May 8, 2024

5 Tips to kickstart your career as head of platform in VC 

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Are you tired of your current mundane role? Do you crave an exciting and adventurous profession that promises to be the ride of a lifetime? Do you feel confident about the skills you've acquired over the years and think it's time to leverage them in a different industry? Are you a people person who enjoys building relationships and adding value to both internal and external teams?

If you said yes to all those questions, the head of platform role in the VC space might be the one for you.

Breaking into the VC industry can be daunting, especially for those who don't fit the traditional investor mold. But fortunately for you, if you're an aspiring head of platform, you have a unique advantage, because this role is in high demand and open to anyone who can prove their contribution and skillset are valuable to the firm and its portfolio companies.

What most love about the role is that it allows you to actively participate in the startup ecosystem, supporting founders and fostering growth without necessarily being an investor yourself.

Are you eager to transition into a platform role within venture capital? If so, this article is for you.

At Proven, we work directly with platform leaders from all kinds of backgrounds, and over the years, we've observed certain traits, mindset beliefs, and attitudes that help set those that make it apart. So, if you want in, take notes, read this all the way to the end, and buckle up, because the most incredible adventure of your career is about to begin.

Understanding the game and what's driving this growing demand for platform professionals:

The role of a head of platform has become increasingly indispensable, serving as a vital bridge between fund managers and founders. As the startup ecosystem continues to evolve, fund managers and founders recognize the value that a head of platform brings.

As a head of platform, VC fund managers expect you to play a crucial role in platform development, enhancing portfolio value, and driving investor returns.

By cultivating a robust ecosystem of resources, connections, and support services, the head of platform helps portfolio companies accelerate their growth trajectory and achieve operational excellence. This, in turn, contributes to the overall success of the fund and strengthens relationships with limited partners.

For founders, the head of platform serves as a trusted advisor and strategic partner, offering invaluable guidance and access to a wide range of resources.

From networking opportunities and mentorship programs to operational support and talent recruitment, the head of the platform empowers founders to more effectively navigate the challenges of building and scaling their startups.

Additionally, the head of platform can leverage their network to facilitate strategic partnerships, customer introductions, and business development opportunities, further accelerating growth and success.

One of the lesser-known but highly impactful contributions of a head of platform is their ability to unlock significant cost savings for founders.

Many vendors and service providers offer exclusive perks and discounts only to platform leaders within VC firms. These perks can range from discounted software subscriptions and cloud services to preferential rates on legal and accounting services. These cost-saving solutions can amount to millions of dollars each year for startups, representing a substantial financial advantage that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Furthermore, the head of platform plays a pivotal role in curating and managing a portfolio of service providers and partners, ensuring that founders can access best-in-class resources tailored to their specific needs.

By negotiating favorable terms and building strong relationships with vendors, the head of the platform can maximize the value of these partnerships and give founders a competitive edge in the market.

Want to differentiate yourself from other candidates? Develop a deep understanding of key technologies that are important today and that increase performance. Learn what the best platform leaders do and how they develop their platform strategy to nurture a thriving community.

Data-backed benefits of choosing a platform role:

Transitioning into the venture capital industry offers a multitude of benefits, and the thriving nature of this space presents abundant opportunities for aspiring platform professionals. Here are some key benefits and reasons why:

1) High Growth Potential:

The VC industry has witnessed significant growth in recent years, fueled by technological advancements, globalization, and increasing interest in entrepreneurship.

According to PitchBook's 2021 Annual Global VC Report, global VC deal activity reached record levels in 2020, with over $300 billion invested across more than 21,000 deals. This growth trajectory is expected to continue, driven by emerging sectors such as fintech, healthcare, and artificial intelligence.

2) Access to Innovation:

Working in a VC firm provides unparalleled access to cutting-edge innovation and disruptive technologies. VC firms typically invest in early-stage startups with the potential to revolutionize industries, create new markets, and solve complex problems.

By being at the forefront of innovation, you can help shape the future and make a meaningful impact on society.

3) Global Reach and Influence:

With the rise of globalization and digital connectivity, the VC industry has become increasingly global in nature. VC firms and investors actively seek opportunities beyond their local markets, tapping into emerging economies and cross-border collaborations.

According to the Global Venture Capital Confidence Survey by Deloitte, 79% of VC investors surveyed expressed confidence in their local ecosystems, highlighting the industry's global reach and influence.

Your platform position would enable you to help shape and influence many of the complex strategy issues that the firm will face as it supports an increasingly growing global team.

4) Financial Rewards and Career Growth: The VC industry offers attractive financial rewards and career growth opportunities for top performers. According to the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the median total compensation for investment professionals in VC firms exceeded $500,000 in 2020, with significant upside potential through carried interest and performance bonuses. Additionally, successful professionals can advance to leadership roles, establish their own funds, or transition to executive positions within portfolio companies.

As a platform manager, your contribution to the technical aspects and the relationship building that portfolio companies typically struggle with will go a long way in helping validate why you deserve a piece of that massive VC pie.

💡Recommended read: The Role of VC Platforms in the Current Startup Ecosystem

Here are five actionable tips to help you launch a successful career as a head of platform in VC:

Tip 01) Understand the VC Landscape

Before diving headfirst into the world of VC, take the time to understand the landscape. In this new role, you will be expected to grasp complex strategy issues, as well as implement on nuanced plans. Familiarize yourself with different VC firms, their investment thesis, portfolio companies, and the industries they specialize in.

Research industry trends, funding dynamics, and emerging technologies. Spend time pouring into the resources offered by reputable companies like PitchBook, Crunchbase, and CB Insights to gain valuable insights and data to help you stay informed.

Tip 02) Build Relevant Skill Set

While you may not need to be a seasoned investor, a robust skill set is crucial for success as a head of platform. After all, working in the management team requires you to possess strategic thinking capabilities, strong business acumen, and the ability to have a platform vision that can profitably increase post-investment support both for founders and investors.

Develop expertise in community building, ecosystem development, marketing, and operations. Familiarize yourself with startup culture, challenges, and best practices. Consider acquiring certifications or attending workshops to enhance your skills and credentials.

Tip 03) Network Effectively

Networking is vital to breaking into the VC industry. Networking is also one of the skills you will need in the platform role so you can connect founders with the contacts they need to accelerate their success.

Start attending industry events, conferences, and meetups to connect with investors, founders, and other professionals in the ecosystem. Grow your network and start establishing a reputation that people can easily resonate with.

Leverage platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to engage with thought leaders and build your personal brand. To expand your network further, consider joining relevant organizations or communities such as the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) or the VC Platform Global Community. You can also request to be a special guest at our next Proven Summit. We hold these events a few times a year exclusively for platform leaders to connect, share and inspire each other.

Tip 04) Gain Hands-On Experience

To stand out in the competitive VC landscape and gain hands-on experience by working with startups or in related roles such as accelerators, incubators, or corporate innovation teams.

Seek out internships, fellowships, or apprenticeships at VC firms or startup organizations to gain firsthand exposure to the industry's dynamics. Demonstrating tangible results and contributions will strengthen your candidacy for head of platform roles.

Tip 05) Stay Curious and Adaptive

The VC industry constantly evolves, and successful professionals must stay ahead of the curve. Cultivate a mindset of continuous learning and adaptation.

Stay curious about emerging technologies, market trends, and innovative business models. Seek mentors or advisors who can provide guidance and insights based on their experiences in the industry.


While post-investment support and platforms are relatively new services, the promise they hold for both the investors and founders is as old as the industry itself - it is about rapidly growing, highly successful startups that make an impact in the world.

Your direct participation makes the journey to success a lot more plausible for firms operating in today's marketplace, where digital collaboration tools and an overall technology strategy are essential for success. The technology stacks that startups use could make or break that rapid rise to stardom, and more often than not, the race is won before it's begun based on how much leverage the platform leader can offer his or her portcos.

If your strategy, tools, platform, and the relationships you forge with both internal and external stakeholders are solid, your career is guaranteed to be a thrilling experience—perhaps the adventure of a lifetime!

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