Three types of organizations – Incubators, Accelerators and Venture Studios – have emerged to reduce the risk of early-stage startup failure by helping teams find product/market fit and raise initial capital. Venture Studios are an “idea factory” with their own employees searching for product/market fit and a repeatable and scalable business model. They do the most to de-risk the early stages of a startup.
Outside a small university in the Midwest, I was having coffee with Carlos, a rising star inside a mid-sized manufacturing company. He had a track record of taking small teams and growing them into successful product lines. However, after a decade working for others, Carlos was interested in building and growing a company of his own. I asked how much he knew about how to get started. He said that from what he read, the path to building and funding a company seemed to be: 1) come up with an idea, 2) form a team, 3) start testing minimal viable products, 4) raise seed funding, 5) then obtain venture capital.
As he described his work in additive manufacturing and 3D printing, Carlos said he knew that there were seed investors in his town, but venture capital was still largely on the coasts, and it was hard to get their attention. He also wasn’t sure his idea was great. But he still had the itch to grow something small into a substantive company.
As we grabbed dessert, (Read more...)