Octopus Ventures has appointed Erin Platts as its new CEO.

Platts spent close to two decades at Silicon Valley Bank, the banking partner for technology startups and scaleups, latterly as CEO of the UK & EMEA as it scaled to 800 people.

Following HSBC’s acquisition of SVB UK in 2023 in a £1 rescue deal, she became the CEO of HSBC Innovation Banking UK, leading and developing the bank’s business within the innovation community.

Platts will join Octopus Ventures – part of Octopus Group and one of the largest and most active venture capital investors in the UK and Europe – in January 2025.

She will be tasked with refining and enhancing the equity capital business, increasing the pool of startups it supports across the UK and Europe and broadening its remit into adjacent capital provision. 

Alliott Cole, the current CEO of Octopus Ventures, will return to a full-time investment role.

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“After 20 years at Innovation Banking, with the bank in a strong position and with an experienced and stellar leadership team in place, I thought carefully about my next challenge,” said Platts.

“As someone who’s supported and championed the UK and European technology ecosystem, I’ve worked for many years alongside Octopus Ventures, as one of the most active early-stage investors in the same ecosystem. 

“I have always been a big fan and feel a clear alignment on values, so I am thrilled that I’ll still be supporting technology entrepreneurs and founders to achieve their goals.

“The UK and Europe are brimming with the ingredients to be the most successful launchpad for category-leading companies, from leading universities to early-stage innovation and a plethora of talent. 

“We need to continue to amplify and support those characteristics to mature and grow as an ecosystem, and I’m incredibly bullish about our prospects for success. I am looking forward to flocking in domestic and international capital and being a catalyst for positive, meaningful change.”

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Octopus Ventures manages £2 billion in assets and backs more than 180 businesses through venture capital trusts as well as institutional and wholesale funds. 

Some of its notable successes include backing Zoopla, Secret Escapes, Depop, Swiftkey and Graze. The current portfolio includes the likes of Elvie, HURR, Orbex, ManyPets and Skin+Me.

Simon Rogerson, Octopus Group co-founder and CEO, said: “We believe entrepreneurs and founders have the power to solve the world’s greatest challenges, acting as society’s true agents of change. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we understand what it takes to turn an idea into a successful company capable of changing our world for the better. 

“You need strong teams, capital at every life stage and people in your corner who will champion your vision. Erin has been that champion for decades and I couldn’t think of a person better equipped than her to lead our venture capital business into its next phase of growth. Her ability to scale a business is remarkable. Her verve and optimism for the founder community is contagious and we can’t wait to have her on board in the new year.”

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