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The Role of a VC Platform in Startup and Investor Success

The Role of a VC Platform in Startup and Investor Success

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The journey to success is never linear. And that’s the fun of it all. Whether you’re a startup looking for a breakthrough, or an investor searching for a new opportunity, overnight success is as rare as you can imagine. 

But there are certain ways to make this journey smoother. 

If you’ve delved into the VC waters even slightly, you’ve probably heard about the term VC platform. And for good reason. 

A venture capital platform isn’t just a part of everyday corporate jargon. Sure, there are a few buzzwords that are just that, but we won’t waste your time on those. A VC platform, on the other hand, is a potent device that accelerates company growth (especially SaaS growth), connects investors, and catalyzes innovation. 

If you are looking for more actionable insights into what makes a top tier VC different from many of the VCs out there and how best VCs work with startups to bring them more value and not just mere initial investment – check out the video below from our Founder, Alexej Pikovsky: 

Imagine a future in which entrepreneurs thrive rather than just survive, and investors effortlessly discover the next unicorn. Welcome to the magic of the VC platform.

The BIG VC Pie and the Importance of VC Platforms 

Before we go deeper into the main topic, let’s see some critical stats:

  • The total capital raised in the global Capital Raising market should reach US$603.2bn in 2024.
  • Traditional Capital Raising is projected to dominate the market with a market volume of US$534.7bn in 2024.
  • The US is expected to generate the most value, with US$331,800.0m in 2024.[1]

This is a rather big pie and there are slices for everyone, but one must learn how to get to their slice first. This is where a venture capital platform comes into play. No matter which side of the investment process you stand at. 

Definition and Overview of VC Platforms

A venture capital platform is a well-structured mechanism within a VC company that provides all-round support to portfolio businesses. This typically includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Strategic consulting
  • Business growth and development
  • Talent acquisition
  • Marketing and sales
  • Streamlining operations 
  • Networking opportunities

It’s essentially a team within a venture capital company dedicated to aiding companies beyond mere financial investment. It serves as an extension of the startup, providing resources and expertise that would otherwise be out of reach.

Consider it a startup’s closest friend, providing advice, resources, and connections that money alone cannot buy. They aim at bridging the gap between funding and success, giving young businesses an entire apparatus necessary to master entrepreneurship and come from an initial idea to execution and success.

It’s the secret sauce that enables startups to grow faster and smarter, adding value to portfolio companies. 

Differences Between VC Platforms and Traditional Venture Capital Roles

Traditional VC roles and jobs focus on investment decisions and financial returns. In contrast, a venture capital platform takes a comprehensive strategy, providing hands-on assistance and tools to help entrepreneurs succeed. 

It’s like giving someone a fish (the traditional VC role) versus teaching them how to fish (the role of a VC platform). The latter also provides them with a cutting-edge fishing rod and access to the best fishing areas.

The Sequoia Capital VS a16z Example

Traditional venture capital firms, such as Sequoia Capital, are primarily concerned with identifying and investing in potential entrepreneurs, providing funding in exchange for equity, and seeking big returns as these businesses grow. They frequently serve on boards to provide strategic direction and use their broad networks to link businesses with potential consumers, partners, and significant industry players. Traditional VC roles provide strategic counsel and network access, drawing on their partners’ extensive industry knowledge and experience.

VC platforms, on the other hand, such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) provide a broader range of services beyond cash investment. They offer operational help through in-house professionals in areas like marketing, sales, talent acquisition, legal, and technological assistance. 

They prioritize community development by arranging events and workshops for their portfolio companies, creating educational content, and cultivating a collaborative culture. Their proactive approach to network building and significant media presence set them apart from traditional venture capital roles since they provide a larger range of resources to help startups succeed.

The VC Platform Role Explained

The roles and results of the right VC platform are diverse and multifaceted. These professionals play multiple functions, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Strategist
  • Connection
  • Advisor 

They collaborate extensively with companies to discover their requirements and give specialized help. For example, a VC platform professional may assist a firm in refining its go-to-market strategy, connecting it with possible partners, or recruiting the right people for key roles within the workforce of a portfolio company. 

It’s important to note that there are (at least) two types of VC platform roles: one that typically wears a variety of different hats and one that is more role-specific. As an example, a VC firm may engage a head of content or a platform manager to collaborate with several portfolio companies on the hiring process, which is one of the most crucial aspects of a company. 

Examples of Typical “Head of VC Platform” Job Descriptions

We went over some head of VC platform job descriptions, some recent and some from a few years ago, to get a sense of what types of individuals the companies are seeking. Here are some of these we found relevant for the function it entails:

You will foster community by sourcing and utilizing content or speakers for regular portfolio meetings, creative programming and events (both in-person and online), and tools to increase community participation and value for portfolio companies.

  • Oversees brand management, public relations, client engagement, design, and digital marketing efforts.
  • Developing a curriculum for our founders to learn and apply best practices in developing innovative firms.
  • You expertly create fundraising decks and educate others on pitch strategies.
  • Manage outsourced third-party service providers.

The recurring features include community building, community management, and assisting portfolio firms in using VC resources to solve problems.

As for the experience levels, these tend to vary in a substantial manner. Some VC companies are searching for two to four years of experience in specific disciplines, while others seek two to four years of experience dealing with startups. 

VC Platform for Startups: Success Stories

To put money where our mouth is, let’s go over several famous and inspiring stories of how VC platforms managed to supercharge startups beyond just funding.

Speedinvest and GetYourGuide

Speedinvest, a European VC firm, has a well-regarded platform that provides a variety of services to entrepreneurs. In the case of GetYourGuide, a travel booking portal, Speedinvest connected them with appropriate industry professionals who guided them through the difficult travel business. This mentorship helped GetYourGuide create a strong business plan and eventually acquire follow-up funding for further growth. [2]

Vertex Ventures and UIPath

Vertex Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm, uses its platform to provide portfolio businesses with practical counsel in addition to funding. For example, they assisted UIPath, a robotic process automation business, with its go-to-market (GTM) strategy. Vertex introduced them to sales and marketing executives who provided useful insights and coaching. This helped UIPath adapt its methodology, resulting in a more successful sales pipeline. [3]

Atomico and Skype

Atomico, a leading European venture capital firm, is well-known for its active platform approach. While specifics are not publicly available, it is widely acknowledged that Atomico played a critical role in linking Skype, a video communication platform, with important industry players and possible partners. This networking advantage helped Skype gain key transactions and accelerate its road to becoming a global phenomenon. [4]

Why Should Investors Hire for VC Platform Roles?

Startups that receive support from VC platforms are more likely to meet milestones, secure further funding, and eventually flourish in the market. This benefits not only portfolio companies but also investors, who see larger returns.

Investors, on the other hand, gain from VC platforms by improving portfolio performance, increasing returns, and establishing a stronger industry reputation. 

Functions of a VC Platform: Pre and Post Investment

VC platforms play a vital role both before and after an investment is made. Before investing, they assist entrepreneurs in preparing for fundraising by fine-tuning their business models and pitches. After the investment, they give continuous support to help firms scale, access new markets, and achieve their growth goals.

During the fundraising phase, VC platforms assist entrepreneurs in developing their pitch decks, refining their business models, and connecting with potential investors. This assistance can significantly improve a startup’s ability to obtain finance and not end up as VC orphans (though that doesn’t mean it’s over for them).

Post-investment, VC platforms offer a variety of value-added services such as strategic advising, business growth, marketing support, and talent acquisition. Private equity value creation is the only way to steer the newly acquired company into success. 

Communities for VC Platform Professionals

It’s all about knowledge, insight, and experience. 

Joining forums for VC platform professionals has various benefits, including networking opportunities, market information, and professional development. These communities create a friendly environment in which professionals can share knowledge and learn from one another.

VC Platform Global Community

The VC Platform Global Community is the industry’s biggest organization of committed venture capital platform specialists. Since its inception in 2013, our peer group has expanded to include the world’s greatest platform professionals who seek to develop the industry while also supporting individual career advancement.

Let’s Talk Ops

Let’s Talk Ops (LTO) is a community of top-tier operators that fuel some of the world’s most successful venture capital organizations. LTO is designed for those in today’s emerging and non-traditional venture capital jobs, such as Director of Operations, Head of Platform, Chief of Staff, Investor Relations, Marketing Director, Community Manager, and so on.

For the VC industry, regardless of the side you belong to – a startup or a VC – it’s critical to stay in the loop. Only then will you be able to stay ahead of the curve. Perhaps the most significant event to look out for is the VC Platform Global Summit. 

VC Platform Summit 2024

The VC Platform Global Summit is the largest and most diverse gathering of platform professionals in the venture capital industry that takes place each year. Their members participate to establish authentic peer-to-peer networking opportunities and collaborate to build critical solutions. 

This year, they are welcoming members to Miami for unparalleled peer-to-peer mentorship, candid discussions, and networking.

The event is intended to bring together the ambitious operators who drive the VC industry and are committed to upgrading their company’s platform, operations, marketing, communications, talent, operations, community, business development, and/or investor relations.

How to Land a Job in a VC Platform

VC is not exactly an easy industry to break into. It takes time, patience, and inventive techniques to gradually increase your experience and résumé to the point where VC firms will pay attention. 

It’s crucial to not be discouraged if it doesn’t happen straight away. 

It’s also crucial to know there are steps you may take to improve your chances of landing a VC platform employment. The main function of most platform roles is creating a community that solves problems and beats challenges. 

Try networking with people in venture capital and startups; there are numerous events that anyone may attend – we covered one above. Join a portfolio company for a year or two to have a better understanding of the issues they face on a daily basis.

The greatest method to acquire the position is to demonstrate to VCs that you are a self-starter who can do the job from day one. The objective is to get your name out there in a manner that demonstrates your expertise and love for the industry.

And the skills? Think the following:

  • Strategic thinking
  • Industry knowledge
  • Multifacetedness
  • A great sense of timing
  • Outstanding communication
  • The ability to create solid, long-lasting relationships 

The list goes on. But this should be enough for the start. 

Summary and the Future of VC Platforms 

The future of VC platforms is bright, as existing trends and future directions point to ongoing expansion, evolution, and innovation. As more companies grasp the importance of offering holistic support to startups, the role of VC platforms will grow. No doubt about that. 

Do you think you have what it takes? 

FAQ

What Is a VC Platform?
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At its core, a VC platform is a collection of value-added services supplied by venture capital firms to their portfolio companies to help them grow and flourish. These services typically range from marketing and branding to recruitment, operations, and customer acquisition.

What Do You Mean by VC?
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Venture capital (VC) is typically used to fund portfolio companies and other businesses with the potential for significant and quick growth. VC firms raise capital from limited partners (LPs) to invest in potential businesses or larger venture funds.

What Is a VC Tool?
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Venture capital (VC) tools are the secret sauce behind successful investing, assisting VCs in their search for the next great product or service. These solutions streamline the whole investment process, from deal sourcing to due diligence, giving venture capitalists a competitive advantage in the transaction flow.

Why Is It Called VC?
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A venture capitalist (VC) is an investor who lends funding to new firms in exchange for stock. Startups frequently seek money from venture capitalists (VCs) to help them scale and sell their products.

References:

  1. https://www.statista.com/outlook/fmo/capital-raising/worldwide[1]
  2. https://www.speedinvest.com/blog/marketplaces-luca-bocchio[2]
  3. https://www.businessinsider.com/robotic-process-automation-it-professionals-2020-7[3]
  4. https://medium.com/vvus/how-vc-firms-are-using-the-platform-role-to-help-startups-make-the-connections-and-relationships-19207ff8b615[3]
  5. https://tech.eu/2023/10/04/skype-founders-vc-firm-atomico-secures-1-1bn/[4]

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