Image for post
Image for post

Why reinvent the wheel? Startups are complicated and each is unique but innovators from every end of the startup building spectrum have developed tools to make launching and growing a venture easier than ever before. These platforms range from helping with market research to helping find an investor. By using these tools, you can drastically reduce the time it takes to validate an idea, launch an MVP, and scale your startup!

Here is a ready-made list of my hand-selected tools to help on your startup journey from end to end.

Develop The Idea

Finding an idea may not seem like the hard part but it is the most critical component of launching a startup. Use these tools to help develop your thesis and see what consumers all over the world are looking for. …


Image for post
Image for post

What product or service do you want that doesn’t exist yet?

This is the quintessential question to answer when thinking of launching a startup venture. The advice is often given that entrepreneurs need to “start with the problem” before coming up with a solution and, while this is sound advice, it often leaves entrepreneurs wondering which problem to solve. From preventing the next pandemic to paying bills, there are endless problems that could be solved.

The question is, what problem is the right one for you to solve?

Make a To-Do List

What action items have been on your To-Do list all week? Perhaps “buy dog food” is on there or maybe “cancel YouTube TV subscription” is long overdue. There are entire businesses that have been created to get these things off your to-do list (Chewy.com for the dog food and TruBill.com for subscription monitoring and canceling). Take the time to go through your to-do list and think of ventures that could be created to get these items off your list. …


Image for post
Image for post

A Startup Studio (also referred to as a Venture Builder) is an organization that builds startups.

Unlike accelerators, Studios don’t run “programs” with cohorts and timelines (a typical accelerator runs for a 3-month period with a cohort of ~50 culminating in a demo day).

The difference between an incubator and a Studio is the hands-on work that Studio teams put into ventures rather than just providing startup capital and other more tangible assets.

Essentially, a Studio acts as an investing co-founder to your startup.

The Studio team will help you from day 1 all the way up through raising your seed round of funding. Besides investment, Studios provide human capital, expansive networks, and resources like technology and proven methodology that make building startup ventures easier and faster. …


Image for post
Image for post

Startup Studios are also known as Venture Builders and as both of these names suggest, they are companies that create other companies. The goal of a Venture Builder is to use the same internal team and set of internal resources to crank out as many high-quality startup ventures as possible. To learn more about Startup Studios and how they work, read this article.

At Studio Upstart- Build, the first and only membership community for entrepreneurs and leaders across the Startup Studio industry, we talk a lot about how to fundraise for Startup Studios. As many of our members are emerging Studio creators, there are questions on everything from legal to accounting. …


Top VC firms investing in black founders ranked by number of investments made.

Image for post
Image for post

In a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, there was a positive correlation between diversity in a startup’s founding team and innovation success. According to the article, “the most-diverse enterprises were also the most innovative, as measured by the freshness of their revenue mix. In fact, companies with above-average total diversity, measured as the average of six dimensions of diversity (migration, industry, career path, gender, education, age), had both 19% points higher innovation revenues and 9% points higher EBIT margins, on average.”

When the relationship between financial performance and diversity is this clear, it’s borderline reckless to not invest in black and minority founders. Regardless of personal baises, investing in black entrepreneurs is good business which is why it comes as such a shock to discover that just 1% of venture-funded startup founders are black. Put another way, 99% of venture funding goes to non-black founders. …


Image for post
Image for post

We can all agree that the best entrepreneurs are not the most experienced, financially secure, or even smartest. Practically, we understand that success in entrepreneurship is the direct result of passion, mission, and grit. From Jeff Bezos to Steve Jobs, it’s clear that passion and vision outweigh technical skills, talent, and industry experience 10 to 1.

But in reality, passion and moral compass get overlooked and pushed aside in search of a more tangible asset. From large corporations to small startups, hiring managers filter out candidates with no experience, connections, hard skills, and those lacking a proven track record of producing successful results. …


Image for post
Image for post

Within the startup ecosystem, there are those who build and those who help others build. The criteria for helping others build is very simple.

An organization must have the following resources:

  • Mentors (people who have been there/ done that and can shed light on specific obstacles a founding team may face) and Advisors (people who can help a founding team execute by working hand-in-hand with them develop business plans, pitch decks, and strategies)
  • Networks (of talent, investors, and partners)
  • Education (blueprints on how to accomplish objectives like fundraising, hiring, setting up legal entities, etc.)

Beyond the above resources, most organizations helping entrepreneurs build offer seed funding and exposure opportunities (i.e …


Image for post
Image for post

Running through the blood of every new startup venture is one singular theme known as “fail fast” and, while startups would be wise to adhere to this mantra, Startup Studios have bet their entire existence on it.

The main goal of a Startup Studio, also called a Venture Builder, is to rapidly test new startup ideas and either validate them or kill them with no mercy. The innovators working within a Startup Studio do not fall in love with “ugly babies”. …


Image for post
Image for post

A Startup Studio is a company that builds other companies in parallel. For some entrepreneurs, launching a single Startup is the right path because they’re passionate about solving one single problem. But, other entrepreneurs are less interested in solving one problem and more interested in fixing an entire industry or using one technology to solve problems in a variety of industries. These entrepreneurs are the ones who should consider working for or launching a Startup Studio.

To learn more about Startup Studios and how they work, read this.

There are 5 key milestones an entrepreneur must work through if they want to launch a Startup Studio. …


This is an in-depth look at the Startup Studio venture creation process from idea through execution to launch. Information courtesy of Madrona Venture Labs.

Image for post
Image for post

Madrona Venture Labs (MVL) is a Seattle-based Startup Studio that was founded in 2014. If you’re unfamiliar with the Startup Studio space, you can read this article (or watch this video) to learn more about them. For the sake of brevity, all you need to know is that a Startup Studio is a company that creates startup ventures one after another while incrementally improving the startup building process.

MVL is one of the more transparent Studios- meaning they often share their theories and provide in-depth details of their venture building process. They’ve done this with UpLevel, Spruce Up, and many more. …

About

Dianna Lesage

Endlessly curious about the human condition. Founder of Studio Upstart- www.studioupstart.com. Connect w. me on LinkedIn!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store