Our guide to the process

Our process spans a period of 6-8 weeks . We generally decide which startup to work with in the months of April and September, but our applications are rolling through the year!

Anchor

1-2 Days

What you do

Articulate your idea, fill the form, read the agreement and if our goals align, we schedule a meeting.

What We do

We want to understand your vision and find a mutual fit between your idea of impact and our goals.

Acclimatise

2-3 Weeks

What You do

Meet us (in-person/ online) to share your idea, business plan, challenges and find ways to create tangible goals.

What We do

We want to understand you and the startup on factors of capability, compatibility with us, commitment and commercial viability.

Build Foundation

1 Month

What you do

Shake on the terms and create a small budget with an action plan to start building your idea.

What We do

We want to understand mutual fit related to values and team compatibility, as we work together on one or two key projects.

Plant the Flag!

1 Year to infinity & beyond!

What We do Together

Build together hand in glove for the next 1-1.5 years to launch a sustainable and strong startup! We will nurture and become the true co-founding team - in it for life!

Start Building!
Startup Studio
Magic Sauce
Investment
Eligibility
Selection
Time Duration
Get Involved
Location

Startup Studio

1. What is a startup studio?

Startup Studios transform unique ideas into strong independent companies. The secret sauce of a Startup Studio (also called a Venture Builder or a Startup Factory) is the way they work on startup ideas. The industry term for this is “operational model” but there is no reason to use vague language to make things complicated. A Startup Studio’s goal is to develop startup ventures until they’re full-blown, wildly successful, companies. They do this by finding or developing great ideas, using technology and funding to build minimal viable products (MVPs), and going through the process of validating these in the real world. If all goes well, the Studio “spins off” the new venture- meaning the Studio recognizes this new company they’ve developed could be huge and now they need to find some people to run it as an independent startup venture. Once they’ve recruited a team to come run the startup, the Studio team (who built the startup from scratch) hands off the venture to the new team and gets back to work on the next great startup idea.” (excerpt from The Entrepreneurs Guide To Startup Studio Models, published on Medium 16 Jun'20)

2. How is a startup studio different from an incubator or an accelerator?

An incubator in India is typically a government backed organization within an educational institute that provides space, some capital (upto 15lks) and typically additional knowledge resources, custom to each incubator. Examples are CIIE at IIM Ahmedabad and NASSCOM 10,000 startups warehouse in Bengaluru.  An accelerator, is typically a batch or cohort based startup support organization, they support founders for a few months (2-3 months), provide capital (~$50k-$100k), help in developing key networks, and typically end in a demo day where investors can choose to support with a larger cheque size. Marquee global accelerators include Y Combinator and Techstars, Axilor is one of the most active indian accelerators along with a number of corporate accelerators. ​Startup Studios do not run programs as accelerators do and they don’t have cohorts like incubators do. While incubators and accelerators work with a 'low contact and more startups for high returns' methodology, startup studios function as 'high contact with few startups for high returns' methodology.

1. What is a Startup Studio?

A startup studio is a hybrid between different models of incubators, accelerators and VCs (venture capitalist). It is a collection of experienced founders and founding team members (of past startups big and small) who come together in order to raise startups from scratch and be deeply involved on an everyday basis, along with signing the cheque.

They can also be called many different things; Startup factory, Startup foundry, Company Builder, Venture Studio, Venture Builders etc. Many names but one aim - to work with early stage idea startups and help them reach escape velocity. 

Read more about startup studio’s and the various models here.

2. How is a Startup Studio different from an incubator or an accelerator?

Simply put, the main difference is that Incubators and Accelerators don’t co-found ventures, Startup Studios do.

It may seem as though incubators, accelerators and startup studios - all do the same thing, but they don’t. Accelerators help founding teams move their venture from the “initial traction stage” to the “series-A stage”. Accelerators typically only accept startups into their program if they have market traction and some form of the product built. Incubators on the other hand function much like accelerators but they’re more open to working with early-stage ventures without traction. Unlike accelerators, incubators don’t have cohorts and they don’t have a structured educational programming process for entrepreneurs to follow. Incubators work with founders to build their venture from “MVP stage” to “first round of funding stage”.

A startup studio will work side-by-side with the founders to bring the product to the market. Unlike Incubators and accelerators, they put their internal team to work along with the founders to build the organisations from scratch. Once the product has achieved market traction (typically after 6 months) the Studio members will begin to replace themselves on the team with outside hires. The original founding team remains with the startup through its scale-up and spin-out process.

If you’re nerdy about these things click here to read more.

3. Why should a founder join a startup studio?

If you’re an idea stage founder, or have received some traction on your product/service and are looking for a cofounding team which can help you reach escape velocity, then startup studios are the right choice for you. 

They not only provide you with a founding team to help support in marketing, finance, HR, payroll etc, but also help you with much-needed mentoring, resources, strategic guidance, and help with fundraising. 

If you don’t need professional help, but need resources such as office space and product testing, an incubator may be the solution. If you don’t need deep expertise on how to build and just want timely guidance then accelerators should be your pick.

4. How is build3 different from the rest of the folks ?

In our experience of building startups and being part of the ecosystem, we believe that any idea can be made successful with the right resources and engagement. Our team is made of founders or founding teams of growing startups like 91springboard, Delhivery, Dunzo, TruCup to name a few. We understand how to build startups and its muscle memory for us at this point. We bring on board a variety of key skills like brand, marketing, process and systems design, product development, financial planning and analysis, operations, HR, sales, fundraising and strategy which are required for any founding team. 

While we believe that startup building takes precedence over raising funds, we do provide funding support of upto Rs.1 crore ($133k) per startup directly and have the ability to syndicate more funds over time as might be required by the startup. We work hands-on and deeply with our founders, what that means is that we will not just guide you but also help you execute projects as per your needs. 

To know more about our team click here.

5. Is build3 an investor, a cofounder, a mentor, or something else?

All of the above !

Think of us as your slightly more experienced, and better resourced (team, capital and networks), cofounder. You are the founder. We are 'the Sherpa' to your journey. We guide, support and work with you. But at the end of the day you decide how to run things :) And it always stays like that. 

6. How much does build3 invest? And for how much equity?

We invest upto Rs.1 crore ($133k) , based on the financial projections you and us build together during the idea validation stage.

Before signing the final agreement, we go through a collaborative work period with every startup we are assessing. The intent is to validate the product/service and our ability to work together - so that we are all on-board and in sync when we actually get working. During this validation period, we will release upto 10% of the overall financial requirement - generally this period lasts around 4-6 weeks and by the end of it, everyone has a clear idea of the product/service as well as the team compatibility.

In the off chance we discover during the validation period that we don't connect for long term building, no harm no foul - we will part ways amicably and build3 would receive prorated equity of only the amount of capital infused. As an example - if Rs. 10 lakhs ($13k) was invested (of the total Rs. 1 crore ($133k)committed), build3 will receive 3.3% equity. Also, we will continue to support each other as part of a broader community!

We’re not looking to force fit our model, it doesn’t work for everybody, we get that.  But for whom it does, we look forward to embarking on a fun and productive journey that's more likely to produce positive outcomes for all its stakeholders

7. I’m already funded or only looking for funds, can we engage?

For founders and startups only looking for an investor, we are not the ideal partners. We look to bring our team, resources AND capital to the table, and not just capital. This ensures we are truly committed and excited towards all startups that we cobuild.

If you are already funded we don’t mind coming in, as long as you have not done a round bigger than Rs 1cr. ($133k).

8. At what stage of the startup does build3 typically engage?

We engage with founders anywhere between idea stage to product market fit. Basically if you have an idea and want the firepower to roll it into the real world. Or you have some revenues and are looking for someone to turbo charge your journey. We are the right folks. If you’re already scaling up, you don’t need us, we wish you luck and will be your cheerleaders, but not your partners.

9. Do you focus on any specific industries/sectors/themes?

As build3, we are looking to be a part of the journey with impact focused startups looking to work to better the mind, body and earth. In order to find common and aligned areas of passion, here are some of ours. These are by no means exhaustive, and are meant to be a conversation starter. ​

  • Developing and deploying renewable sources of energy
  • Halting and reversing climate change
  • Enabling productivity and collaboration of people
  • Educating and facilitating a healthier mind, body and spirit (including but not limited to exercise, meditation)
  • Improving the awareness, production quality, and distribution of healthy food.

While we do not have any specific or hard boundaries on what we will do and what we won't do, we believe that we will do our best work when we share an area of passion.

10. What’s your selection process?

Our selection process spans upto 6-12 weeks. We have a rolling application cycle, through the year. It starts off with a form that we request you to fill. It dovetails into online/offline conversations, some project work, in person meetings and finally a collaborative project to solve a specific problem in your startup- to confirm mutual fit in terms of commitment, capability, compatibility and commercial viability. Post this, we sign a term sheet and voila - we begin our cobuilding journey! :)

To read more in detail about this, check our selection process page.

11. After selection and signing the agreement, what if I don’t feel I’m getting enough value from the program?

We hope for the best, but are prepared for all outcomes. In that odd chance that we don’t get the hand in glove kind of a fit, While realising that we might not be fit for each other is unfortunate, it should by no means be unpleasant. We would work together swiftly to de-engage and become independent. In this scenario, both sides will only accrue benefit for value imparted till date. For example: we would only receive equity for funds invested so far vis-a-vis the entire amount envisaged at the time of shakehand.

12. How long will our engagement last?

In our experience, the journey We anticipate the journey from an idea to scaling up typically takes upto 12-24 months. Consequently, we will engage actively with you and your startup for a further period of 12-24 months (we’re happy to make adjustments based on mutual calendars or exclusive needs of the startup). You can read more about this in our “Do you ever leave build3?”

13. When and how does our engagement end?

There will be a point where the startup and build3 -both will recognize that we are not spending a few hours collaborating everyday and are perhaps spending a few hours a week. Taking cue from that, we can safely say that the mutual dependency would have reduced by then. At this point you would have gained a large degree of financial and operational independence. It's important that we do this right. In order to plan the spin off, we discuss how to handle matters of shared infrastructure, team members, capital requirements and continuing support requirements. We’ll chalk out a custom plan and do what we do best - execute.

14. How do I get started?

Head over to the apply page or drop us an email at studio@build3.org. Tell us what you are building and why, then we follow a rigorous process which lasts 6-12 weeks with various meetings and project work to better understand each other. 

15. I don’t have an idea or startup right now, but I like the idea of build3 and would like to become a part of it.

If you are reading this answer, it means that you are part of our tribe! Besides being a founder at a startup aligned to our vision of bettering the mind, body or earth, you could also join us if: 

If you have an entrepreneurial bent of mind, and are willing to commit to the journey (explained below) then drop us a line at studio@build3.org

What this means is:

A. You don't feel satisfied at a larger organization perhaps due to the lack of flexibility or the amount of influence that you have.

B. You don’t mind working on a basic salary that only covers your needs until you find the right fit at build3 or one of its startups

C. You are willing to commit at least a year to this period of learning and discovery before you find a place in one of our startups or build your own. 

Drop us an email on studio@build3.org and let’s get talking!

16. Where are you based?

We are based out of an independent villa, walking distance from a beautiful beach in Candolim, Goa.

17. Will I be able to work with you remotely?

While we are location agnostic, during the initial part of the journey of understanding mutual fitment and building deeply, we would prefer to work with our founders in Goa. The intent is to establish chemistry to brainstorm and build together at a suitable pace, which is best done being together in the same room.

Our guide to the process

Our selection process is broken down into three major stages that span over a period of six to twelve weeks. At each stage, we will work with you to make sure that value is derived by all involved. These stages typically involve some of the following activities - clarifying vision and values, developing strategy, devising product market fit strategies, building business plans and financial models.We recognize that different founders are at different stages of their startup lifecycle, we commit to adjust to your requirements and pace. We’re ready when you’re ready.

Stage 1 : Discover

In this stage, we aim to identify (with a high level of probability) that there will be  a mutual fit between our goals , your idea and approach. In order to do that, we request you to articulate the idea by filling up this form. We also request that you read our partnership approach and terms. It serves to  share our thought process and working terms with you. 

Timelines? Once we get your application form, and we at build3 feel that your goals align with ours we’ll schedule a meeting with you. We’ll typically get back to you within 2 working days from the date we receive your application. 

Stage 2 : Establish Fit

During this stage of the process, we are looking to dive deeper into topics that are deemed to be current opportunities or challenges by you, through these discussions we will populate our above mentioned 4C framework. We will probably meet with you 2-3 times (in-person/ online) to understand your journey, business plan, challenges and deep dive where relevant, showcasing what value we can provide through your startup journey. Due to our uncommon approach, we have found that founders want to discuss details of our partnership, we typically schedule a conversation to focus on our working relationship (financial and operational) at this stage. 

If a strong fit is felt between the frontline build3 team members and the founder(s)we will request you to create a business plan & financial model, followed by a meeting with the rest of our team and share on the terms (of course post due diligence) and create a validation budget with an action plan to start building your idea.

Timelines? In our experience, this stage usually closes in 4-6 weeks. But it all depends on how fast you can drive this.

Stage 3 :Build 

This stage is where we truly start working together as a team, it typically lasts for 12 months. During this stage we provide the first 10% of our commitment immediately and the remaining 90% after ~2 months. At that point we do a reality check to ensure our partnership is progressing well both from an achievement (execution of mutually agreed goals, and market acceptance of our product/service) and compatibility perspective. During this stage process we will provide the first 10% of our commitment immediately and the remaining 90% after 2 months, once we have proven we can work together AND achieve goals mutually agreed upon (execution and business model validation oriented)up to 10% of your capital requirements. The idea is to check 1) if we can work together and 2) if the market wants what we are selling. Post validation, we get into some serious building!

Timelines? Validation is a 6-8 week process post which building is our lifetime partnership ❤

Discover

1-2 Days

What you do

Articulate your idea, fill the form, read the agreement and if our goals align, we schedule a meeting.

What We do

We want to understand your vision and find a mutual fit between your idea of impact and our goals.

Establish Fit

2-3 Weeks

What You do

Let's meet (in-person/ online) a few times to understand your journey, business plan, challenges, deep dive into build3, create project work and tangible goals.

What We do

We want to understand you and the startup on factors of capability, compatibility with us, commitment and commercial viability.

Build

1 Month

What you do

Shake on the terms and create a validation budget with an action plan to start building your idea. Post validation, we get into some serious building!

What We do

We want to understand mutual fit related to values and team compatibility, as we work together on one or two key projects.

Scale up

1 Year to infinity & beyond!

What We do Together

Build together hand in glove for the next 1-1.5 years to launch a sustainable and strong startup! We will nurture and become the true co-founding team - in it for life!

Start Building!