A Startup Studio (also referred to as a Venture Builder) is an organization that builds startups.
Unlike accelerators, Studios don’t run “programs” with cohorts and timelines (a typical accelerator runs for a 3-month period with a cohort of ~50 culminating in a demo day).
The difference between an incubator and a Studio is the hands-on work that Studio teams put into ventures rather than just providing startup capital and other more tangible assets.
Essentially, a Studio acts as an investing co-founder to your startup.
The Studio team will help you from day 1 all the way up through raising your seed round of funding. Besides investment, Studios provide human capital, expansive networks, and resources like technology and proven methodology that make building startup ventures easier and faster.
Through my work with Startup Studios, I often have exploratory calls with emerging Studio founders. On these calls, I help entrepreneurs get organized and answer questions about how to build and launch a Studio. The following is a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding Startup Studios.
1. What does a Startup Studio need to have before going out for investment?
Fundraising for a Startup Studio is different than fundraising for a startup venture. With a venture, there is typically a product or service that can be shown to investors and early traction that helps sell that product.
With a Startup Studio, this is not the case.
Studios create startups and as such, startup ventures are like the products. But these “products” take time and money to develop and as such, Studios typically need funding before they can get off the ground. The typical Studio won’t have any “startup products” to show investors when they’re going out for their first round of funding. What they do need to have is a great team, a well-defined startup validation process, and a collection of resources and partners that are uniquely positioned to help their specific Studio succeed.