Is a startup studio a good fit for my startup or should I go the VC route?

I answer community questions about startup studios.

Dianna Lesage

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I’m Dianna, startup studio enthusiast, and I love helping people learn about the studio ecosystem. I often get questions from founders and emerging studios and answer them pretty thoroughly.

I started thinking others might benefit from my insights and opinions. So, I’m sharing the questions and my answers here.

If you want to ask a question about studios, connect with me on LinkedIn and tell me how I can help- I’m an open book!

The Question:

Basically, my tech startup has gone from MVP last Summer to having 10+ customers and 50K ARR in the last year on a bootstrapped budget. We’ve been approached by a VC Studio who wants to help us target the Forbes1000 market, with which they have connections. However, we don’t need help in building the tool — we just need connections and funding. Which makes it seem like maybe a VC Studio isn’t a good fit?

We’re currently raising our pre-seed round of $500k and are thinking of proposing that they instead just contribute to that.

Basically, is there any precedent for this? If a VC studio comes across a startup with a product that excites their network, can they work with them in the capacity of a normal VC?

My Answer:

Hey, thanks for the details! I actually get this type of question a lot.

The short answer is, I don’t think you’ll get what you need from a studio based on the information you shared.

I’ll elaborate:

Studios are the best at bringing co-founder-level value-add to the table. The most important thing they offer is people to add to your team while you ramp up operations. These people are vetted experts ready to go asap. These are functional people like tech, product design, marketing, legal, accounting… and they are also strategic… like serial entrepreneurs in-house who can tactically help you find product-market-fit or and investors who can help you with pitch preparation/ practice.

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Dianna Lesage

Venture Studio expert. Creator capitalist. Lover of innovation.