Startup Studios: What’s new in building successful tech startups?

Hi. My name is Valerie Mocker. And I’m Nesta’s
Senior Researcher for innovative startups. Today, we’re here to talk
about startup studios and understand if they are
better model for building innovative tech businesses. Startup studios are an emerging
way of building companies. That seems to be taking
hold in the US and the UK and around the world. It seems to be quite different
from the traditional method of focusing on just one idea. Instead it’s a method of taking
time to find different ideas. There seems to be two
models developing. Firstly, the studio
environment where you go in and then a company is
built around the entrepreneur with the original idea that
needs execution and investment and a network of people around
them to build the thing. And the other startup studio
model, which is not– there’s more than one studio. There’s more than one
way to skin a studio, is the other one, which
is more like you create a studio in the first place
with a lot of talented people. And then you engender and build
out from within the products, which then spin out into
that their own products and companies. I really think, you know,
kind of the product focus is so, so valuable. So I think it’s
one of the biggest pros is it’s very much
all around building an amazing product, involving
in all kinds of expertise around the table to really think
about how it benefits the end user. So I think that kind of
obsessive focus on product is brilliant. And whatever else
your industry is, if you can have one
kind of one key focus, that’s always really important. The benefits of startup
studios are first of all, you get a cluster. And that’s quite
hard to do in Europe. Being in the same place
amongst other entrepreneurs is a fantastic idea. The main benefit is that you
can bring existing competence to more than one venture. You’re not sort of
learning for the first time every time you venture. Benefits of startup
studios are varied. It depends on the type
of startup studio. But some of the
common threads seem to be something
around collaboration and the idea of having the same
people working on ideas over and over again, sharing their
knowledge over the time, also the idea of having
more time to really think about the right idea,
find the one that works best for the team. I think there’s
also something that makes them different in
that the motivation is often quite different. Sometimes it’s entrepreneurs
who are choosing to take longer to get to their
business idea in order to I don’t want to
say enjoy the process but make sure they pick the
right business before jumping feet first into the new thing. Well, one of the
challenges, of course, is do you get stuck
into a product mode, or can you build
businesses out of it. Because business means
you’re commercialising. And you’re growing. And you’ve longevity versus if
you’re building a product only, they you have to figure
out a fundable– you know, how to fund it
for the long term. For us, I think the
bigger challenge is that it’s a new model. And we need a lot of
capital to finance it, both to invest
into the companies and to fund our infrastructure
and its new asset class. And so we’re out evangelising
to people why it makes sense to not just to invest
in the startups, but also to invest in a team
of people in a co-working space to help support those startups. And so getting that message
is one of our challenges. A big challenge I think
within some of the businesses we’ve talked about today
is proving and measuring the effectiveness
of these models in terms of developing
new businesses, developing new products. It’s too early at the moment
to compare them to incubators. So I think there’s
a big case to be made for startup
studios, which we just don’t have enough data for yet.

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