How a Startup studio works (or how we’ve done it)

Post by 
Peter Lozanov
Published 
May 30, 2020
S

tartups are changing the world that we know. But not all of them. In fact, very few of them manage to do that. The majority of new ventures die off before they ever reach maturity. Even seasoned angel investors and massive VC funds with years of experience behind their backs hope to get 1 out of 10 investments right. The reasons for startups to fail are many, but the most common ones can be broken down to:

  • Not solving an actual problem
  • Not launching their product or service at the right time (being too early or too late)
  • Interpersonal problems and irreconcilable differences between the team members
  • Not targeting the right customer segments 
  • Not having the necessary tech knowledge to actually create the product 
  • Lack of marketing skills that will deliver growth
  • Lack of fundraising skill & a limited network

And so on and so forth. It is a steep learning curve for the thousands (if not millions) of entrepreneurs out there - as a result, a ludicrous amount of time, money, and effort is being wasted by them and by the people who back them. 

It’s like being handed an expensive state-of-the-art surfboard and being told ‘Now go and learn how to surf’. You are not going to magically start riding those massive waves just because you have the right tools to do it. After years of practice and after stealing lots of glances at the other professional surfers on the beach, you may start to get a grasp of it. But that time of innumerable failures is forever gone. And your surfboard may have shredded from smashing into the rocks way too often. Now imagine having an entire crew of surf gurus guiding you throughout the entire process. Not only will you become a pro in no time (if you listen to them) but your exquisite board will most likely still be intact. Add to that your own private beach where you get to train all you want and you have a recipe for progress.

That’s basically the concept behind the startup studio - turning the ‘9 out of 10 fail’ statistic into a ‘9 out of 10 succeed’ one. When creating your venture in such an environment the chances of neglecting the warning signs that your idea might not be as brilliant as you think are minimal. You have dedicated mentors that make sure you actually know what you are doing and you also have a hub where you share and amplify your knowledge with other entrepreneurs. People are the greatest asset there is - so if your mentors see that you are wasting your undeniable capabilities on a project that is bound to fail, they will let you know about it and they’ll try to convince you to look outside the box you’ve put yourself in. 
We’ve personally been there as well and we want to reduce all of this waste of talent and capital by applying the whole lean startup philosophy on the startup ecosystem as a whole. This is the reason why we initiated ‘BattlePass’. So how does it work? 
Before we break down the methods that we utilize, we need to make an important distinction between the startup studio, the VC funds and the accelerators. The main thing that sets apart the first from the latter is the actual commitment. Startup studios don’t just advise you for a brief period of time, nor do they handle you a bag of money, expecting you to double in the next 3 years. What we do is jump in the battle with you, side by side. We can invest months, even years, in a single project as if it was our own. This makes the whole journey a lot less stressful, knowing that you always have someone to turn to when challenges arise. This is a truly groundbreaking concept so it’s absolutely normal if you are perplexed by it at first and then fascinated once you wrap your head around it.

To dive deeper into the way we operate, we introduce you to our 3 distinct models of working with entrepreneurs, depending on the stage they’re at. 

Co-founding Together

The first one is aimed at those enthusiasts who have a billion-dollar idea but little to no money and experience. If you are an aspiring founder, then you’d want to get in touch with us so that you have a trustworthy partner in crime (not literally, of course). We sit down with you, assess your concept, its feasibility, your needs, etc. If we decide that there’s a fit, then we roll up our sleeves and get to work. A startup studio does not simply consult you, it co-founds with you. You get to learn on every step of the way how to start a business, how to validate a business idea, how to raise capital, how to build your product and acquire your first paying customers, etc. We can even provide you with your own space, a hub, where you can work and flourish as an entrepreneur. It’s like studying at the university, with the differences being that you get mostly practice, instead of lectures and you don’t graduate with huge debt - in fact, you receive a financial investment in your endeavours. Thus, with our team’s full commitment, by the end of the journey that we undertake together you may end up running your dream company.
We’re not going to lie to you though - it does not come free. In order for this pool of experienced entrepreneurs to join forces with you and be motivated, they need to have a stake in the company they’re working on. So splitting half of the company shares with a startup studio and its partners is not unheard of. But as they say - half a loaf is better than none. And when this loaf turns out to be a million-dollar business, then that’s a pretty good deal. The good news is that we also offer buyback options to the founder we collaborate with - so if you decide one day that you’d like to be the sole owner of your company, we can easily arrange that. We try to be as flexible as possible in order to maintain the good relationships we have with all of our partners. Speaking of which, we need to mention the BattlePass Network of Advisors and Companies.
We all know that two heads are better than one - and a hundred heads are far better than two. By becoming a part of our network, you get exclusive access to high-performing men and women who have the knowledge and the mindset that you require. It is not simply a set group of individuals - it is a vast cooperative that can attract some of the top experts in the industry you’re aiming to disrupt. We are able to provide you with such invaluable connections via company shares allocation and vesting options. The people who advise you need to be genuinely devoted to your business - and there is no better way to engage them than to make them shareholders. Whatever your goals are, we will search for someone who's achieved them, who believes in your project and is willing to help you do the same. No matter what they say, you can't do it on your own - you need to level up your network, as it will in turn speed up your growth. 

Find out more about the Co-founding Together model

Hybrid Model for already established Startups & Scaleups

Our second model of work, called ‘The Hybrid’, is targeting those entrepreneurs who are already in the midst of the battle and who need an ally to join them as reinforcements. BattlePass charges for its services a discounted price + equity that is vested based on our performance.  This is the only way to keep venture builder fully engaged in making your company not only endure the hardships but thrive. Your success becomes our success too. To prove that, we also impose vesting periods on ourselves - so BattlePass is able to sell your shares only after a couple of years have passed. This incentivizes us, even more, to make sure that your company reaches its potential.

Without going through the long and costly process of acquiring talent you immediately get access to a pool of designers, marketing experts, software, and business developers, etc. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with - this applies not only to your personal but to your professional life as well.

Find out more about the Hybrid model

Corporate Startups

In spite of its name, the startup studio is not strictly aimed at startups though. Corporations can greatly benefit from this type of collaboration just as well. It is a well-known fact that bigger companies that have existed for years become inert with time. Due to their massive sizes and complex operations, any changes whatsoever become a hurdle. As the saying goes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. In the recent decade, we’ve been a witness of monolithic entities crashing down in valuation due to their inability to adapt - General Motors, Kodak, General Foods, or even Internet giants like MySpace, Yahoo, Tumblr. 
When you want to be like the best, learn from them. Therefore, we wholeheartedly practice what the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, has been preaching for years - always act like it’s Day One. In this constant race slowing down equals death - and no matter how certain you are in your market shares, major shifts can be instantaneous. Therefore you need to be constantly improving, innovating, and learning. BattlePass can easily provide your company with intrapreneurs (in-house entrepreneurs) who can spot where you’re wasting resources, how you can improve your products and services, and optimize profit while entering new markets. The BattlePass experts will make sure you manage to adopt the proven Lean philosophy that was first conceived by Toyota and that led to the growth of the Japanese automotive colossus. It gives you an indisputable competitive advantage as it not only makes you prepared for the inevitable changes of tomorrow but it also turns you into their driver. 
Life presents you with numerous battles both in your personal, and your professional life. Only those who are in a state of permanent training under the guidance of experienced veterans have a chance to surmount any threats they may face. Why throw away precious effort and capital into learning on your own, when others can save you headaches and swiftly direct you to your end-goals? Time is the greatest asset you have - so whatever you do, make sure not to waste it. 

Find out more about our approach when working with Corporates

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