Startup studio

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A startup studio, also known as a startup factory, or a startup foundry, or a venture studio, is a studio-like company that aims at building several companies in succession. This style of business building is referred to as "parallel entrepreneurship".[1]


Idealab, founded by Bill Gross in 1996, was one of the first to introduce the 'incubator industry' to the field of technology startups, and has started over 75 companies.[2] Idealab was founded to test many ideas at once and turn the best of them into companies while also attracting the human and financial capital necessary to bring them to the market.[3][4]

The startup studio trend gained momentum beginning in 2008. As of 2015, there were over 65 startup studios across the world, of which 17 had been built since 2013.[5]


There are several types of startup studio models.

"Builder" studios[edit]

A builder startup studio focuses on creating and developing a company, mostly from internal ideas.[6] Notable examples of this model are Atomic,[7] Pioneer Square Labs,[8] Rocket Internet, and eFounders.[9]

Unlike business incubators and accelerators, venture builders generally don't accept applications concerning their portfolio of companies, and the companies instead "pull business ideas from within their own network of resources and assign internal teams to develop them."[6]

According to VentureBeat, Nova Spivack was "part of the early technologists who pioneered the venture production studio model. He wrote about the model in 2011 at a time when most of its production elements were still in gestation. Nova actually invented the Venture Production Studio term, calling it a 'new approach to building startups.'"[6]

"Investor" studios[edit]

Investor venture studios bring in early-stage external startups and help them grow by providing them both funds and expertise. Studios Betaworks and Science, Inc. fall in this category.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lapowsky, Issie (November 25, 2014). "The next big thing you missed: tech superstars build 'startup factories'". Wired.
  2. ^ "Pasadena-Based Heliogen Announces Nominations of Luminaries Stacey Abrams and Phyllis Newhouse to Its Board – Pasadena Now". Retrieved 2021-12-22.
  3. ^ Farmer, Ryan (2004). Idealab: First Mover, Last Survivor. California Institute of Technology.
  4. ^ "Bill Gross: A Devotion to New Ideas | Stanford eCorner". Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  5. ^ Chernova, Yuliya (March 11, 2015). "Human Ventures Names CEO as Startup Studios Proliferate". Venture Capital Dispatch Via the Wall Street Journal.
  6. ^ a b c Diallo, Ali (January 18, 2015). "How 'venture builders' are changing the startup model". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  7. ^ Geron, Tomio (2017-01-23). "Atomic, With First Fund, Looks to Upend Venture-Capital Model". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  8. ^ "Pioneer Square Labs Grabs $12.5M To Dream Up, Then Kill Off Or Spin Out Startups". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  9. ^ "eFounders unveils its next batch of enterprise SaaS startups". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-12-11.