When it comes to building a successful startup, not all roles are necessary for the early stage. Some positions—like developer or marketer—are fairly straightforward and a requirement. Others, such as chief revenue officer or head of people, are less common but will be important for growing and scaling a startup.
In the early stages of a company’s development, it is critical that every new team member possess a uniquely valuable skill set. With that in mind, there’s one role that stands out above the rest, even if you don’t think so from the get-go. That role is one that we’ve coined as the ‘Venture Architect’.
But what exactly does a venture architect do and how can they support with building and scaling a startup?
In this article, we’ll take a close look at the most fluidly defined, yet challenging role of the Venture Architect and see why among all of the puzzle pieces of the venture building model, this is perhaps the most crucial one.
Related Read: Why we Launched Venture Builders in MENA
What is a Venture Architect?
A venture architect is someone who focuses on the bigger picture for your startup. As the name suggests, this position is all about the architecture of the company—or how the different parts of your business interrelate and affect one another.
As such, venture architects are often responsible for mapping out the short and long-term strategy for your company.
They also help to investigate new technology and business models that your company can leverage to drive growth. This includes everything from partnering with other companies (and figuring out how they can help you) to researching new technologies that could disrupt your industry.
Venture architects are responsible for finding growth opportunities, mapping out strategic partnerships, and understanding your market so that you can stay ahead of the curve.
In other words, a venture architect is a person you want on your team when you’re trying to figure out how to get your business off the ground. They’re responsible for understanding your marketplace, your customers, and how all those pieces fit together.
Is a Venture Architect similar to a Business Consultant?
A venture architect isn’t the same as a business consultant. The title “architect” implies that the person has a design in mind for your company, which doesn’t correspond to being a business consultant.
A business consultant typically works with you to find a solution for a specific problem. Maybe you’re having trouble growing your online sales or you need help getting your finances in order.
Business consultants can help you find a solution to your specific problem, but they don’t necessarily have a broader view of your company.
A venture architect, on the other hand, looks at your business holistically to determine what works and what needs to be improved. There’s more of an architectural mind in their work, whereas a business consultant might just help you fix a problem in a specific area of your company.
A Typical Day in the Life of a Venture Architect
To get a better idea of what a venture architect does daily, we interviewed three venture architects from the Modus team to find out how their workdays stack up.
“The day normally starts with reviewing and updating tasks to be done and tracking the venture’s progress towards agreed milestones. I will also prepare strategic tasks such as market sizing, competitive analysis, financial models, business model optimization, pricing strategy, and SU’s pitch deck. From there, I align with team members and founders regularly to provide directional support where necessary.” – Awad
“Usually it is ensuring six teams are in alignment on the deliverables from the previous week, as well as on our KPIs and deadlines as a whole team. I handle both the alignment calls and the founder calls internally. I am also involved in the decision-making process, where we discuss our findings and choose the best route forward.” – Michel
“Although this varies from venture to venture and also at what stage the venture is, a typical day would include aligning with different teams, be it design, marketing, product or engineering. A founder/stakeholder alignment meeting, dedicated time looking at KPIs, financial modeling, and then some collaborative strategy work focusing on the short to medium term vision.” – Feras
Related Read: Financial Modeling for Startups
Why Is Having a Venture Architect Critical?
The work of a venture architect spans a wide range of disciplines. Having a dedicated individual on your team who acts as your co-founder or a trusted advisor; someone that consistently works to improve the business design, efficiency, and responsiveness can make all the difference.
After all, when you’re knee-deep in daily operations, it can be hard to step back and see how everything fits together holistically.
A venture architect can help you identify gaps in your business. They can also help you prioritize which problems to solve first. This can be especially helpful when you’re expanding into new markets with different challenges.
A great architect can also help you evaluate strategic partnerships and identify the right ones for your business. Partnerships that open up new markets, offer valuable tech support and provide other benefits that can help your company scale and succeed.
If you’re looking to take your business to new heights, you need the right person on your team – someone who has ‘been there, done that’ or has the entrepreneurial mindset.
Architects help identify new markets and opportunities while also helping you avoid any potential pitfalls. Luckily, our venture builders consist of trained experts who help founders through the arduous process of building and supporting their startups.