Meet Wonka Lab, creators of the Dream Builder Program for startups

This week we bring you a special interview we had with the coolest startup factory of Los Angeles: Wonka Lab, creator of the Dream Builder program for global startups.

If you’re the founder of an innovative startup in the pre-seed or seed stage, don’t miss the opportunity to win a Golden Ticket to Dream Builder and take your company to the next level and share the experience with the world!

It looks like both of you (Sau and Nikita), met while working at the HR department of a big corporation. How was your experience working there?

It was a very standard corporate environment where a lot of the decisions were made by the senior management team. The creative ability of our team and the organization was really limited. We’ve created many great working relationships and friendships, though, and have learned that most of us desire a fun, collaborative work environment where people feel comfortable sharing ideas and creating innovative solutions.

Can you tell us the meaning and the origin of the name Wonka Lab and how it all started?

Our Founder and CEO, Michael Murphy wanted to commercialize amazing technologies and create businesses that have a positive impact on the world. He wanted a name that represents a place where people’s imaginations can go wild and see their dreams come to life, so in short Wonka Lab was born.

Why did you choose not to be an accelerator or a startup incubator? What makes you different and unique?

Wonka Lab is a startup factory where we have a team of builders that create amazing businesses from within. The Dream Builder program is our way of helping entrepreneurs break through their challenges, with the power of a global community behind them and an opportunity for us to find an amazing team to invest in. Our goal for the Dream Builder program is to empower entrepreneurs, from every corner of the world, by providing them with critical resources in the shortest amount of time possible while taking zero equity from their companies.​ ​

A few of the things that make us stand out is our unconventional and creative method of doing business, the fact that we are a startup which has had a global approach from day one, and our deep passion for making a big impact.

Can you talk to us about you Dream Builder program?

We saw a trend in the startup industry where startups would often times go through accelerators unprepared and end up having to go through multiple rounds and give up a lot of their equity in the process. Dream Builder focuses on startups in pre-seed and seed stages, and we offer our startups customized, hands-on building support. This is in addition to us connecting them with our vetted and global network of partners and resources while having a TON of fun in the process.

So, there are only 24 golden tickets available now, what are the characteristics you’re looking for in the founders that want to apply to the Dream Builder program?

We’re looking for entrepreneurs who have a can-do spirit. We know that it takes positive thinking and creative problem-solving skills to start a business. Dream Builder will help startups in various industries and we’re a big proponent of diversity and global approach.

One of the goals of the Dream Builder program is producing a web series to educate future entrepreneurs. Can you give us some more details?

Dream Builder will take viewers behind the scenes of what it really takes to build a business in a high energy, action-packed journey around the world. Our goal for the series is to educate viewers regarding the various processes of entrepreneurship, entertain through the program’s unconventional working environment and encourage audiences to take a leap towards a deeply fulfilling lifestyle, where great success, adventure, and hard work go hand-in-hand.

You have a very cool and interesting work environment in the office. Can you tell us what the values that define the Wonka Lab culture?

The core value of our culture comes from “work smart, not long.” We don’t just watch the clock and define our work success based on the number of hours we work. The office supports taking breaks when people need them and working hours that fit each individual. People are free to take a swim in the middle of the day to clear their head, or to take a nap to avoid burnout. What matters is that you get shit done and do it well.

You’re traveling a lot and building a network in tech hubs across the globe. Who are you most interested in connecting with when you’re visiting a new city?

Everyone has different and valuable experiences that we can benefit from. We’re looking for people who really believe in what we are trying to accomplish and who want to help in any way they can. We’re meeting with startups, accelerators, incubators, government leaders, business leaders and other influencers in the community. The best part of it all is doing new things with new people, like taking a camel ride in the desert with a partner, enjoying breakfast with an esteemed government leader, racing muscle cars with an investor, or just enjoying a chat at a local cafe with people passionate about helping other people succeed.

How important is networking and building relationships for you?

Networking is a major part of what we do. Good people are the best resource you can have and are what you really need to succeed. It’s also a really good channel to validate ideas and tackle big social problems.

One last question about Los Angeles. Based on your experience, what do you love about the city, and what makes LA a great place for startups?

Los Angeles is a fantastic melting pot of different industries and cultures. We have the beach, the mountains, and the year round sunshine to help unwind and reset. It’s a great place for work-life balance, creativity flows freely, and inspiration for brilliant solutions ​is everywhere. It’s definitely a major US hub for a reason. We can’t wait to see you here!

The Physem team