Venture Capital

Affinity, Attio, or 4Degrees- Which CRM is Right for Your Firm?

Last Updated:
May 15, 2024

Attio, Affinity, and 4Degrees are 3 SaaS customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. Each provides unique features and functionality tailored to investment management and dealmaking teams in venture capital, private equity, and investment banking.

In relationship-driven industries, effective CRMs streamline networking, manage deal flows, and uncover new opportunities. However, finding the right CRM platform can be challenging given the many options available.

This article provides an in-depth comparison of these platforms, objectively assessing their strengths and limitations to help your team make an informed decision. While Attio and Affinity offer valuable tools for certain teams, 4Degrees stands out with its innovative relationship intelligence and data management approach. By the end, you'll understand which platform best aligns with your firm's needs and can deliver the most value to enhance your dealmaking strategy.

Overview of Each CRM Platform

Attio CRM

Attio is a London-based CRM solution designed to help startups, VC and PE firms streamline their workflows. The platform is known for its user-friendly workspace (similar to Notion or Airtable), which allows teams to manage deals efficiently. With customizable templates and intuitive deal flow management, Attio aims to simplify the complexities of relationship management.

Its layout and modular design resemble Notion, which resonates with users. However, some users reported limitations in features like complex reporting, integration issues, lack of automation, and scalability challenges. While ideal for small businesses, sales teams, and early-stage startups looking for a pipeline management platform, Attio does not meet the full needs of deal-driven teams.

While Attio provides a basic set of tools, its lack of automated data capture, reliance on manual data entry, absence of data enrichment integrations, and lack of advanced relationship insights can make it less suitable for teams looking for a comprehensive relationship intelligence solution. In conclusion, Attio is an excellent product for sales use cases where salespeople guide prospects down a traditional sales pipeline, not for tracking and fostering long-term relationships.

Pros of Attio

  • Intuitive Onboarding and Design: Attio's onboarding process is praised for its smooth user experience, ensuring new users can quickly start using the CRM system.
  • Flexible Customization: Its modular approach allows teams to create and adapt templates suited to their needs. However, most of these templates are focused on sales processes.
  • Pricing: Their price is more affordable than other CRM software solutions; however, it reflects their lack of capabilities compared to other players.

Cons of Attio

  • Lacks Relationship Intelligence: Attio lacks relationship intelligence, meaning it does not allow users to gain insights into their team’s networks to find connections and warm introductions.
  • Limited Reporting Features: Reporting options and dashboards are basic, and advanced analytics for deal-driven teams are unavailable.
  • Manual Data Entry: Due to a lack of integrations and data enrichment partnerships with platforms like Crunchbase or Pitchbook, Attio requires manual data entry, which increases the workload and makes data accuracy more challenging.
  • Scalability Challenges: Attio may struggle to meet the demands of larger teams due to a lack of administrative control and advanced permissions.
  • Newer Player in the Industry: Attio was founded in 2019, while Affinity and 4Degrees were established in 2014 and 2017, respectively.  

Affinity CRM

Affinity is a SaaS CRM platform for relationship-driven industries that thrive on networking, like venture capital, private equity, and investment banking. It provides automated data capture and integrates with Outlook and Google Workspace (Gmail), simplifying workflows and streamlining data access. Based on platform reviews, users appreciate Affinity's intuitive design, which reduces the learning curve and accelerates platform adoption.

Despite its strengths, some users find the interface challenging to navigate when handling large data volumes. Advanced features and integrations are often limited to higher-tier subscriptions, posing a budget barrier for smaller firms.

Pros of Affinity CRM

  • Seamless Integration: Affinity integrates with standard tools such as Microsoft Outlook and Gmail, making it easier for dealmakers to access and synchronize their data across platforms.
  • Effective Relationship Management: It excels at organizing and tracking interactions with contacts, ensuring no detail is overlooked, and enhancing the management of business relationships.
  • Automated Data Capture: Affinity automatically captures and updates data from emails and calendars, which minimizes manual entry.

Cons of Affinity CRM

  • Feature Limitations: Advanced features and integrations are often only available with higher-tier, more expensive subscriptions, which can be a barrier for smaller firms or those with limited budgets. According to user reviews, their email and marketing automation features lack functionality.
  • Quality of Support: Onboarding and customer support are less attentive for teams not paying for additional service and support packages.
  • Pricing: Affinity is more expensive and has less functionality than other CRMs.
  • Bloated Product: Affinity includes various features and functionalities that some firms will not use, making users pay for unnecessary features.


4Degrees is a relationship intelligence CRM platform for teams in deal-driven industries founded by ex-VC investors.

Used by firms in venture capital, private equity, M&A, investment banking, consulting, and commercial real estate, 4Degrees empowers teams to leverage their networks to find warm introductions and close deals faster.

As a full-featured CRM platform, 4Degrees CRM allows your firm the flexibility to visualize your deal pipeline across the entire investment lifecycle, ensuring you're always informed about each deal's progress from sourcing to closing. Its capability to seamlessly sync with Microsoft Exchange and Gmail (Google Workspace) automatically logs all your interactions without manual data entry- saving you hundreds of hours per year while ensuring the quality of your CRM data.

4Degrees has a solid reporting engine with dashboards that provide real-time insights and in-depth data exploration. It overviews crucial metrics such as relationship dynamics, fundraising status, and deal progression, ensuring you have the essential data to make informed investment decisions.

The platform's relationship intelligence capabilities analyze the strength of your team's relationship networks to surface warm introductions and identify the best introduction path to a company, expert, or investor in seconds, improving your firm's deal sourcing and due diligence efficiencies. While also allowing you to provide your portfolio companies with top introductions to investors, talent, and customers.

To help you build stronger relationships, 4Degrees alerts you when contacts in your network have made investments, started a new job, or other signals that help you stay abreast of your firm's network, nurture relationships, follow up, and source new investments.

As a system designed for deal makers, the 4Degrees onboarding and customer support teams understand your firm's processes and workflows and will ensure you constantly get the most value from your CRM.

Pros of 4Degrees

  • Industry-Specific Design: Designed for deal-driven industries such as private equity, venture capital, and investment banking, 4Degrees offers industry-specific functionalities that are not found in general CRMs such as Salesforce or Hubspot.
  • Relationship Intelligence: Utilizes advanced analytics to leverage network connections for warm introductions and strategic deal-making paths, enhancing networking effectiveness. Available on both the desktop and mobile app.
  • Automated Data Entry: Seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Exchange and Gmail to automate workflows and log interactions, reducing manual entry and improving data accuracy.
  • Dedicated Expertise: Staff in the customer support, success, and product departments have a deep understanding of the unique needs and use cases of deal-driven teams, enhancing service quality and user experience.

Cons of 4Degrees

  • Few Native Integrations: 4Degrees does not have many native integrations with other products. However, we can integrate with most systems in your tech stack using a third-party system such as Zapier.  
  • No on-Premise Options: 4Degrees can only be deployed as a cloud-based system.

Affinity, Attio and 4Degrees Comparison Matrix

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Firms Choose Attio?

Firms choose Attio because of its intuitive design, which is easy to use and set up and enables teams to customize their CRM workspace according to their specific needs without expensive consultants or developers. Attio is more affordable than other options, including Affinity and 4Degrees. However, the platform is mainly a lead management system that lacks relationship intelligence or automatic data enrichment.

Attio is well-suited for startups and small teams due to its flexibility, ease of use, and the ability to mold the platform for various dealmaking workflows. Teams well-versed in systems such as Notion will find Attio a very easy-to-learn CRM. However, its capabilities in some areas still need improvement.

Why do Firms Choose Affinity?

Companies often select Affinity for its relationship intelligence capabilities, automatically gathering data from your team's communications and interactions.

Moreover, Affinity integrates with other business tools, boosting its utility and adaptability. These attributes are desirable to companies that value deep insights into their network connections and integration with their tech stack, which may include communication, messaging, project management, storage, and other tools.

Affinity has built a great product, but it has limitations. It does not deliver complete relationship intelligence, as it misses out on real-time news and updates about a user’s network. This can hinder investors from keeping active relationships with their connections.

Additionally, users have raised concerns about the platform's pricing strategy, which requires purchasing additional add-ons to unlock its full analytics potential.

As Affinity has expanded, long-standing users have noted declining quality and promptness of customer success and support services. The company tends to favor larger clients, resulting in less robust support for smaller businesses.

Why Choose 4Degrees over Attio and Affinity?

When selecting a CRM platform that aligns with the specific needs of deal-driven industries, it's vital to consider the core functionality, depth of relationship intelligence, and data management efficiency.

While Attio and Affinity offer robust platforms with unique strengths, 4Degrees stands out for several compelling reasons, making it the superior choice for private market firms aiming to enhance their dealmaking processes effectively.

Industry Specificity

Industry-Focused Features: 4Degrees is meticulously designed to manage the entire investment lifecycle, from lead management through sourcing to portfolio management. This specificity ensures that the functionalities you use are tailored precisely to the needs of your firm.

Direct Alignment with Industry Workflows: The platform is built from the ground up with an understanding of the venture capital, private equity, and investment banking sectors, providing tools and features that seamlessly fit into these industries' existing workflows.

Automated Data Entry and Integration

Time-Saving Automation: 4Degrees significantly reduces the time spent on manual data entry by automatically logging interactions through its integration with Outlook and Gmail. This automation not only saves hundreds of hours but also enhances the accuracy of your CRM data.

Improved Data Accuracy: Reliable data is crucial for maintaining dependable relationships and insights into deal progressions. Automated data entry ensures high data fidelity, essential for informed decision-making.

Relationship Intelligence

Advanced Analytics: 4Degrees leverages analytics to enhance your network utilization, allowing you to find warm introductions and identify the most strategic paths to new contacts-  a vital capability for sourcing proprietary deals, conducting diligence, raising funds, and advancing your portfolio.

Insightful Introductions: The platform quickly pinpoints the optimal paths to key contacts, which is crucial for effective networking in private markets. This feature is invaluable for facilitating introductions to investors, experts, and potential partners, accelerating the dealmaking process.

Expertise and Support

Industry-Specific Expertise: The 4Degrees support and success staff are well-versed in deal-driven industries' unique challenges and requirements. This specialized knowledge ensures that the assistance you receive is both relevant and practical.

Responsive Customer Service: Recognized for its customer support, 4Degrees provides prompt and effective service tailored to the industry’s sophisticated processes, ensuring that issues are resolved swiftly and efficiently.

Cost Effectiveness and Implementation

Efficient Implementation: Unlike Attio, which may struggle with scalability, and Affinity, which may require customization work and expensive add-ons, 4Degrees offers a streamlined implementation process. This efficiency minimizes disruption and accelerates your firm's return on investment.

Budget-Friendly: 4Degrees offers a lower total ownership cost than competitors. The platform avoids imposing excessive costs for customization and advanced features, making it an economical choice for firms of all sizes.

Why 4Degrees Offers Unmatched Value

Choosing the right CRM is critical for firms in the private markets, where relationship management and dealmaking efficiency can significantly impact success. While Attio offers a user-friendly interface and customization suited for smaller teams and startups, its limited relationship intelligence and scalability may not fully meet the demands of more complex, deal-driven environments.

On the other hand, Affinity provides robust integration and automated data capture capabilities, making it a strong contender for firms that prioritize seamless workflow integration and effective relationship management.

However, both Attio and Affinity have their limitations. Attio's lack of advanced relationship insights and the manual nature of its data entry system can hinder larger firms' ability to operate efficiently and scale. Meanwhile, Affinity, despite its strengths, might impose budget constraints due to its tiered feature access and potentially bloated feature set that not all firms will find helpful.

Firms must weigh their specific needs against what each CRM platform offers, ensuring the solution they choose fits their current operational demands and aligns with their growth and the evolving complexities of their industry. The ideal CRM should enhance a firm's ability to forge and maintain valuable connections, streamline its operations, and capitalize on new opportunities efficiently and effectively.

Meet The CRM Built For Deal Teams.

4Degrees is tailored for the sourcing, relationship, and pipeline activities that drive your business.
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Meet The CRM Built For Deal Teams.

4Degrees is tailored for the sourcing, relationship, and pipeline activities that drive your business.
Request a Demo

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