Platform

Skill Up, Scale Up.

At CV, “Platform” means partnering with the companies in our portfolio to help them skill up and scale up more quickly and more efficiently.

In 2014, we started building our Platform function not because it was the current trend in venture, or as a marketing ploy, but because operating is embedded in our DNA.

VCs talk a lot about “adding value” – but what does that mean? We define it simply, take it seriously, and deliver where we say we will. We listen to our portfolio companies – our customers – and ask:

> How can we best partner with the companies we invest in to help them more efficiently scale up, especially for the ~18 months between a Seed and Series A Round?

> Where should we be rolling up our sleeves, where can we help guide, and when should we stay away?

For us, Platform isn’t a static formula: it’s a relationship-driven, bespoke, ongoing engagement that everyone at every portfolio company has access to. While needs can vary across companies, these four areas are where we spend the most time:

Talent: Build Your Team

We build and maintain relationships with the best current and potential startup employees of all levels and help plug them into our portfolio companies. We focus on quality over quantity: we’ve directly helped portfolio companies hire dozens of candidates and have made vetted introductions to hundreds. Comp data, board candidates, management trainings: we’ve probably seen it before, and have got it covered.

Community: Skill Up

We believe in the strength of community, in the power of peer-to-peer learning, and the importance of access to experts. Outside of CEOs and founders, we’ve built communities across our portfolio company teams, including people ops, sales, marketing, product, tech, and operations. We regularly bring these groups together to network and learn from each other, and produce cross-functional opportunities for portfolio companies to tap into, including manager and diversity and inclusion trainings.

Customers: Identify + Connect

We think big companies can be tough to navigate, too. We’ve spent years building relationships with corporates to help portfolio companies connect to the right champions through targeted introductions. No innovation theater here – we proactively build on these relationships to understand how potential customers and acquirers are shifting the way they partner with startups.

Communications: Tell Your Story

Storytelling is an art, but there can be some science behind it. We work with portfolio companies on marketing and public relations to massage messaging, and know how to work with press to make those stories public.


Want to hear more?

To learn more about the Chicago Ventures Platform, reach out to Lindsay Knight: lindsay [at] chicagoventures.com.