I was hired as a “Head of Platform’’ at Samaipata, but I prefer to think of myself as a Product Manager. Why? Because building a VC Platform is, in essence, building a Product for a VC.
A product is often said to be at the intersection of business needs, UX and engineering. In the case of a VC Platform, we are at the intersection of boosting fund returns (the Business) by building value-adding solutions for our founders (the UX) while finding scalable ways of doing it (the Stack/Engineering). Yes, Platform owners are Product builders.
As with most Products, our Platform has a product roadmap with different sub-products targeted at a variety of users with specific features. We can’t wait to share our full product-platform strategy with you in a future post! For now, we’d love to share the product we’re building for our portfolio founders: The Hive.
What is The Hive?
The Hive is Samaipata’s portfolio-support platform. We envision a platform where our portfolio founders and their teams find the right support and resources in order to make better and faster business decisions, saving them time, money and minimising potential mistakes (or worse, future regrets!). The four focus areas of The Hive are:
- Support 24/7 with fundraising for our portfolio founders;
- Helping to attract and hire top talent for portfolio companies;
- Getting portfolio operations and product ready to scale;
- Supporting our founders’ self-development and mental health.
And how will this happen? With five product-features:
- The Operating Partners
- The Academy
- The Partnerships
- The Community
- The Network
Let me deep dive on each of them:
1. Operating Partners 👷
Operating Partners are our network of field experts that directly support Samaipata portfolio founders and their teams (free of cost and fully confidential, of course).
We are building a marketplace of Operating Partners that open their schedule to work on-demand with our portfolio companies. They cover a wide range of functions, including but not limited to engineering, product development, data analytics/science, B2B sales, talent and recruiting, finance and reporting, inbound marketing, paid marketing, PR, fundraising… as well a wide wide variety of industries (FinTech, Blockchain-Crypto, Enterprise SaaS, Consumer brands, Transportation, Logistics, etc).
An Operating Partner at Samaipata is a hands-on professional who acts as a function-specific mentor for founders or their teams, leveraging on her/his years of experience in the industry scaling startups and tech companies.
How do they support? A few examples:
- Coaching on specific one-off topics (eg. how to set up a Data warehouse and ETL/ELT processes)
- Advising on complex/long-term impact decisions (eg. how to manage the technical debt)
- Helping to design processes or project implementation (eg. how to design processes for B2B Sales team)
- Check-in the progress made and advising on next steps / iterations
Moreover, our portfolio teams are in full control of the kind of relationship they want to build with the Operating Partners: it could just be just for an hour conversation from time to time, a bi-weekly recurrent catch-up with a few of them, or a fully-fledged project with regular working sessions. Founders and their teams decide how it best suits them.
2. The Academy 📚
We believe in quality-curated content as an effective learning tool for founders and their teams. That’s why we have started to build our founder academy in-house, providing on a recurring basis:
- Curated content: access to curated and organised tier-1 content for early stage founders, delivered in your inbox and accessible in a platform;
- Short courses: theme specific courses for our portfolio founders. We want to help our founders develop as leaders, so they can hire better, communicate better with teams and unlock growth!
- Private events and talks: events with selected speakers with relevant experience on challenges our founders might be going through.
In brief, we build relevant knowledge in-house for our early stage portfolio.
3. The Partnerships 🤝
Luckily, investors/VCs have exposure to a great network of companies and products, and we want to put that exposure to work for the benefit of our portfolio companies. We believe we can save time and money for all portfolio companies by:
- Curating providers: filtering out the best providers per function and/or per geography and providing access to portfolio companies. They will save dozens of hours of search and minimise the risk of choosing the wrong provider.
- Negotiating preferential terms: we also negotiate terms on behalf of our portfolio, again saving thousands of euros/dollars in case of using a specific provider.
Our marketplace of partnerships keeps growing on a daily basis. We envision a marketplace where our portfolio companies will be able to benefit from almost all contracts they sign with external providers/freelancers.
4. The Community 🚌
The flame of a community sparks and keeps burning when you are able to connect people who share a common interest, experience or challenges via events, talks, slack community, founder summits…
That’s what we envision at Samaipata: a community of founders and c-levels from our portfolio companies who share, connect and support each other. And above all, a community where they can build meaningful relationships.
5. The Network 🥅
As a VC we get to connect with hundreds of people, companies and institutions across geographies. And we want to put our network at the service of our portfolio companies. Whether it is talent, investors or specific partnerships our portfolio companies are looking for, they can submit their needs and we activate our search to help them by recruiting, fundraising or closing a partnership.
We want The Hive to be the support platform that every founder would have dreamed of when they started their journey. While we will not be the ones to execute founders’ vision, we will strive to help them save time and money, make thoughtful decisions and minimise future regrets. The Hive is our product for portfolio founders. And we are a product-minded VC.
At Samaipata, we are always looking for ways to improve. Do not hesitate to send us your thoughts. We strive to partner with early-stage founders and to support them in taking their business to the next level. Check out more ways in which we can help here or for all our other content here
And as always, if you’re a European digital business founder looking for Seed funding, please send us your deck here or subscribe to our Quarterly updates here.