Announcing Switchyards Studios (Part 3)

Note: This is the third in a 3-part blog post series about Switchyards Studios. The first post answered the question “What is Switchyards Studios?” The second post answered the question “Why did we decide to launch a program like this?” And lastly, this post will answer the question “Who is the ideal candidate for the program?” All Studios content (blog posts, inspirations, photos from the program, etc.) can be found at Founder Happy Place.

Three weeks ago we officially launched our Switchyards Studios program at Switchyards Downtown Club. We’ve been planning this program for about a year, so we decided to explain our thinking in a series of three blog posts.

Our first blog post explained the nuts and bolts of the program. The second blog post provided an explanation of why we structured the program the way that we did. This third (and final) post is meant to focus on who is the ideal candidate for the program.

At a high-level, we’ve generally described our customer as…

A non-technical founder at a big company in Atlanta who is ready to leave because they have a consumer startup idea that they just can’t get out of their heads. In other words, an itch that they just have to scratch.

To get a little more specific, here are some guidelines for a good Switchyards Studios client…

  1. Located in Atlanta. Switchyards Studios is a very immersive program, so we are only working with founders who live in Atlanta. The program includes a dedicated desk in our Studios office on the 3rd floor of Switchyards and we expect the founders to spend a great deal of time there. Besides participating in the actual program curriculum, there’s a great deal of benefit to being around lots of other B2C founders at various stages.
  2. Startup idea for consumers. The entire Switchyards community — including Switchyards Studios — is only focused on startups that sell to consumers, so all ideas up for consideration for this program have to have consumers as an important part of the business model (either B2C or B2B2C).
  3. Passionate and dedicated. For all startups, the most important single ingredient is the founder’s passionate dedication to the idea. Everything else (talented employees in various areas, money, advisors) can be layered on top as long as there’s a solid foundation of authentic passion by the founder. This level of commitment is also necessary because founders have to pay for our program up-front. While the Switchyards Studios program is similar to accelerators/incubators in some ways, we also build your initial technology product and create your brand. To do this we’ve pulled together the best development and design talent in the city and negotiated the best rates for early-stage founders. This has allowed us to create an entire program for only $25,000. This is less than some founders have and more than others. In both cases we believe this is the right amount to spend in the first phase of any startup idea.
  4. Non-technical founder(s). Over the past year Switchyards has become the center of gravity for consumer-focused talent in Atlanta. During this period we’ve looked across this very talented group of resources and recruited the very best to work on Switchyards Studios…paying particular attention to strong developers and designers. Because we are able to wrap all of these resources around a new idea, there’s no need for the founder to have any coding ability (or abilities in any other tactical area). The founder brings the passion and we’ll provide them the right processes and resources to give their idea the best shot at being successful.
  5. Like-minded. The last guideline for a good Studios client shouldn’t be underestimated. The Switchyards Studios program was put together by a group of founders. We aren’t experienced consultants or agency people. We are serial entrepreneurs and this is the exact process that we would do if we left our day jobs to launch our next startup. Because of this, we recommend that any founder considering this program sit down with us and discuss our philosophy and style. We believe strongly in the processes and resources that we’ve pulled-together and any potential founder considering the program should ask as many questions as necessary to fully understand the philosophy of our program.

As we described in our second blog post, there just aren’t many resources (founders, developers, designers, marketers, investors, advisors) who have taken an idea on a napkin and made it into a big consumer startup in Atlanta. As a result, a non-technical founder leaving their job to dedicate themselves full-time to a new consumer startup will face many hurdles that needlessly burn precious time and money.

We designed the Switchyards Studios program to be the ideal program and place for a non-technical founder to come to go through a 90-day program. Experienced founders by your side. Using the best resources. Crafting a strong brand. Building your first product. A week-to-week program for momentum. And if customers love the product…your first outside investment.

In other words, all of us rolling-up our sleeves to build a product that customers and investors will love.

If this sounds like you, drop us an email…we’d love to grab coffee and discuss.