Customer Spotlight

How this investor saves 30 hours per month with Double

Customer since 2020
Headquartered in Dallas, TX
Venture Capital
integrative.ventures
Eduardo-Zaldivar

For Eduardo Zaldivar, serving the founders of the Integrative Ventures portfolio is his number one priority. That means working with founders to solve problems and add value not just as a monetary investor, but also as a partner when things get challenging. To do that, he focuses on delivering the highest value possible to his founders—doing the things only he can do to improve their business outcomes, growth, and ultimately the return on investment for Integrative Ventures.

“That’s why we founded Integrative Ventures—to be a studio invested in both purpose and profit,” Eduardo explains. “As an ex-founder, I know firsthand the importance of a responsive and proactive investor who listens well, follows up, and adds value.”

The venture studio, based in Dallas and Austin, invests in startups and develops tools internally for investors and portfolio companies. Their founder-first mentality comes from the reality that founders are the ones doing the work—so they should be supported.

To Eduardo, success in his role is when founders feel comfortable asking him for help or recommend him to fellow founders. Ultimately, these two measures contribute to the broader success of the studio: Return on capital. “In venture capital, you have to trust that your principles will lead to a monetary return in the long run,” he explains. “In the meantime, you put your principles into practice by helping founders deliver.”

Eduardo has to stay ahead of the curve for his founders, all while keeping room to react when they need him. Effectively, he’s a project manager for many projects at once, playing an interdisciplinary, cross-company project management role. Because of that, his day to day varies based on company needs.

Growing portfolio and a growing need for support

In the past year, Integrative Ventures invested in nine additional companies, adding nine new founders to Eduardo’s already growing portfolio. As a result, he’s had to balance working with new ventures, supporting existing portfolio companies, and finding new investments. “The balancing act of finding new companies and delivering on our founder-first promise to existing investments is without a doubt the hardest and most persistent challenge of my role,” he says.

Initially, to achieve a balance between the two, Eduardo worked harder and for longer hours. “My initial approach worked until it didn’t,” he explains. “I felt spread thin.” He’s the first first to admit that organizational tasks aren’t his strength—in fact, they’re a drain on his energy: Not being good at organizational work costs him a lot of mental and emotional energy.

Over time, he started to feel the pressure and see things slip through the cracks. “It happened slowly and then all at once,” he says. One weekend he dedicated two 16-hour days to catching up on admin work. Knowing he wasn’t going to improve at organizational work, and seeing how many hours the tasks took him, he decided to look for help.

Hesitant to hire an assistant

Eduardo tried to find balance by first hiring an intern, but they lacked the experience necessary to help him. Then he hired a freelancer, but they didn’t provide him with the consistency he needed. What’s more, “All the effort of bringing someone on was on me—I had to train and onboard them, which was costly,” he explains. “Helping them succeed came at the cost of them helping me to succeed.”

He had heard of Double—as an investor, he’d seen fundraising news and tracked the company’s progress. He decided to try a Double out to help with his administrative overload.

Intern

  • Little experience working as an EA
  • Limited visibility and understanding of how an organization works

Freelancer

  • Not always fully dedicated to your success; distracted by other work
  • Can lack the polish necessary

Double

  • Experienced EA with long career of helping executives and leaders
  • Professional, authentic, and proficient in the necessary technology tools

Deciding to hire a Double

“I had never successfully brought on an assistant, so I went in with a lot of hesitancy,” Eduardo says. “I started off by admitting that I had a lot to learn from my Double.” He reviewed the onboarding materials he received from Double, and asked his Double what had worked in the past and why. Then, they got moving on working together.

Within the few years since bringing on his Double, due to his Doubles moving on from their roles—because of career changes and growing their families—Eduardo has changed Doubles several times. “My experience of transitioning Doubles has been consistent and efficient,” he says. “They’ve been diligent about handing information off, giving each other the download without involving me.”

And because his outgoing Doubles were always replaced with other Doubles, processes stayed the same, and service was maintained throughout. “Every Double has executed a seamless type of baton pass—they’ve done everything possible, like setting my preferences or recording video tutorials for the new, incoming Double, to make sure I was taken care of and didn’t feel the transition,” he says. Because the Double app allows for the transfer of tasks from one Double to another, things happen effortlessly in the background and all context on current priorities is passed on.

Eduardo’s Double now helps him with a ton of the administrative work he used to fall behind on, including:

Email and scheduling: “I had no idea how much time having my Double draft emails in my voice would save me,” he says. His Double has access to his inbox, responds in a timely manner, and makes sure everyone is given the best experience possible.

Data collection and tracking potential investments: Eduardo’s Double helps him track his pipeline and manage data collection, which frees up his time to focus on helping founders.

CRM management: Eduardo has entirely outsourced his CRM management to his Double. When he meets with someone, he voices over meeting notes to the CRM and his Double follows up with a thank you and any other tasks. “In venture capital, CRM management is everything. My Double helps me stay on top of all of my client relationships.”

In addition to administrative tasks, Eduardo’s Double helps him manage his energy. “To me, my Double does so much more than help me manage my time, she helps me manage my energy,” he says. “Energy is so much more important than time, because when my energy is managed well, I’m more effective in everything I do.”

Finding the freedom to focus on his founders

Eduardo has reaped several benefits from having a Double.

His Double helps him be more self-aware: “When someone shadows your every move, they can tell you how you are spending—or wasting—your time. My Double revealed to me how much self-awareness I was missing,” he explains. His Double often asks him, “Are you sure you need to be doing that?”—a question he’d never asked himself before. And thanks to his Double’s experience level, he’s able to recognize when he’s wasting time and, with that self-awareness, delegate.

His Double enables him to focus on the things only he can do: “My founders expect to talk to me, that I will lead deals—those are all things only I can do,” Eduardo says. To that end, his Double frees up time for interacting with founders—which is the work that gives him energy instead of taking it away.

His Double helps him meet his founders where they need him, not where his limitations are: Before, Eduardo could only do so much—with everything he was juggling, his ability to meet every founder’s need was impossible. With his Double helping him, he can provide what his founders need without being limited by administrative overhead.

His Double helps him be a better VC: “Not many VCs are very good at administrative details—I’ve seen operational management be the Achilles heel of fund managers,” says Eduardo. “We usually become VCs in the first place because of our vision, creativity, and leadership.” But a lack of admin skills can mean missing meetings with founders, not responding to LPs, or not having the resources to support a founder at a time of need. For Eduardo, having someone to help streamline the operations side of a fund allows him to spend time with founders instead of on the phone with accounting—both of which are important to the business, but one of which is unique to his skill set.

Eduardo and his Double use the Double app to message more efficiently than other platforms, as well as to manage tasks. He can assign himself tasks or toggle to send it to his Double, and they can follow up within the app to see what needs to be done.

Eduardo’s number one priority is his founders, and it shows. Bringing on a Double to take care of the work that detracted from his energy, time, and ability to serve Integrative Ventures’ founders was a big step towards improving his value add and the long-term returns for the fund.

Investing in technology and people is his bread and butter—doing so for his own productivity turned out to be just the thing Eduardo needed to improve outcomes in his role.

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