How Anthemis Drives Sustainable Portfolio Engagement with 1:1 Peer Connections
Anthemis is a female-founded investor guided by the principles of authentic collaboration, virtuous cycle outcomes, and diversity and inclusivity. Anthemis’ portfolio includes companies of all stages, 22% of which are female-founded. Erica Young and JeeYoon Hong help the platform team (pictured below) harness the power of the network to support portfolio company growth. “Venture capital is a team sport,” says Erica. “VC firms co-invest in companies, leadership teams work together to build businesses, startups and their customers collaborate.”
Looking for new ways to support companies, 1:1 peer support was identified as a key need. Anthemis’ virtual programming events were adding value, but, as Erica said, “1:1s allow people to go deeper on a topic or issue and discuss in context.” The Anthemis team needed a consistent, reliable solution to scale these conversations without having to manually connect their 100+ portfolio companies worldwide.
This need became even more acute when the pandemic hit. Enter Orbiit, another female-founded company focused on bringing bringing people together for curated 1:1 connections that strengthen individuals and communities.
Anthemis offered biweekly opportunities to opt-in for a 1:1 conversation. The key to driving adoption? Orbiit’s ability to “reduce matching and scheduling friction, create a sense of urgency and provide timely, relevant topics,” said Erica.
In the first 10 engagements, participants discussed Contributing to a Diverse, Inclusive Culture, Remote Working, Annual Reflections, Fundraising and more. Anthemis alternated between a general list and 7 function-specific groups, providing opportunities for both peer support and more tactical conversations.
The 1:1s caught on quickly, with participants from 89 portfolio companies. “I was blown away by the great feedback and consistent, high NPS scores,” said Erica. The NPS score has risen 22% to an 88 since the first round. “It’s great to swap stories of situations we’ve been dealing with, and see how others are growing their companies rather than sitting in our own box,” said the co-founder of an online epigenetics platform. The conversations also led to lasting relationships: 81% of participants wanted to stay connected with at least one of their matches.
Another unexpected benefit? “We have grown the number of connections we have within a portfolio company, which we hadn’t anticipated,” Recently, the team “received an inbound request after someone heard of a service Anthemis offers during an Orbiit chat,” she recalled.
The Future of Anthemis 1:1 Peer Connections
Anthemis’ initial goal with Orbiit was to provide 1:1 connections outside of larger-scale programming, without manual work. But now, “Orbiit feedback has become an insights tool to inform our content and events strategy.“ Knowing what is top of mind for members, the team can provide community programming based on common goals. “We plan to expand the offering in our community,“ Erica said. “Founders aren’t the only ones who value a peer’s perspective. This is a scalable way to help everyone who participates grow stronger as a result.“