Lessons learned from a Startup Studio.

Startup studios are a relatively new type of business. You might have heard of them before as “venture builders” or “startup factories.” There are only a dozen or so of them in the world, including the original one, IdeaLab, and others like Expa and BetaWorks. But I believe we’ll see more and more of them in the future because the model works.

The people behind these organizations are seasoned entrepreneurs, investors, and makers. They don’t get pitches, there is no Demo Day, and they don’t make investments in external companies. For the most part, ideas are in-house, built from scratch to validate a business idea and spin it off as an independent startup, with the studio retaining a portion of the equity.

When the startup studio I work with, Pioneer Square Labs, started — just nine months ago — there wasn’t a lot of open knowledge to draw from on how to run this kind of business. It’s similar to when Y Combinator and TechStars got started and the accelerator model wasn’t well understood. Many variations on the accelerator model have since been tried — some have failed, some have succeeded — and there is a body of information and expertise out there for the next entrepreneur trying to create an accelerator.

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