Navigating the Landscape of Startup Studios 2023 in Review and Projections for 2024

January 18, 2024

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Navigating the Landscape of Startup Studios

2023 in Review and Projections for 2024

The landscape of venture studios has undergone significant transformations throughout 2023. At the end of the year, StudioHub hosted under its humble roof its Board members, industry experts, and emerging Startup Studios offering insights during the annual party. And yes, our parties are also meant for knowledge-sharing and networking accompanied by fun and cheers. 

In the ever-evolving world of entrepreneurship, startup studios have emerged as a unique and impactful player. These entities, often referred to as company builders or venture studios, are distinct from traditional accelerators or incubators. This article explores the diverse insights shared by industry leaders during a recent discussion of 2023 year in review, shedding light on the challenges, successes, and future trends within the startup studio landscape.

!Attention: to access the full video of the discussion visit our Community chat by the link and request your access in the respective group chat “Data, articles, links & info”.

Understanding Startup Studios

The term startup studio encompasses a broad range of organizational models, making it challenging to define in conventional terms. However, the overarching theme among these studios is their focus on systematically creating and launching startups. Whether labeled as startup studios, venture studios, or company builders, these entities share a common goal: to provide a structured approach to company creation.

We are delighted to present in this piece a condensed summary of the speakers' perspectives:

Evolution of the Studio Ecosystem

The studio ecosystem has seen substantial changes over the past year, with an increase in the number of studios and a shift in their focus. Niche specialization, particularly in sectors like healthcare and FinTech, is becoming more pronounced.

Diana Lesage, one of the most active Startup Studio advocates,presented insights from her studio database, revealing trends such as a decline in agnostic studios and a rise in more specialized, nuanced niches. Market maps showcased top studio niches, emphasizing the importance of a focused approach.

2023 witnessed a surge in the popularity of venture studios. Factors contributing to this include virtual conferences, podcasts, and reports that have brought these startups into the limelight. Embarking from newcomers in the Startup Studio scene like Max Pog, established industry leaders such as GSSN, and notable figures like Matthew Burris, Farhad Alessandro Mohammadi, alongside numerous other entities, collectively resonated a revolutionary wave, echoing the Startup Studio model across the globe.

Matthew Burris, an internationally recognized startup studio expert and co-founder of Savvy Tinkers Studio, had an interesting reflection on Startup studios’ challenge for conventional definitions. As he recalled, Sarah Anderson, Director of Research at StudioHub, emphasizes the importance of diverse approaches studios take, making the term "studio" somewhat awkward but still fitting. The essential aspect unifying studios is their commitment to company creation, evolving beyond traditional categorizations.

Opportunities and new destinations

Insights from a VC lab program revealed that even venture capitalists acknowledge challenges and the need for maturation in their asset class. A parallel shift in venture studios was noted, indicating a growing awareness and maturation within this model as well.

Jazeer Jamal, the founder of GrowValley, offered to some Studios to apply their unique approach, which involves launching ventures only when partnered with an extraordinary collaborator capable of providing leverage for growth. This model ensures the inclusion of creative partners, such as governments and corporations, leading to both asset creation and revenue generation.

Jamal emphasizes the complexity of working with governments but underscores the benefits, such as long-term relationships and co-risking opportunities. Focus on creating solutions for government challenges and building sustainable ventures has positioned GrowValley as a cash-surplus entity without raising external funds.

Challenges and Insights

Insights from launching a studio highlighted the challenges of fundraising. Traditional VC funding timelines, which can be 18 months or more, make it difficult for studios. The suggestion emerged that studios consider starting as service companies before transitioning into the studio model.

Speakers recognize the challenge of building visibility for startup studios, especially when a significant portion of their activities remain confidential. Studios often focus on promoting their portfolio companies rather than their own existence, and the lack of standardized definitions further complicates public understanding.

Startup Studios in 2024 

Predictions of the guests speakers for 2024 included continued growth of corporate venture building, increased focus on real estate and prop tech studios, and the emergence of wellness and lifestyle-focused studios. Some niches, like ed tech and the future of work, appear to be declining.

The trend of corporate innovation and venture building continues to rise. Trends in studio launches showed a decline in 2023, possibly influenced by economic conditions. Expectations are that this trend may reverse in 2024.

Jazeer Jamal, introduced the concept of a hybrid venture studio based in Dubai. GrowValley operates on a partnership-focused model with governments, tailoring its ventures to align with each government's specific thesis. Jamal highlights the success of their growth-focused, cash-positive strategy, avoiding reliance on external funds. 

Looking ahead to 2024, speakers anticipate a rise in the influence of startup studios, particularly in emerging markets. The emphasis on scalability and partnerships, both private and public, is expected to be a key driver for studios navigating challenges and extending their impact globally.

Future of Startup Studio Data

The speakers acknowledged the need for accurate data, especially in distinguishing between foundation time, fundraising rounds, and exits. Plans were discussed to refine the accuracy of data through collaboration with a Ph.D. analysts.

Dr. Sunny Zhang, on top of being a founder of Born Global Ventures and Board member of StudioHub, is also an academic with a focus on business school education. She discusses the need for collaboration between startup studios and academia. She highlights the importance of academic research in understanding and categorizing different types of studios, ultimately contributing to the education of future entrepreneurs.

Recalibration Strategies for Future

Understanding the nuances of the studio asset class is crucial for investors. The hope for 2024 is that investors will deepen their understanding, facilitating smoother investments into studios.

The awareness growth in the studio model needs to be matched by a deeper understanding by investors. Studios should focus on specific niches, and investors should dive deep into the asset class to navigate challenges effectively.

In the dynamic landscape of startup studios, the convergence of a niche-focused experience team plays a pivotal role in shaping success. The discussions underscored the significance of assembling a team with a deep understanding of a specific niche, emphasizing its profound impact on attracting both investors and founders.

The insights further delved into the strategies vital for attracting experienced founders, elucidating a roadmap to studio success. Central to this roadmap were elements such as crafting a compelling vision, maintaining a niche focus, adopting lean startup practices, and leveraging geographic arbitrage. The collective wisdom shared highlighted that a well-curated, niche experienced team is not only a magnet for investors but also a cornerstone for achieving prosperous outcomes in the competitive realm of startup studios.

Max Pog proposed a four-step stage-gate model for launching studios. The model suggests solving initial problems with a small fund, validating ideas to attract founders, and then raising a larger fund after demonstrating success.


The world of startup studios is dynamic, diverse, and evolving with key trends pointing toward niche specialization, increased awareness, and a maturing ecosystem. Insights from industry leaders reveal the multifaceted nature of these entities, each with its own unique approach to company creation. As the startup studio landscape continues to mature, collaboration, scalability, and a focus on long-term sustainability will likely be integral to their success. 

Successful studios in the future are expected to combine niche focus, lean practices, and experienced founding teams to attract high-quality entrepreneurs and investors. The future promises to bring increased visibility and recognition for startup studios, solidifying their role as vital contributors to global entrepreneurship.

!Attention: to access the full video of the discussion visit our Community chat by the link and request your access in the respective group chat “Data, articles, links & info”.

About the Author

Manush Melkumyan

Manush is currently the Executive Partner at StudioHub. Prior to this, she has been working in the top management in the Corporate and earlier in the Public sectors with 10+ years of engagement within the Startup ecosystem as an entrepreneur, mentor and consultant. “Life more than anything amazes me and I aspire to animate everything around!” M.

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