Dropping Out, Rocketing Up: The Affinity Startup Story


Written by Finalis

Last edited on Feb 28, 2023

2 min read

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When accepting admission into a prestigious college like Stanford University, most are dedicated to graduating with a degree. However, forward-thinking problem solver Shubham Goel and his partner, both students at Stanford, were struck with a conviction and an ingenious idea that drew their attention away from their studies.

Leaving before graduation, the partners would work to build Affinity. Built with the intention of relationship building, Affinity is an intelligence platform that allows dealmakers to find, manage, and close the best deals.

Now touting over 2,500 customers across 80 countries, Affinity has grown to become an invaluable tool across myriad industries, including finance, real estate, philanthropy, and more.

Shubham Goel joined us to discuss how this relationship management tool came to be and what teams at are doing to foster growth and innovation across many fields.

The role of chance in guiding growth and success

The roots of Affinity didn’t lie in precise planning or specific goals. Instead, the company grew from the experiences of its founders and a market need.

Having networked with many outstanding people during a summer program at Stanford, Shubham Goel and his partner realized an exceptional pain across many deal-making industries. While these professionals were doing many different things and working across various fields, each was responsible for creating and maintaining relationships.

When investigating the systems and ways these professionals manage relationships, Shubham Goel found significant problems. These problems revealed a giant market need for a relationship management platform that could be utilized by individuals and companies alike.

“Affinity was started through a combination of some intent, but a lot of serendipity.” — Shubham Goel

Armed with the identification of a market pain point and the skills and knowledge of gifted engineers, Affinity founders set out to create a groundbreaking service. Taking the path less traveled, they took leave from Stanford and placed a bet on their success.

The power of ambitious visions

Achieving the vision of Affinity would be no small feat. In fact, it may be near impossible to fulfill the company goals completely.

These loft goals don’t discourage the employees of Affinity, though. Instead, the organization is encouraged by the ambitious goals of Affinity leaders.

“Our long-term vision is to help every single professional, doesn't matter if it's a student graduating from college, or a fortune 500 CEO, to better leverage and harness the network to succeed.” — Shubham Goel.

While Affinity has moved mountains in the relationship management world and now serves professionals across all western countries, it still has a long way to go. However, attributing their progress to only 1% of goal achievement, Shubham Goel still feels hopeful.

The services provided by Affinity have modernized relationship management. With large advancements, their services are currently being utilized like never before. Yet, despite these leaps and bounds, company leadership keeps its eyes on the horizon. Establishing ambitious goals may make it seem as if the organization has a long way to go. But, this doesn’t dismiss the progress that has been made.

Ambitious goals fuel enthusiastic employees that will elevate the company for decades to come as they meet challenge after challenge with excitement and determination.

Becoming a system that helps to elevate existing businesses

According to Shubham Goel, the future of Affinity and similar businesses lies in becoming a technology that offers greater efficiency and ease to professionals. For others, it lies in utilizing those new technologies.

“All of these new banks that are entering the top 10, for the first time, are very likely taking advantage of technology that makes their processes more efficient, and helps them better leverage their relationships and the advantages that they already have.” — Shubham Goel.

Businesses gain an advantage when leveraging new technologies to increase the quality of their services. Being a leader in the growing technology space has allowed Affinity the upper hand, particularly in the existing environment of little-to-no direct competition.

Volume is only one piece of the puzzle to dominate a market or reach organizational success. Increasing quality and personability can drive business far ahead of the competition.

The foundation behind deal-making lies in personal relationships.

To best foster and manage relationships, Shubham Goel suggests that businesses utilize technologies that lend more time to relationship building.

For example, outsourcing data entry using automated technologies can cut back on the time required for professionals to do the same work, therefore increasing the time available to foster better client relationships.

Successful businesses of the future will utilize new technologies to focus on what truly matters: building relationships. Affinity will be there to make managing those relationships easier.

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website or search for Pencils Down in your favorite podcast player.

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