Experience platform and our easy drag-and-drop automation canvas.

The Result: Radically Accelerated Customer Onboarding, Happier Teams, and Satisfied Investors

We’ll let Gillian Cregan, CFO at BVP speak:

Unitek was an enabler for us. They were able to come in with no code and no development and provide us with a solution in a very, very short space of time. This enabled us to provide a very investor-centric customer journey while at the same time ensuring that it was regulator-friendly. Overall, Unitek is a very good, solutions-focused partner that will work with you on your ideas and bring them to life. 

Gillian Cregan, CFO of Business Venture Partners

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