Erin Platts appointed as Octopus Ventures CEO

Octopus Ventures has announced the appointment of Erin Platts as its new CEO. Erin will take on her new role in January 2025, following a distinguished 20-year career at the intersection of finance and the technology startup ecosystem.

Her mandate will be to enhance and expand Octopus Ventures' pan-European venture capital platform.

Erin brings nearly two decades of experience from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), where she most recently served as CEO of the UK & EMEA division. At SVB, she scaled the business to over 800 employees, establishing it as the preferred bank for technology startups, scale-ups, and their investors. After HSBC acquired SVB UK in 2023, Erin transitioned to CEO of HSBC Innovation Banking UK, where she led the bank’s activities within the innovation community.

In her new position at Octopus Ventures, Erin will focus on refining and expanding the equity capital business, increasing the support for startups across the UK and Europe, and extending into adjacent capital provision areas. She will join the Octopus Executive Committee and report to Stuart Quickenden, Executive Chair. Alliott Cole, the current CEO of Octopus Ventures, will return to a full-time investment role, collaborating closely with key partners to continue supporting high-performing businesses within the portfolio from startup through to later growth stages.

Erin Platts said: “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. 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.

“This role offers a phenomenal opportunity to build on Octopus Ventures’ excellent reputation and track record. It provides an exciting path to funding world-class companies at every stage of their journey, from the first cheque they receive, through scaleup capital, and ultimately to exit and beyond.”

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.”

Platts added: “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.”

Octopus Ventures has been an active investor across the UK and European startup ecosystem since 2008. It manages £2 billion 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.