What is a “Venture Studio”?
As a Venture Studio, Platform creates and builds startups by partnering with
We bring our studio team, fund, methodology, and network to bear to significantly increase the chances of
success, and decrease the time to get there. We aim to be the best co-founder you could ever hope to have.
For more information on the Venture Studio model, we recommend the
Rise of Startup Studios White Paper from the Global Startup Studio Network (GSSN).
Are you a venture fund?
Yes and no. We have a venture fund but, unlike a traditional venture fund, the
Platform fund is primarily used to build new startups rather than invest in existing startups.
We are able to work with existing startups but only if they are early in their journey, and have not yet
raised any money in a priced round.
What is a Founder-in-Residence?
A Founder-in-Residence (or "FIR") is an entrepreneur we partner with to
solve an unmet need.
Sometimes, we will begin a partnership with a FIR to develop an idea that is still in its infancy. Other
times, we will partner with an FIR who already has a concrete idea of what they want to create.
What is a Founder Associate?
Our Founder Associates assist our FIRs with building their companies. A Founder
Associate is a quintessential generalist and gets to witness firsthand how a founder creates a company from
scratch. For someone who aspires to be a Founder themselves one day, we believe there is no better, hands-on
experience than being a Founder Associate.
Are Platform Founders-in-Residence paid?
Yes; we do offer income to Founders-in-Residence. This is important because we
believe that the inability to work without income is often a big part of what prevents some founders -
particularly those from underrepresented groups - from starting the entrepreneurship journey. However, equity
is of course always the primary reward for being a startup founder.
Can I pitch my idea to you?
Yes, absolutely! Please first sign up to Platform and
post it as an Unmet Need, and then tell us about your proposed Solution.
What do you look for in a Founder?
There are many qualities that we evaluate but it is best summarized as Smarts,
Goodness, Grit, and Fit.
How do I become a Founder-in-Residence?
Sign up to Platform and check the box to indicate that
you are interested in being a Founder-in-Residence. You will receive an email explaining next steps.
I already have a startup; can it be part of Platform?
We often meet founders early in their journey who have passion for an unmet need
aligned with our themes, and perhaps have a prototype or an early product live. They may have already raised
some money from friends-and-family, using SAFE notes.
However, since our model is to build with you as your co-founder, if you’ve already raised money in a priced
round (e.g. from a traditional venture fund), it’s too late for Platform.
Why should a Founder work with Platform vs raising money from a traditional
We are the best co-founder you could have! Like a individual co-founder, we will
build with you; blood, sweat, and tears. However, unlike an individual co-founder:
- we draw no salary from your startup
- we pay startup expenses out of our own pocket
- we can lend your startup money, as needed
- rather than one person, you get the full Plaform Studio team, with a breadth and depth of experience you
would never get in one individual
- we'll match you to an experienced coach
- we'll match you to a Founder Associate
- we have a network of over 60,000 subject-matter experts and investors who can help you with any problem
you may hit, and fund the ongoing growth of your startup
Data shows that, on average, you are more likely to raise an A-round and will get there more quickly working
with a Venture Studio vs raising a traditional venture capital round (see
What is an "Unmet Need"?
An Unmet Need is a big hairy problem that the Platform Guild has identified and
which fits into one or more of our core themes. To be clear: an unmet need doesn’t have a good solution yet;
that’s why it’s "unmet". We’re calling out a gap in the market that Platform might be in a good position to
fill. Once we are clear on the unmet need, it's time to propose solutions, which may be existing solutions or
ideas for new products and services.
How does a startup get built by Platform?
We start by sourcing unmet needs from the Guild. We meet weekly to discuss
possible solutions to these unmet needs. Each unmet need/solution pair is scored on a number of attributes,
including whether we think it is a good fit for our studio, whether it aligns with our overall mission and
themes, and if it excites us (subjective but arguably one of the most important measurements).
From there, we have a four stage process to build a company. At each stage, we evaluate what the market
response has been, and whether we think the company has proven what it needs to make it to the following
The final stage of the Platform process is to help the founders raise their seed round of funding and
graduate from Platform Venture Studio.
What is "PlatformOS"?
PlatformOS is our proprietary software for running Platform. We think of it as
"Github for Building Startups". It lets a wide group of people work together to discuss themes and trends,
source unmet needs, and collaboratively build startups together.
This article provides more background:
the Future of Venture be Like Github?
Why are you showing everything on your website?
In short, we think "stealth mode" is BS. Any advantages to stealth mode are
massively overriden by the benefits of getting early feedback and leveraging the wisdom of the crowd. For
every startup that is successful after being in stealth mode, there are ten that come out of stealth mode only
to discover that they've built something that no one wants.
How can I participate if I don’t want to found a company?
There are many other roles you can take:
- As an investor - you’ll hear first when Platform companies are starting to fundraise. (Note: you have to
be an accredited investor in our network to invest.)
- As a subject-matter expert - we address unmet needs in a variety of different industries. This necessarily
means that we won’t be experts in each of those industries. That’s where the Platform Guild comes in: we
frequently post "help requests" for industry experts to help us research and better understand certain areas
of interest in exchange for advisor equity in those companies.
- As a coach - quite simply, being a founder is hard. Our founders need guidance, and we are lucky enough to
have many Guild members willing to coach those founders through the company-building process.
- As a Founder Associate - see the FAQ answer above.
- As a commenter/curious person - Platform is “choose-your-own-adventure”. You can serve in any of the roles
above, or you can simply read and comment on different discussions being had. Just jump in and join the
discussion on unmet needs, themes, and companies you are interested in.
What are "Option Points"?
We want everyone who helps build a startup to have "skin in the game". When a
Platform Guild member provides help to a Platform startup - e.g. by picking up a Help Request - we award the
Guild member with Option Points in that startup.
Why are they "points" rather than simply advisor stock options? At the point time when the help is given, the
startup in question may not yet have been spun out as a separate legal entity. This is part of what keeps
Platform's studio model simple and capital efficient; we only create separate legal entities when a startup
reaches a certain stage of development. When a company is spun out, we will convert any outstanding Option
Points to actual advisor stock options.
This article provides more context:
The Truth About
How do I turn a conversation into a company?
So, you’re having a really interesting conversation with someone on the Platform
feed, and you want to see that turn into something bigger. There are a few ways we suggest getting
First, reply and see if they’d like to have a meeting about the topic. As much as doing work asynchronously
can be helpful, there is nothing quite like discussing an idea with someone live. Many Platform Guild members
share their scheduling link on their Platform profiles.
Second, join one of our monthly Unmet Need review sessions. These are great opportunities for Platform Guild
members to pitch their ideas and get feedback. If you’re interested in staying involved either as an advisor
or maybe a Founder, let one of us know and we’ll make sure to keep you in the loop throughout.