Startups are built in a garage or late at night on a flickering screen in bed. At least that’s the common myth around entrepreneurship and founders. Sometimes though, ideas are strategically built and not born in the shower. And just because you work in a big corporation doesn’t mean you can never reach this level of spirit and foster innovation within the company.
In recent years, several so-called startup studios have popped up, facilitating and incubating products and ideas. Last.fm founder and Speedinvest partner Michael Breidenbrücker spent years advising companies on how to innovate in a fast-pacing world where the little startup in the garage could become your next big competitor. At the same time, Speedinvest founder Oliver Holle found more and more corporate managers asking for help. So when they two got together, they decided to join forces and create Speedinvest Studio.
Described as “company builder of entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs”, Michael and his co-manager Christoph Böckle are offering a platform for developing a product or even a startup as company spin-off. Their motto: “Let’s build a thing!” A lot of corporates want to get involved in the startup community and find solutions for their own challenges, but find it tough to get it started within an existing organisation. “So we help them develop new products and find talents to execute and build a new company”, Michael explains.
Usually, these projects turn into startups that both Speedstartstudio and their corporate partner are invested in. “We basically create the startup they would want to invest in”, says Marie-Helene Ametsreiter who supports several Speedstartstudio projects. “It’s essential that the project is outside the corporate structure. I guess you could call it excubator rather than incubator”, Michael says. The studio itself is an independent company that Speedinvest and other corporations are shareholders of.
A year after its launch, Speedstartstudio runs six projects at the moment. Their biggest one to date is a joint venture with the Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB. Their management approached Speedstartstudio to build an extensive platform for national transport services and route planners that also involve ridesharing services. “They wanted to do it themselves before someone else does”, says Michael about the platform called “iMobility”. Together with the ÖBB, the studio came up with the strategy and business plan and hired a management team. The platform is expected to launch next year.
Speedstartstudio projects don’t always take that long. Following an individual approach, defined milestones determine how long the collaboration between the corporate partner and Speedstartstudio will last. It could be anywhere from six to 24 months, depending on the success factors the company builders are going for.
“We’re bringing two worlds together: Traditional industries share valuable expertise and knowledge while the new economy is known for its agile product development”, Marie-Helene lists the two factors of success for Speedstartstudio. Michael adds: “The important thing is that we create an environment where interests of all partners are aligned and the individuals own their products. It’s not like getting a job done. It’s doing your thing and taking chances to build something big.”