Industry Insights: The rise of Venture Builders2019-12-04 | Juan Ignacio Correa
The rise and consolidation of Venture Studios or Venture Builders in the world have opened a collaborative conversation between main players to share best practices, understand their local contexts and identify potential opportunities to create together.
Organizations such as The Global Startup Studio Network and The Venture Studio Collective are working towards the development and promotion of this on-going conversation and the strengthening of our global community. In this joint effort, we had the chance to participate in the most recent meeting of The Venture Studio Collective in New York. The event held last October in NYC reunited 8 Venture Builders from the US, Germany, Dubai, and Colombia. From our side Polymath Ventures’ COO, Luis Castillo, and Product Director, Juan Ignacio Correa attended the event and had the chance to present our purpose, way of work and current projects.
Luis Castillo and Juan Ignacio Correa
After this experience, we talked to Juan and Luis to get their perspective about the overall event, their view on major trends around Venture Builders and the key takeaways to consider when operating one of them.
The overall perspective is that most of the Venture Builders are dealing with the same challenges, however, it is clear that excitement is growing with the opportunity behind them; this might be due to some investment in the US that is shifting to this model, and better valuations around their portfolios.
Here are some recommendations and insights our team prepared:
- Recruiting more founders increases the effectiveness and speed of the company creation process.
- A founder must be able to build his/her team despite the support of leads from the studio.
- Founder recruitment criteria:
- Capacity to build a product
- Ability to sell the product and vision to others
- Fundraising skills and a knack for networking skills
- Capacity to build a great team
About PR & Comms
- Events and relationships are a core strength. They help build a solid brand to create a strong network that helps the studio with investor and talent flow. High Alpha Venture Studio is a great example of how this can be done.
- Another great initiative proposed by Human Ventures is having assigned roles in charge of networking (Yes, networking!). This team is responsible for meeting a number of “interesting” people that can create some type of impact on the operation. This initiative makes us think about going back to basics and prioritizing low-cost, offline tactics that can also have major impact on our overall strategy.
- The common struggle for venture studios in Latam is less of a concern for some other studios located in other regions; many have teams with track records and relationships that make it much easier for them to bring in capital.
- Some studios opt for building an independent fund. This allows them to invest in the companies that go through the studio process and companies they feel are relevant for their portfolio.
- There is a common goal of educating investors on the venture building model. The complexity of defining what a venture builder is, and making others understand that this concept involves the company building process fully done in-house is a priority for all of the attendees.
Process Most studios are producing new ventures in record time with the following characteristics in their operations:
- When the venture reaches series seed, series A, the studio becomes much less involved.
- The relationship between the studio and their ventures continues as a figure of advisor and less focusing on operations.
- New venture ideas come from weekly team sessions or from assigning the responsibility to someone from the leadership team.
- Polymath is unique with its human-centered process for idea generation. Other studios focus on validating as quickly as possible ideas based on needs that they or their ventures have.
- Validation happens without building any part of the product – only a landing page and ads. If the results are interesting, the company building process continues.
At Polymath Ventures we tend to apply a slightly different approach; since we build solutions for a user that lives and behaves different from us, we must use a human-centered design process to understand their deep needs. This is essential to carry out the purpose of Polymath and it affects the types of business we create and how we build them.
Also, after the company is consolidated we take a hands-on approach that results in a collaborative dynamic framed in the following principles:
- We create a growth engine backed on cross-functional services; technology, expert guidance from advisors and access to a network of founders.
- We attract top talent to form powerhouse teams as venture Founders. They take significant equity ownership, creating long-term dedication.
- We house powerful methodologies to tackle key stages – from identifying breakthrough, tech & data-driven business models to successfully restructuring.
Venture Studios are booming and with them lots of ways and tools to engage their teams and to bring all types of benefits to society. Testing and iterating is essential to venture building regardless of product or segment, and working on speed and efficiency of the process should offer the best results.
We invite other Venture Studios/Company Builders/Startup Studios that might be reading this to join the conversation and collaborate with the positioning of the company building model. If you would like to talk to us or find ways to collaborate with our team, shoot us an email at [email protected].