Venture Capital

Affinity, DealCloud, or 4Degrees- Which CRM is Right For Your Firm?

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Affinity and DealCloud are well-known customer relationship management (CRM software) vendors for private market firms—including private equity, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and investment banking.

Catering specifically to the intricate needs of these sectors, they offer unique strengths in organizing and enhancing professional relationships and managing deal flows. Firms considering these vendors should also consider 4Degrees, a relationship intelligence CRM designed exclusively for the private markets.

Overview of Each CRM Platform

This guide examines the specifics and compares 3 CRM providers: Deal Cloud, Affinity, and 4Degrees. We discuss their key features, strengths, and limitations. This analysis will help you decide which CRM platform best aligns with your firm's needs and solve your unique pain points.

Affinity CRM

Affinity is a SaaS CRM and relationship intelligence platform designed for industries that thrive on networking, such as venture capital and investment banking. It features automated data capture and integration with tools like Outlook and Google Worksuite, streamlining user workflows and information access.

Users praise Affinity for its ease of use and intuitive design, significantly reducing the learning curve and allowing teams to adopt the platform quickly. However, there are several drawbacks. Despite being intuitive, some users report the interface as outdated and hard to use, mainly when dealing with large volumes of data. Additionally, some advanced features and integrations are only available with higher-tier subscriptions, which could limit access for firms on tighter budgets.

Pros of Affinity CRM

  • Seamless Integration: Affinity integrates smoothly with standard tools such as 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 un necessary features.

Deal Cloud

DealCloud is a specialized CRM system and deal management platform designed primarily for business development and fundraising teams in the capital markets industries. It offers robust customization capabilities, allowing users to tailor the platform to their specific workflows and needs, making it particularly attractive for firms looking for a configurable system.

Some user reviews have noted that the platform's interface could be more user-friendly. Users have also expressed concerns about its outdated design, which makes navigation and usability challenging, particularly on mobile devices.

Teams have also expressed concerns about the platform's implementation process, noting it can be challenging and time-consuming and sometimes falls short of expectations. Initial setup and customization have been frustrating, often requiring more time and resources than anticipated/budgeted. Furthermore, the platform's mobile application does not offer the platform's full capabilities.

Overall, DealCloud is well known for its ability to integrate complex deal management functions into a single platform. It offers significant value for money and excellent customer support, particularly when requiring bespoke solutions. It is a solid choice for financial services firms looking for a comprehensive CRM solution that can be customized to fit intricate business processes.

Pros of Deal Cloud

  • Highly Customizable: DealCloud is known for its extensive customization options, allowing firms to tailor the CRM to fit specific workflows and business processes. This feature primarily benefits complex private equity and investment banking IT structures.
  • Robust Functionality: The platform combines various deal management functions, including pipeline management and deal data, into a single system, simplifying the user experience and enhancing efficiency. Its ability to link different modules and generate new lists is known for adding value to user operations.
  • Excellent Customer Support: DealCloud's customer support is often highlighted as a strong point, with the support team being responsive and helpful, addressing needs quickly and effectively, even after hours or on weekends​.

Cons of Deal Cloud

  • Challenging Interface: The platform's interface could be more intuitive, making navigating challenging, especially for new users.
  • Complex Implementation Process: Many users find the implementation process complex, expensive and resource-intensive. Promises made during the sales phase about guidance and support can sometimes fall short, leading to frustration and longer timelines.
  • Limited API Integration: Some users have reported that APIs are limited, which can hinder integration with other systems. Although the platform is customizable, these limitations can impact the ability to streamline workflows across different tools.
  • Costly Customization: While customization is a strength, it can also be a double-edged sword. Custom APIs and other specific tailorings can come at a high cost, which DealCloud may offer to different clients, potentially adding to the frustrations.


4Degrees is a relationship intelligence CRM platform for teams in deal-driven industries founded by ex-VC investors. Used by teams in venture capital, private equity, M&A, investment banking, commercial real estate, and consulting, 4Degrees empowers teams to leverage their networks and close deals faster.

As a full-featured CRM, 4Degrees CRM empowers your firm with the flexibility to view 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 platform 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 path to a company, expert, or investor in seconds, improving your firm's deal sourcing and due diligence efficiencies.

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, and source new investments.

As a system designed for deal makers, our 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: Tailored for deal-driven industries such as venture capital, private equity, and investment banking, 4Degrees offers industry-specific functionalities 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.
  • Automated Data Entry: Seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Exchange and Gmail to automatically 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 using a third-party system such as Zapier.  
  • Newer Player in the Industry: 4Degrees was founded in 2017, while Affinity and DealCloud were founded in 2014 and early 2000s, respectively. However, 4Degrees is a revenue-positive company that is committed to customer success and not dependent on outside funding.
  • No on-Premise Options: 4Degrees can only be deployed as a cloud-based system.

Affinity, Deal Cloud and 4Degrees Comparison Matrix

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Firms Choose Deal Cloud?

Larger firms often choose DealCloud for its flexibility and industry-specific configurations, which cater to complex use cases requiring dedicated integrations, workflows, etc. DealCloud's platform is designed to manage intricate investment lifecycles and offers robust customization options that can align with the unique processes and workflows of sophisticated financial services firms.

This customization may require a lengthy deployment time of up to six months and extensive team training, often going over budget. This complexity means that your team might need significant training hours to utilize the software once implemented effectively, compared to other systems that can be implemented in days, not months.

For the past decade, DealCloud has built a brand and reputation by delivering high-quality software for managing relationships, leads, portfolios, and business development efforts for deal teams. Unfortunately, their product is outdated. It requires users to enter data manually, leading to human errors and risking the accuracy of information—a critical point since decisions based on flawed data can adversely affect a deal. Rather than spending time entering data, your team's efforts could be more effectively spent building and nurturing relationships that can lead to more deals.

Overall, DealCloud has built a brand around servicing deal-driven teams; however, its product lacks relationship intelligence, its timelines are long and complex, and its pricing is considerably higher than that of other players.

Why do Firms Choose Affinity

Firms choose Affinity primarily for its powerful relationship intelligence capabilities that automatically capture and analyze your team's communication and interaction data.

Affinity also offers robust integrations with other business tools, enhancing its functionality and flexibility. These features make it especially appealing to firms prioritizing deep insights into their network connections and seamless integration with their existing tech ecosystem.

Affinity is a well-known market player, raising over $120 million from venture capital investors. However, its product has drawbacks. It does not offer full relationship intelligence since it lacks real-time news and updates about a user’s network, making it challenging for investors to maintain active engagement with their contacts.

Affinity is known for its relatively open approach to sharing client data, but it does not give users full control over information distribution.

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

As the company has grown, long-time users have reported a decrease in the quality and responsiveness of customer success and customer support resources. The company prioritizes larger customers and provides smaller firms with lower-quality support services.

Why Choose 4Degrees Over Affinity and Deal Cloud

When looking for the right CRM, selecting a system that perfectly aligns with your industry's intricate needs is crucial. While Affinity and DealCloud are established providers with their own merits, 4Degrees is a particularly compelling option for the following reasons.

Customization and Specificity

  • Industry-Focused Features: 4Degrees is tailored for managing the entire investment lifecycle, from lead management to sourcing to portfolio management.
  • Direct alignment with industry workflows, providing functionalities that precisely meet the needs of private market firms.

Automated Data Entry and Integration

  • Time-Saving Automation: Automatically logs interactions by syncing with Microsoft Exchange and Gmail, eliminating manual data entry.
  • Improved Data Accuracy: Ensures the reliability of CRM data, which is crucial for maintaining dependable relationships and deal insights.

Relationship Intelligence

  • Advanced Analytics: Leverages network connections for strategic dealmaking, enhancing deal sourcing and due diligence.
  • Insightful Introductions: Quickly identifies optimal paths to key contacts, crucial for effective networking in private markets.
  • Browser Extension: Access relationship intelligence from any website or LinkedIn profile, allowing you to find warm introduction paths to people on a company’s site or their social media profile.

Expertise and Support

  • Industry-Specific Expertise: Support and Customer Success staff with deep industry knowledge, ensuring relevant and practical assistance.
  • Responsive Customer Service: Quick and effective support tailored to the unique processes of deal-driven firms.

Cost Effectiveness and Implementation

  • Efficient Implementation: A less resource-intensive setup than Deal Cloud and Affinity, 4Degrees facilitates a smoother and faster onboarding experience.
  • Budget-Friendly: Lower total cost of ownership, avoiding extensive additional costs for customization and advanced features.

Why 4Degrees Offers Unmatched Value for Deal-Driven Firms

Private market firms seeking an effective CRM must carefully consider their unique requirements and workflows. While Affinity and DealCloud have established themselves as well-known platforms with valuable features, 4Degrees offers a compelling alternative that aligns with deal-driven teams' unique needs.

Its automated data capture, advanced relationship intelligence, and industry-focused features make 4Degrees a powerful alternative. Unlike its competitors, the platform provides efficient implementation, seamless integration, and unparalleled customer support rooted in deep industry expertise. It ensures your team can focus on what matters most—building relationships and closing deals.

Ultimately, choosing the right CRM means finding one that aligns with your firm's specific goals and workflows. With the detailed comparisons outlined in this guide, you'll be well-equipped to select the CRM platform that delivers the best value for your business and enhances your dealmaking processes.

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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