"Attila is one of the most well-prepared experts I've had the chance to work with. He is a key player of the international startup studio scene, and the knowledge he brought to the table was essential when developing the investment structure of Studio One, the first private fund that exclusively invests in startup studio ventures..." Gergely Freész, CEO at Studio One Attila has 5+ years and 10000+ hours experience of researching, building and operating startup studios, venture builders. He was Chief Operating Officer & EIR @ Drukka, he authored the Startup Studio Playbook and is an Advisor to Startup Studios: + Transformed a 12-people agency into a 50+ strong studio with 20+ startups + Nurtured 12+ startups and founders, from zero to spinoff + Organized the Studio One Pre-Seed Fund (EUR 300k) + Participated in the Intellitext Seed Fund (EUR 1,5M) + Negotiated Seed and Series A rounds for 4 portfolio companies + Co-created AHA Brain Store corporate studio initiative + Organized the Progress Bar meetup series (local ecosystem outreach) As Advisor he worked with studios, government innovation agencies and corporations from Europe, North and South America, MENA and Asia. Areas of cooperation: + Strategy creation and review + Venture production process build + Fundraising and investor management + EIR and Founder programs + Leadership support + Ecosystem outreach initiatives Advantages in working with Attila: + Saves research and leadership time + Better overview of alternatives leading to better decisions + Reducing risks and increasing success in designing and running a studio
First things first, you should do your assessment, due diligence of the person offering you this opportunity and the assessment of the offer and underlying business model.
Do you know this person, do you have an established trusting relationship?
Does this person have successful and verifiable business traction in the same field?
Are there any references you can check?
Also, assess what you could do alternatively with the capital that you would invest here? A comparison of the opportunities' type, risk profile, ROI etc will make it easier to decide if this is even a relevant opportunity for you or not.
First, clarify your goals that you want to achieve with your business, because these will help you to decide on the best company type. Here are some of the questions and parameters we usually assess when creating a venture:
1. How big the business will grow in terms of revenue, nr of employees, locations etc?
2. Now or in the future do we plan to raise capital or involve additional shareholders?
3. Do we plan to create an Employee Stock Option Plan?
4. Are there any legal, regulatory requirements that influence the company type we can chose? (e.g. for medical practice)
5. From an accounting, tax perspective, specific to our business model and projections, which company type would allow us to minimize taxes?
Some company types are just easier to handle. Also, if raising venture capital, then there are pretty good best practices already, so no need to reinvent the wheel.
Either way, apart from doing this self-assessment, I'd recommend finding a good and affordable lawyer and accountant before incorporation - ones who have a good track record in the state/country where the company will be registered. And definitely get their input too.
Just get started, with your first product, build up momentum and continuously refine your offerings and the way you manage the business.
I'm telling you this, because it's easy to get lost in overanalyzing and overtraining - and forgetting about the actual execution.
When I put my book on Amazon, I quickly searched for the top 10 similar and competing books, as a benchmark. Then I just created my profile, and the product page - based on what I saw in the examples. And every now and then I do simple growth experiments, like:
- change in product description
- exploring Amazon ads
- sharing the product page embedded in some content
The basic principle is similar to how we built each startup in our venture builder: select a market where we see multiple opportunities -> come up with potential ideas/products -> quickly and effortlessly create prototype or MVP -> sell it as soon as possible, get market validation. Actually, when we are not talking just about Amazon, we like to sell first and build later. There are of almost zero-cost validation methods to make sure that we come up with a service or product that the market wants, that is worth building.
Happy to discuss further.
To find unicorn-worthy ideas and models, apply the startup studio framework. Because that will help you to explore all angles and you will discover a lot of potential opportunities. Better to have lots of ideas upfront, so you can properly rate them and find the top 1-3 that suits you best.
Go through these questions, steps:
1. What is the most desired, biggest vision you want to achieve? What is your most desired "final feeling", that drives you?
2. Gather all the markets, technologies, trends and topics that interest you. Explore these shortly.
3. Assess where you are: what is the market or topic where you achieved past successes? where is your network? what unique skills you have access to? what is the capital you can mobilize to build a new venture?
4. Identify your most important values, circumstances, constraints, that you are not willing or able to change.
5. Which are the top 3-5 businesses that impressed you in the last few years? Why?
At the intersection of these, there will be still multiple markets, trends, ideas. You can judge and sort them by:
- gut feeling / alignment to your personality
- size of the market, the opportunity
- barriers to entry, e.g. capital needed
I love to do these brainstorm sessions. We used this approach when launching our startup studio in 2015 and creating our batch of first 12 startups. Give me a call if you want me to drive forward the discussion.
Let's rock 2021 and beyond!
Assuming that this is not a "fun only" project and you have some broader professional and financial goals that you want to achieve with this app...
For the best answer, let's clarify and map out the circumstances of your question:
1. Who will be your client (who pays for your solution), and what kind of technological requirements they have?
2. Will you develop and also maintain/update the app? How frequently do you plan to roll out fixes, updates?
3. Who will be the users of your app? And how large will be your user base? What will be their preferences in using the app? Are there any specific
From all my venture building experience I learned, that even questions that seem purely technology-related, it' best to start with such high-level questions. Once you know all your preferences and requirements, it will be much easier to decide which technology stack will serve you best.
And if you did not yet decide on these high-level questions, then apply the startup studio framework. Because that will help you to discover a lot more hidden opportunities and potentials.
As someone who is deeply involved with startup studios, here are a few hints.
1. First, calculate your optimal scale of operations. In our startup studio this was about 12-15 people core team + dedicated ceo-s for each startup experiment
2. Raise funds for the studio, for at least 12-18 months. Your options:
- use your own money
- do agency work
- get direct VC investment (hardest one, you will need traction)
- get corporate financing
3. Raise funds for your startups that are ready for it.
Team is the most critical component for a venture builder organization. You need to hire people who have the right "studio mindset", who accept your vision and operating procedures and who can work on multiple startup initiatives in parallel.
Also here you can find some more hints about CEO selection for the portfolio companies: