Quantium spoke to the Founder and CEO of ACE Alternatives to understand how we optimized their operations.
The operations of private markets firms have traditionally been veiled in secrecy. Matias Collan from ACE Alternatives knows this first hand, from his 15+ years of working experience in private capital markets.
Matias has been involved in senior roles in alternative investment fund operations on the European continent, including a longer term assignment as COO and Partner of a high-calibre German venture capital firm. During his time in operational leadership, Matias saw that the way most fund administrators and in-house back office teams were marketing themselves was very different from the reality of their offering. When the curtain was pulled back, there was really not much of a tech stack to speak of – most work was run on Excel, with limited repeatable processes, leading to quality issues, high employee churn and most alarmingly, low levels of customer satisfaction.
He also observed that many back office teams had only limited technology expertise and thus lacked the skills, perspective and courage to redesign their operational architecture using advanced tech.
These long-standing industry problems were the main drivers that spurred Matias, together with strategic partners from the private capital industry, on to found ACE Alternatives in early 2021. They recognized the gap in the market as a substantial opportunity to help reshape the fund administration arena – from a highly commoditized marketplace to one where PE and VC fund managers would receive value-add support from a high-touch service partner with exceptionally deep operational industry knowledge and a powerful technology platform.
THE SEARCH FOR A SOLUTION
A critical ingredient in the mix for ACE Alternatives was to find the perfect fund administration software solution. Matias and the ACE team were well aware that selecting the ideal software partner was a big decision – whatever platform they chose would be the core building block for the business and could single-handedly make or break its success. They knew they needed to future-proof their operations by finding the best solution available, even if they had to scour the entire global market to find it.
They began the quest for the right software solution with an open mind. They evaluated the relevant vendors comprehensively, and quickly separated the wheat from the chaff. Most of the well-established vendors were ruled out early in the process, due their clunky tech, overall pricing, costly customization fees and lack of flexibility.
By the time ACE Alternatives approached Quantium, they were already in advanced talks with another vendor. After several months of screening and towards the end of the process, Matias and the ACE team had identified a potentially preferred software solution, but some questions still remained. The software ticked many of the boxes – designed well and receiving an open API, the architecture was built around a centralized data hub approach, the vendor is a leading player in the industry with significant resources, and its people very engaging and willing to work with ACE Alternatives on their specific needs. Still, Matias and the ACE team found the system too heavy and not flexible enough to reconcile with the hefty price tag.
HOW QUANTIUM BENEFITS
On Matias’s first call with Jessie Juan, he was sold. “They had me at “10 years of LP front-office experience at Partners Group”, said Matias, “and also by the fact that Jessie and her partners had gathered deep insight into third-party fund management software solutions and their limitations, and that they were driven to develop a software that is agile, customizable, and tailored to the real needs of fund managers and their LPs.”
“Deep industry expertise is crucial when working with the private capital ecosystem. Similar to Jessie and the Quantium team, our knowledge of PE/VC operations is one of our key differentiators at ACE Alternatives – it sets us apart from our competitors who are just focused on ticking the boxes, without any interest in adding genuine value to their clients’ operations.
“The Quantium co-founders impressed me straight away with their thoughtful questions about what ACE Alternatives was hoping to achieve. It showed that they knew their business inside and out.”
“They weren’t just accommodating of my requests, but suggested ways in which we could further fine tune their software for our clients’ needs. From the very beginning I’ve always felt extremely confident in our partnership.”
Customization is very important to ACE Alternatives – normally a stumbling block with the larger, well-established vendors who charge astronomical fees for a long, laborious customization process. “The nature of fund administration is that every firm does things a little differently,” said Matias. “It’s tough to find a software partner that can go with the flow to a certain extent when it comes to customizing the software stack to suit client requirements, and also being able to adapt to changes in market conditions.
“The current market environment is highly volatile, and as a business we need to b e able to recalibrate our approach when the need and new opportunities arise.
“Working with big vendors is similar to being on a gigantic container vessel. When you’re navigating in headwinds or trying to overtake your competitors, you really need to be in a yacht where you can adapt to conditions quickly and easily.
“From the first point of contact and throughout the implementation process, the Quantium team was exceptionally hands-on, proactive and agile.”
3. Ease of Use
Many solutions claim to be intuitive and easy to use, but don’t actually deliver on this promise – one of the reasons ACE Alternatives was so impressed with Quantium.
“We onboarded our first client and their new VC fund in June. It was extremely easy and convenient to conduct investor onboarding with Quantium, and to produce the first investor-related transactions,” said Matias. “Thanks to their design, Quantium have the perfect building blocks to integrate their stack with our separate CRM and dynamic content production software modules.”
“In parallel, the Quantium team had started with the migration of data for some legacy funds, which we are taking over and managing for some clients – and we were absolutely amazed with how independently the Client Solutions team worked through it all. It made things so much easier for us working with analysts who understood how to organise the data – it greatly minimised our workload during the onboarding process and ensured the system was ready for us to use from Day 1.”
About ACE Alternatives
Learn more at www.ace-alternatives.com