Business Studios

Having watched John Borthwick's Betaworks develop over several years, seeing other groups using the same operating model is interesting. It seems to address the biggest difficulty I see with accelerators, which is the short duration. Because they are typically only 13 weeks long, they have to catch the startups at just the right point in their lifecycle; and there are a lot of worthwhile ideas which have a much longer development and sales cycle, especially if they are a new idea, rather than an incremental improvement on something which people already understand.

Quotes from the TechCrunch article 'The rise of the company builders'

"Studios .. using entrepreneurial expertise and in-house resources to help generate ideas and build companies at scale"

" In Lightbank’s case, the firm has built and scaled sales teams across a number of industries and companies and can help startups quickly manage this area.

Borthwick echoes Lee’s thoughts on the value of a shared platform of data, analytics and monetization tools. Betaworks has a layer of tools that its companies, which include Chartbeat, Bitly and others, all use. He compares this to the movie studio model, where companies like Disney and Universal create individual movies but have a layer of services in-house that promote films, and provide other functions across these various content plays."

Andreesen Horowitz is being a company builder, too, using as its models the Creative Artists Agency a boutique investment bank, and the original JP Morgan.

They have "45 operating professionals in the firm who aren't general partners...across five disciplines: executive recruiting; engineering recruiting, so two different what we call talent functions; a function we call market development, which helps companies meet the big companies that matter in their industry. We'll do on the order of 1200 briefings in our executive briefing center downstairs with Fortune 500 management teams, connecting them to the best and brightest new startups. And then fourth, marketing and PR, which is fundamental: How do you get your message out, how do you break through all the noise. And then fifth is corporate development: How do you raise money, how do you go public, how do you -- you know, if it comes to it, how do you sell yourself, and how do you deal with all the issues around corporate finance."

Does Scotland have businesses which support developing companies this way ? It seems there ought to be room for several different studios, addressing different vertical markets, since the selling and company building process is different for things which aren't dominated by software.
The other question for non US markets is whether the venture model is intrinsic; if so, this won't be easy to apply elsewhere. If not, and raising money from the local and US market is one of the disciplines, then this model could have broad implications.

Notice the absence in these articles of any government or academic involvement.


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