January 7, 2020
Can you imagine why, in the past centuries, pioneers and explorers pushed themselves beyond the known-frontiers, again and again?
Ok, probably for money. But, mostly, for this inner need of a never-ending fresh-start!
For the sake of the discovery.
They were kind of addicted to starting all over.
Today, almost every place in the world has been colonized, so there's no place left for land discovery. But pioneers are still out there with their pure spirit looking for new frontiers.
In such a context, modern pioneers tried to reach the “start it all over" fever in new fields like space exploration, science or business - some of them, in all of the above.
Startups are a perfect land for people seeking new ventures, so they happily swapped the explorer hat for an entrepreneur hat.
Thousands and thousands of startups suddenly came out of nowhere, in every field. Some got success, some didn't, but each of them was driven by the very same pioneer spirit.
A group of those who embraced the startup model were still unsatisfied, still struggling against their hunger for innovation - a single startup simply wasn't enough.
These people soon discovered a way to keep their innovating spirit alive. After tasting what it's like to create (and sell) a startup, they thought it would be awesome to stay in this loop over and over.
So they created parallel entrepreneurship and became Company creators: they created enterprises whose output was nothing but other enterprises.
And here we come to the main topic. This business model, yet at an early stage of its existence, is already spreading all over the world. But, as it is so recent, there is no agreement on the right term to define it.
They call their companies startup studios, startup factories, startup foundries, venture builders, venture studios, company creators and company builders.
As you can see in the chart below, some of these nomenclatures are used less than others, and some are gaining momentum right now, like startup studios and startup factories.
Each of these names highlights a different aspect of this business model's true vocation.
Let's go for a quick tour.
This is, maybe, the most evocative and thus more difficult to understand: it refers to the big film studios, in which different movies were shot at the same time.
In the same way, a startup studio is designed to carry on different startup projects simultaneously.
There is no challenge in imagining where this name came from: it immediately sends to your mind a postcard from a perfectly automatized, highly-efficient always-open environment where all the magic happens.
Startup Factory suggests the precise idea of a Fordist startup manufacturing machine: and it's quite true.
Startup Foundry sounds romantic and it reminds me of an alchemist: a Startup Foundry melts different ingredients to forge something bigger, stronger - and possibly disruptive.
Here comes again the old spirit of the pioneers! Both Venture Studio and Venture Builder recall the hazard, the risk, the unknown.
Like the explorers of the past, venture builders are called to go further and find new tracks, putting themselves firsthand into the wild.
This is all about crazy people building up companies like they're playing LEGO. And the mindset is completely correct: this kind of business is a sandbox for visionary entrepreneurs.
But telling the truth...
All these names have been given to defining a new concept, a brand new way of creating startups.
Startup studios, startup factories, startup foundries, venture builders or venture studios... Doesn't matter how you call them - please just don't call them incubators.
A Startup Studio, however you call it, produces startups, while an incubator or accelerator just boosts them up.