ATLANTA, GA / ACCESSWIRE / October 13, 2021 / Michael van Lier is an entrepreneur, innovator, and tech evangelist with over 20 years of experience empowering the next wave of tech entrepreneurship.
Michael along with Managing Director, Sharon Klaver and Director of Product, Robbert van Geldrop, founded Builders, a tech-based startup studio, in 2015. Michael is currently the Managing Director of the studio, which is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He specializes in fundraising, venture building, and product strategy. With a great deal of experience in each of these disciplines, Michael has been able to draw from experiences throughout his career and use his past successes to inform strategy and scale efficiently.
The team at Startup Studio Insider, a creative and collaborative online community that discusses the nuances and potential of the Startup Studio model, sat down with Michael to talk about the different aspects of working behind the scenes of a successful studio, what are the next trends in the industry, innovative ways to launch ventures with the help of studios. Let's take a look at this interesting conversation:
Michael Van Lier's Formula for Success
When we asked Michael what was his favorite part of working as a startup studio, he mentioned that for him it is the ability to share the love for tech with a community of enthusiasts and entrepreneurs who have endless grit and creativity throughout the whole venture process.
"The encouragement and support that each member of the startup studio can offer allow the creative process to be incredibly valuable and results in a major impact on the world around all of us," said Michael. "There are moments in each company's growth, which are just pure magic, like discovering the founder-opportunity fit and signing the first launching customers."
For Michael, the formula to success for a startup studio is not always the same. At its core, a startup studio is a company that creates and launches companies. But Builders has aimed to be more than that. They pride themselves on being an independent studio, which means that they generate ideas' internally and build these out with co-founders until the companies are able to self-support themselves.
In contrast, Michael also mentioned that, while the startup studio environment can offer plenty of success, there come some inherent challenges throughout the planning and execution processes, such as spinning out a company, which as he mentioned, can sometimes be a double-edged sword.
In this case, he does not mean that spinning out a business is an impossible quest all entrepreneurs go through, but in most cases, studios tend to launch and fund companies through the first rough and unpredictable phases of the company creation process. This is where most entrepreneurs struggle to find the right pace and progress to capture true momentum. This also means that when the partnership between the studio and co-founders prospers, it's a real joy to be a part of the team.
Thus, when a company finds a product-market fit and starts rapidly growing, it knows how to come out on top and becomes independent of the studio. This is what Michael and the team at Builders strive for.
A Team Effort
The independent piece is what truly makes Builders unique because they act on ideas from investors, entrepreneurs, and organizations that are ultimately nourished by the work and clear validation process that turns learnings into a viable business model.
"We work on both sides of the equation: optimizing the idea and executing with a well-balanced and experienced team of venture builders," Michael noted. "We love the intellectual challenges that come from talking with partners."
Michael also emphasized the importance of the hands-on involvement that studios offer and how this is necessary to build a great product. While it might be almost impossible to know each and every detail of what goes into developing a great venture, it is important to stay ahead and set clear expectations that will lead you there. For that reason, Michael believes in the importance of having the right team on board.
"We like to be a north star for our founders and the team involved in getting the product right out of the door. This is why it is important to have the right people there when you need them. We have been able to do this by always selecting two co-founders who can fully focus on the technical and business aspect of the development process, respectively. Then the studio acts like a third co-founder and early investor to support the business needed until the company is capable of supporting itself on its own," said Michael.
Since its creation, Builders has expanded its portfolio of companies such as Influentials and IPS, showing excellent results and allowing founders and team insiders to learn from the progress and start the next round of planning for the studio.
With that in mind, Michael believes in the power of dynamics and how this team compatibility can bring more opportunities to the horizon.
Startup Studio Model Gaining Momentum
Startup studios have been around for more than 25 years, and there are about 500 of them out there (with many more being founded as we speak). And just like Michael's, there are some great success stories that have come from the creation of startup studios from all around the world. We hope his story and insights have opened up the door for you to learn more about the entrepreneurial career that startup studios can lead to. For more information about startup studios, check out Startup Studio Insider on Medium for weekly blogs and insightful content.
SOURCE: Cambridge Global