Startup Studio Spotlight: Mamazen
Welcome back fellow startup studio enthusiasts (and new visitors)! So far we’ve covered all things related to the process and potential that startup studios can bring to emerging ventures and founders in today’s world. As we’ve learned in previous articles, while the startup studio model has a few trademark characteristics, every studio offers their own unique spin, and the formula for success may look a little different for each startup studio.
Despite their distinctions, the common thread across every successful studio is a diverse team of founders to help drive creativity, innovation, and ultimately boost the startup venture success. That’s why we like to speak with studio founders to hear what gives them an edge in the startup studio space — directly from the source. For this Startup Studio Spotlight, we had the pleasure of speaking with Farhad Alessandro Mohammadi, founder of Mamazen, a startup studio based in Turin, Italy, to learn more about his background and what inspired him to become immersed in the startup studio world.
Farhad is a serial entrepreneur with over 12 years of experience in the digital field. Previously, he managed Backeca.it internal and external sales team and also led Glamoo.com sales team as Commercial Director, leading to its exit to Pagine Gialle. Later in his career, he co-founded Pony Zero, a company dedicated to delivering “the quickest and most efficient urban delivery service with no environmental impact”, and reached an impressive annual revenue of $6 million in just a matter of 5 years, which led to its acquisition by Cigierre Spa in 2018.
Equipped with invaluable experience and lessons learned, Farhaf became interested in a compelling new startup model and began to explore the startup studio approach. Compiling his research and experience, and driven by his passion for startups, he wrote an in-depth and comprehensive whitepaper dedicated to educating readers on Venture-Building (one of the few whitepapers focused on this topic worldwide).
Farhad soon realized through his research that the startup studio model was “the best and most scalable way of building startups,” which led him to found Mamazen in 2017. Mamazen is the first Italian Startup Studio focused on Building SAAS companies to serve fragmented markets.
Mamazen’s approach is unique compared to many other startup studios. While most startup studios vet their startup concepts through a small group of investors and founders, Mamazen uses an approach called “Consensus Method”: a decision-making process that takes into account every stakeholder, to achieve a consensual resolution. This also helps live up to their philosophy of transparency, where they strive to make any type of information about their ventures accessible for their stakeholders — from salaries to daily activity to business decisions. Needless to say, Mamazen is a force of its own and continues to make big steps in the startup studio space and beyond!
But you’ve heard enough from us on Mamazen! Let’s hear directly from our featured founder, Farhad, in the interview below. Enjoy!
What sets you apart from the rest of the competition in the startup studio space?
Every studio finds its kind of “special sauce”. Mamazen’s goal is to empower people to take charge of their most important asset — their highest essence, actions, thoughts, and purpose — and make it scalable to create impact. What we really care for is defending assets, democratizing all the things that are not available for society today.
Mamazen operates following its own philosophy: true innovation aims to preserve existing expertise, skills, and occupations. Each company has been created following a standardized and validated process created by Mamazen.
Another aspect that makes us unique from our competitors is our talent, who are fully remote and global. Remote working led us to better plan our meetings and to better coordinate our workload (especially during the pandemic), but we have also realized that we are able to attract investors from other countries who are looking for low-cost opportunities and teams that can get the work done efficiently. This has helped us avoid the distractions of “kill-flow” tasks and to have a higher appreciation of all team members’ time.
How has the startup studio model allowed you and your studio’s companies to navigate the pandemic?
The pandemic has definitely accelerated outsourced services. Even before the pandemic, we were already operating as a fully remote studio. This helped us attract talent from all over the world and fit everyone’s needs. By being a fully remote studio we have built a process that did not change after the pandemic.
Because we have also focused on digital companies since the beginning of our founding, we saw an increase in the need and interest for our products and services.
For example, with our real estate company HomState — a company dedicated to helping people manage their real estate assets with the help of data and AI to make better decisions for their future — we increased our traffic 4x once the pandemic started (in a matter of two months).
How would you describe your studio’s approach to developing new ideas? What services do you offer your startups?
We believe that a studio has to work their ideas internally. And we usually don’t go through a traditional idea generation process. Ours is very engineered.
- Research — 6 weeks: Through deep market research, every year we are able to discover the needs emerging in a specific market. We first target the macro trends happening at the moment, and then we go straight to focus on the needs that we found through conversations with stakeholders and various audiences.
- Idea generation — 2 weeks: After we’ve discovered these needs, we come up with approximately 10 ideas focused on solving those problems. Then we grow from there and test out which of the ideas can be implemented and work properly and narrow them down to at least 3 ideas.
- Signal Minning — 4 weeks: Here is where we build MVP (Minimum viable product), recruit CEOs, entrepreneurs to join the ideas to bring them to life.
How do you source your new businesses and how do you decide which ideas to take into your studio for further development?
We source people from all over the world. From Ecuador, Italy, U.S. We want to have the right people who are experts in their fields and help us attract the right stakeholders.
Overall, the core team is made up of 10 people.
What does the studio’s level of involvement look like after the business has launched?
After the startup has been launched, we commit to being involved for at least 4–6 months. At that period of time, we are still considered part of the team, from the product manager, business developers, financial analysts, marketing teams, etc… After the 4–6 month period, the team is slowly detaching from the studio while still having access to their tools and teams. After 12 months, they are on their own.
Another interesting point to mention is that Mamazen financed the studio by themselves. Farhad and his partner managed to sell one of their startups in 1.5 years in 2013 for $6M. Since then, they’ve been able to fund the studio with this money. They plan to finance it independently until 2021, at which point they plan to launch their fund.
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Mamazen! We hope you enjoyed this startup studio spotlight and learned a little bit more about the different methods and approaches that allow startup studios to fully take off! If you know of any other startup studio that you would be interested in having us feature, let us know in the comments below or send us a message via Twitter or LinkedIn! We’d love to hear from you. Until next time 🚀