In 2011, Peter Reinhardt and his co-founder Ian Storm dropped out of school to join Y-Combinator with their idea for a classroom lecture tool. They built the product, raised a little funding from YC Demo Day, and deployed the tool in Universities in Boston. In Peter’s words, “it was a total disaster”.

In short, they built a product that nobody wanted or needed. This, according to many sophisticated data sources along with common sense knowledge, is the number one reason why most startups fail- and theirs did.

The co-founders had to come up with a new idea, quickly and Ian…


Spoiler Alert: it’s exits

Graphic curtesy of Fiera Studio

First, let’s define what a startup studio is so we’re all on the same page.

A startup studio is a company that builds startups in rapid succession.

Studios often have many ideas in the works at the same time because, at the end of the “incubation period”, only a handful will survive. For example, a Studio might consider 50 different ideas, choose 40 to test, end up with 20 validated, create 10 of those- of which 5 will get traction- and 2 will “spinout”.

Studios are expert executioners and have pre-defined criteria (called stage-gates) that influence “kill or keep” decisions…


(SEC amends Regulation Crowdfunding rules- effective as of March 15, 2021)

If you want to simply read about the amendment to the SEC Regulation Crowdfunding rules, see the SEC Compliance Guide here.

In 1929 there was a huge stock market crash in the United States.

In the years leading up to the crash, the stock market was booming and many people were investing huge sums of money into businesses of all kinds- including startups. At the time, there were no regulations around who could invest, how much they could invest, or what companies had to do to prove they were legitimate to invest in.

Millions of people invested their life's savings…


The real reason you’re leaving things unfinished and how to stop the cycle.

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Entrepreneurs have more ideas in a single day than most people have in their entire life. Not to say that most people don’t have ideas, just to say that entrepreneurs are always on the hunt and because they’re always looking for ideas, they’re constantly discovering new ones.

New ideas are shiny, exciting, burdens.

As most innovators can attest to, when inspiration strikes and a new idea is born, it’s a bittersweet feeling.

On the one hand, a new idea is fun! The possibilities are limitless and potential is just waiting to be captured.

On the other hand, a new idea…


On-demand digital convenience meets purposeful niching.

Nearly overnight, the entire world was forced to adopt “digital” as the new normal. One day we were out wandering the aisles of our local grocer and the next we were locked down at home jockeying for delivery slots on Instacart.

This rapid shift marked the end of an era for traditional retail and catapulted e-commerce into the mainstream- even for those who had never shopped online before. In 2021, the e-commerce train continues to pick up speed but through the chaos, an opportunity has emerged for a new type of online brand to thrive. …


The classic scene is set.

A brilliant innovator has an idea that’s positioned to change the world as we know it. He’s tired of being overlooked and underappreciated. In a fit of emotion-driven determination, he storms into his manager's office, quits remorselessly, and dashes off to build a billion dollar startup.

In the movie version, there’s theme music and a mantra of scenes depicting our hero pulling all-nighters, shooting crumpled paper into a wastebasket, and pounding coffee like it’s water.

After several setbacks, he manages to land a huge account, and *climax* his software saves the day. …


A guide and script to use when talking to potential customers.

Entrepreneurs love solutions. Without ever being asked to, we invest our time, money, and energy into building products that solve problems.

Experimenting is what we do and, for the most part, we’re pretty damn good at it. But, a huge part of experimenting is in testing, and a huge part of testing is in getting feedback- and that is where it falls apart for most of us.

We know that the startup failure rate is extremely high and, more often than not, this is because entrepreneurs build things without first validating that people want that solution or even have a…


Building a Startup Studio is hard.

The business model is complex, the core team is at odds, securing investment is a challenge, deal flow is elusive, and new Studios have no domain authority making it feel impossible to “get the word out”.

I have been involved in the Startup Studio ecosystem since 2018.

It all began with a blog I started purely out of curiosity. From there a community of Startup Studio pioneers was formed. Through relationship building (the Startup Studio ecosystem is smaller than you think- everyone seems to know of everyone!) I connected with a Studio called Untapped…


The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail

According to research conducted by CB Insights on 101 startup postmortems, the #1 reason new startups fail is because there is no market need for the product/ service on offer.

This problem is so prevalent across the startup scene that the infamous tech accelerator Y-Combinator adopted “make something people want” as their slogan.


This is a quick update on why I’ve been quiet these last 6 months and what I’m up to now!

Whew! What a year.

First, I want to thank everyone who has reached out and asked if I’m okay. Believe it or not, those messages really made me feel loved. Even if we’re just internet friends, I consider you all a part of my ecosystem. You all are the reason I write, produce videos, conduct research, put together papers, and curate resources.

What Happened?

My last article was from August of 2020 *cringe* — that makes me so sad. …

Dianna Lesage

Endlessly curious about the human condition. Founder of Studio Upstart. Chief of Staff @ Untapped Ventures.

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