Hiring A Head Of Platform For Your VC Or PE Firm? Here's What To Look For In Your Next Candidate.

A successful VC or private equity firm needs a mix of perspectives and abilities to prosper. The head of platform should be no different. While the head of platform needs to have an intimate understanding of the industry, it is equally essential for them to be able to bring new and fresh perspectives to the table, especially when it comes to partnerships with outside firms. 
Aug 11, 2022
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The role of a head of platform is to be the central point of contact and coordination for portfolio companies and connecting them to the outside world. They help negotiate contracts, connect talent and recruiters, and may help to deliver new sales contacts for portfolio companies. As such, the head of platform must have a strong understanding of the venture capital (or private equity) landscape and all the outside factors that influences that. 

There are a lot of outside companies that are constantly trying to connect/partner/sell to your portfolio and the head of platform has to act as a gatekeeper to prevent some companies connecting ,and to ensure that the right connections are made between portfolio companies and vendors, suppliers, partners. The head of platform must be smart enough to figure out who can be a great partner, and who needs to be ignored.

But as their role is much more complex, more is required. They should also be able to articulate a clear vision for the firm's platform and be able to execute that vision. In addition, they should have a strong network of relationships with key stakeholders in the industry.

The head of platform also needs to be highly organized, detail-oriented, and have excellent communication skills.

A successful VC or private equity firm needs a mix of perspectives and abilities to prosper. The head of platform should be no different. While the head of platform needs to have an intimate understanding of the industry, it is equally essential for them to be able to bring new and fresh perspectives to the table, especially when it comes to partnerships with outside firms. 

If you are hiring a head of platform for your firm, here are some things to keep in mind.

A platform head should be a generalist, not a specialist.

A good head of platform should be a generalist, not a specialist. Here's why: Specialists focus on a narrow range of skills and knowledge. They get good at those things, but they sacrifice breadth for depth. 

Generalists, on the other hand, have a more well-rounded skillset. They're not as deep in any area, but they better understand how different pieces fit together. That's important for the head of platform because they need to see the big picture and understand how all the moving parts work together. VC and PE firms need to focus on extending runways, helping portfolio companies to connect with buyers, and more. Each industry has unique challenges and opportunities, and a generalist can identify them and find ways to utilize them to benefit the founders and investors.

The head of platform must also be able to effectively communicate with people from various disciplines, both within and outside the firm. Specialist heads of platform may be experts in their field, but they're not always the best choice for firms that need someone who can wear many different hats.


A platform head should have a strong network.

As a venture capitalist or private equity professional, you know that having a solid network is essential to success when it comes to finding new deals. But this role also extends to a Head of Platform.

After all, your ability to reach the right people and get deals done depends on it. But the same is true for the head of platform at your firm. To be successful, the head of platform also needs to have a strong network of buyers, partners and vendors. 

There are several reasons for this:

  1. A strong network gives the head of platform access to potential partners and customers.
  2. It provides them with invaluable insights into industry trends.
  3. It gives them the ability to build relationships with key decision-makers.

As a result, having a head of platform with a strong network is essential for any VC or PE firm that wants to be successful.

A platform head should be able to think strategically.

It is crucial to think strategically as the head of a platform for a VC or PE firm. This means identifying opportunities and threats and then developing plans to take advantage of opportunities and mitigate risks. Depending on the theme of your firm, the platform expert should know, for rexample, which vendors are good at building software that enhances that theme for your portfolio companies. 

A successful platform head will have a deep understanding of the industries in which their portfolio companies operate and will be able to spot trends and develop a clear vision for the future of the firm's portfolio future sales. 

They will also be able to effectively and clearly communicate this vision to the firm's partners and investee companies. In addition, the platform head should be able to build strong relationships with key stakeholders, including CEOs, CFOs, and other executives. By thinking strategically, the head of platform can position the firm for success and drive value for its portfolio companies.

A platform head should be able to execute quickly and efficiently.

The head of platform for a VC or PE firm should be able to execute quickly and efficiently for several reasons:

  1. When it comes to buying decisions, time is of the essence. The faster the head of platform can move, the sooner the firm can get involved in promising opportunities.
  2. Efficiency is critical to maximizing returns, but also to help portfolio companies to be efficient with money.  The head of platform needs to be able to quickly assess an opportunity and make a decision about whether it is worth pursuing.
  3. Efficient execution also allows the firm to maintain a high level of flexibility.

By rapidly responding to new opportunities, the firm can adapt its strategy as market conditions change. As a result, efficient execution by the head of platform is essential for a VC or PE firm to be successful.

A platform head should be a good communicator.

Investors in venture capital and private equity firms are looking for strong leaders who can provide both strategic vision and operational expertise. The head of platform for a VC or PE firm must clearly articulate the firm's investment thesis and value creation plan to internal and external audiences. What this means in reality is getting the word out about great companies in the network, who can sell to outside parties. 

They must also be skilled at cultivating relationships with key stakeholders, including portfolio companies, limited partners, service providers, and the media. In addition, the head of platform must be able to navigate complex situations and efficiently manage multiple priorities. Effective communication, therefore, is critical to success in this role.

An effective platform entails more than providing on-demand assistance with marketing or fundraising. It involves creating a welcoming environment to assist founders in growing their businesses and being strategic.

Therefore, finding the right platform head for any VC or PE firm is essential. The perfect candidate will bring a unique combination of industry and functional knowledge, strategic thinking, and operational excellence. They will also have a proven track record in executing complex business initiatives and a deep understanding of the venture ecosystem. 

Above all, the ideal match will have a passion for working with startups and a commitment to helping them scale. With the right head of platform in place, VC and PE firms can unlock new opportunities for expansion and drive value for their portfolio companies.

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