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Life as a (Senior) Venture Architect at WhatAVenture

Ever wanted to develop and validate a new business model? How about creating a go2market concept? A career as a venture architect might be for you!

WhatAVenture team during a workshop.

If you work in the world of innovation, you've probably come across, or at least heard of, someone with the job title 'venture architect' before. Sounds cool, right, but do you know what they actually do? In this blog post, we've spoken to our colleagues at WhatAVenture to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of our senior venture architects.

How is a venture architect different than a coach?

As a corporate venture builder, we have multiple venture architects on the team here at WhatAVenture. They are a key player in any venture building project and are responsible for managing a new venture's journey from the early stages all the way through to launch. They are a fundamental part of any new venture's founding team, executing tasks, setting the pace, and acting as a role model for others. It is important to distinguish them from a team coach. A coach gives a team guidance and advice to help them work to the best of their abilities. Think of it like this; a venture architect is an executor, and a coach is an enabler.

What does a normal week look like for a venture architect? Spoiler: there is no 'normal'

So, what exactly are venture architects executing on? Let's hear from the team. Felix, Senior Venture Architect, remarks, 'Every week is different! Not only do the projects change frequently, but the focus of each one does. For example, you may be in the ideation phase on one project while simultaneously getting your hands dirty setting up company operations on another.' This is true for Petra, Senior Growth Architect & Head of Venture Marketing too. 'There is no day alike. One day I might be at one of our portfolio ventures, GLEAM, driving their marketing strategy forward, and the next, I'm working with a team from Miele, guiding them in the venture building process, leading their online validation strategy and getting the first insights from the market.'

What makes a venture architect successful?

Managing such a variety of projects comes with important learnings. Max, CEO and Managing Director, advises, 'There's always a different context, a different team, and different topic to play with. It's a trap to think that you can follow a step-by-step approach every time.' Instead, 'you have to define the steps for each case, again and again, going through multiple iterations before landing on the right approach or solution.' As Petra explains, this iteration is vital because 'it helps you keep up with the ever-changing market and adapt to new insights along the way.'

Another key learning from the team when working as a venture architect is the need for communication and alignment. Venture Architect, David points out that 'not every recipient will understand your message the way you intended'; this is especially true at the fuzzy end of defining the problem. To combat this, clear and constant communication, as well as documentation, is vital. Petra adds, 'You also need a solid understanding of the business metrics and critical hypotheses that underpin your strategies. When everyone on the team is aligned, you can work together towards a common goal and achieve amazing results.'

What does it take to become a venture architect?

As you've read, working as a venture architect is equally rewarding and challenging. To be successful, there are three things you need when stepping into the role:

1. Entrepreneurial mindset and business know-how

Understanding the venture building process and having a solid foundation in business strategy is essential. Even better if this has been learned through on-the-ground experiences working on multiple projects and startups, having this will help you draw conclusions faster and easier and do the right thing.

2. Stakeholder management skills

Strong leadership and communication skills are a must, as you'll be working closely with clients, team members, and other stakeholders to bring ventures to life.

3. A curious, can-do attitude  

Welcoming the unknown and having a relentless drive to create new businesses should be part of your DNA. You don't get easily deterred and approach challenges in a positive solution-orientated manner.

Does the above sound like you? Are you ready for a career as a venture architect? Our team has some advice to help you succeed:

'Take every opportunity to gain new experiences and learn from exposure to different businesses.' – Max
'Stay curious: ask questions and always keep learning.' – David
'Dare to take ownership from day one, as this will ensure your maximum growth.' –Petra    

If venture architect is a role you see yourself thriving in, or perhaps you're already working as one and ready for the next step, we'd love to have you on our team. Check out our open positions for senior venture architects now.

Or perhaps you're working on your own corporate venture building project and need a venture architect on your team? Get in touch with us.  

Daisy Ireton
Daisy Ireton
Senior Innovation Manager

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