Deal Flow OS

posted 6 months ago

I'm excited to release Deal Flow OS, an open-source(ish) deal flow management system. This system was built to cover the deal flow management requirements of Ascension, an early-stage VC fund.

Video demo walking through Dealflow OS

Over the last ~5 years, we (Ascension) have tried many solutions (Affinity, Attio, Google Sheets, Notion) for managing deal flow but for a variety of reasons, none of them stuck. While the product is important, ultimately a system of any kind is only as good as the people using it, and the key requirement for us has always been, at its core, an easy and reliable way of adding and querying opportunities. Some products were super powerful, but too intimidating to configure. Others were easy to configure, but didn’t play nice with integrations and lacked extensibility.

Over the last few years, I’ve been iterating on what the perfect deal flow system would be for us, and I’m really excited to make it available to everyone. Deal Flow OS is an opinionated system that will have you up and running with everything you need to manage your deal flow, in 20 minutes.


At the core of Deal Flow OS is an opinionated Airtable base, providing a relational database that is easy to build and iterate on without having to write any code. Airtable also provides an incredibly robust no-code automations platform straight out of the box making the system super extensible. Features such as forms and views make it very easy to allow others to easily submit information (i.e. company submit deal flow through your website) and easily consume information without being logged in (i.e. sharing deal flow with other investors or pipelines with your LPs etc).

While Airtable covers all of the basic needs for a comprehensive deal flow management system, the front-end can be difficult and unintuitive to navigate for non-power-users. However, all is not lost. Airtable also provides an automatically generated API for every base with zero extra configuration necessary. This is one of the most underrated features that Airtable provides, as it allows for almost limitless possibilities to interact with your base. Using the API, I built a custom front-end which provides an intuitive app-like experience.


Front End

When you log onto your Deal Flow Hub, you have four options: Pipelines, Add Company, Add Note, and Triage Inbound Pipeline. The Pipelines feature allows you to bookmark the main pipelines (views that you can configure based on your requirements) you want quick access to. Adding a company to the pipeline is quick and easy with the Add Company feature. The Add Note feature provides a quick link to take notes on calls. The final option, and my favorite feature, is the Triage Inbound Pipeline.

For context, Ascension receives over 1500 applications for investment a year through our website and we have never been able to consistently and effectively triage quickly (ideally 1-2 weeks).

The role of triaging is as simple as deciding if something is potential fit for one of our funds. If so, we should schedule a first call, if not, we should send an email passing on the opportunity and update our system. One way to improve this is to ask better objective questions and then build automations to process applications based on logic (super easy to do with Airtable 🙂). But, that can only take you so far, and I always dreamed of having an interface that presented the most important information and then an easy way to action. And that is how and why the Triage Inbound Pipeline (below) was built.

Back End

The Airtable base has an opinionated pre-built schema with views and forms to cover basic needs such as accepting applications and submitting notes. It also has several basic automations that are status-based, interval-based, and event-based.

  • Status-based - when an opportunity is marked as:
    • “set up first meeting” → send an email to a founder with a calendly link to book a meeting;
    • “automated pass” → send an email to the founder passing on the opportunity and update status;
    • “invested” → send investment details to the operations team to commence onboarding.
  • Interval-based - every morning, send an updated list of the pipeline.
  • Event-based - when a new note is submitted → update company status to “post-call action required”. Based on sentiment of the call, perform an action (ie. positive call, share deck and notes with partner on the fund)

Finally, there is a feedback system that provides the infrastructure to share opportunities with context (deck, website, notes) to members of the investment team (partners usually), and an easy interface for them to reply.

And that’s it! If you’re interested in using it, instructions are in the Github repo, and if you have any questions please drop me an email -

Note: The one notable omission in this project is email integration. This is a huge part of the appeal of Affinity, Attio, HubSpot etc. and a non-negotiable for many funds. This solution isn’t meant to fit for everyone. It was built for our requirements at Ascension.


The repo is here, however, I'm still pulling together the instructions for getting up and running and they will be released at some point over the coming weekend (25 Feb). If you're interested in being notified upon release, fill in this form.