The number of studios across the globe now tops 200, with more arriving on a regular basis. In fact, many emerging businesses making an impact on the current economy saw their genesis in a startup studio.
The top companies in this space enjoy reputations as experts in transforming a compelling business idea into a profitable new business. They employ talented professionals combining state of the art technical know-how with a keen business sense. This mix allows a startup’s founders to focus on bootstrapping a business as opposed to running its day-to-day operations.
We’ve had the pleasure of engaging with many startup studios in the space and have put together this list of the top startup studios for 2022:
John Borthwick formed the Betaworks startup studio in 2008. Located in New York City, the studio focuses on a deep analysis of consumer trends to inform its process of identifying great product ideas and turning them into successful businesses. Their portfolio of companies includes Giphy, Gimlet, and Streem.
The global eFounders startup studio boasts offices in Berlin, New York, Paris, and San Francisco as well as over 1,000 employees. Founded in 2011 by Quentin Nickmans and Thibaud Elziere, this studio transforms great ideas into enterprise software startups. Their portfolio includes Crew, Collective, and Canyon.
NineTwoThree Venture Studio
Formed in 2012 by Andrew Amann and Pavel Kirillov, Boston’s NineTwoThree Venture Studio combines innovative technical chops with strong business domain knowledge. They focus on transforming compelling business ideas into captivating digital ventures, including mobile apps and interactive websites. Hydrofinity, Altar Live, and the Dorel Baby Monitor make up part of their portfolio.
New York City-based Human Ventures was formed in 2015 by Heather Hartnett, Joe Marchese, and Megan O’Connor. Their ultimate goal involves investing in businesses aimed at meeting a variety of human needs. Their portfolio includes Paloma Health, Current, and The Muse.
San Francisco’s Wilbur Labs formed in 2016 by Phil Santoro and David Kolodny. The studio identifies industry pain points, and forms startups around concepts solving these issues. Their portfolio includes VacationRenter, Vitabox, and Joblist.
Founded by Jack Abraham in 2012, the San Francisco-based Atomic leverages a disciplined approach to form disruptive startup businesses from innovative ideas. Some of the companies birthed in this studio include Hims and Hers, Bungalow, Homebound, and Paravision.
Based in The Netherlands, Michael van Lier formed Builders in Rotterdam in 2015. They focus on building nascent technology companies powered by innovative ideas and experienced operational know-how, combined with strong capital sources. Influentials, Obey, and IPS rank among the top businesses formed at this studio.
Mark S. McNally founded Laguna Beach’s Nobody Studios in 2020. The firm combines investors, entrepreneurs, and creative talent to build businesses with true value and a human connection. Parentipity is the highlight of the studio’s portfolio.
Pioneer Square Labs
Seattle’s Pioneer Square Labs began operations in 2015; formed by Ben Gilbert, Mike Galgon, Greg Gottesman, and Geoff Entress. Like other effective startup studios, they match great ideas and entrepreneurs with sources of venture capital. Their portfolio includes Boundless, Glow, and Gradient.
Miles Dotson and Devan Fanfair formed the San Francisco-located Devland in 2016. They combine a brilliant technical team with entrepreneurs to bootstrap compelling new business ideas. E-BX, Rain Research, and Content-X are some of the businesses formed at this studio.
With offices in LA and Phoenix, Coplex formed in 2018 by Anthony Johnson, Ilya Pozin, Nikola Mickic, and Zach Ferres. This studio works closely with existing corporations, providing them with the entrepreneurial energy to craft valid new businesses. Their portfolio includes Yellow Bird, Steady Install, and Pluto.
Formed in 2015 by Mike Fitzgerald, Scott Dorsey, Eric Tobias and Kristian Andersen, High Alpha is located in Indianapolis. The organization is made up of three smaller companies, with a focus on building nascent businesses in the SaaS space. Their portfolio includes Luma, Bolster, and Shaker.
Santa Monica’s Zuma Ventures began operations in 2014, formed by Allen Hurf and David Carter. A technology-focused startup incubator, the studio typically works on multiple initiatives simultaneously. ProspectWise, Flying Yak, and Wizr highlight Zuma’s portfolio.
Founded by Garret Camp in 2013, Expa has locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and London. This studio focuses on the mobile app development space, relying on the open sharing of knowledge and ideas. Aero, Collective, and Haus are three examples of companies formed in this studio.
Rocket Internet formed in Berlin in 2007, founded by Marc Samwer, Oliver Samwer, Alexander Samwer, and Fabio Tran. As highlighted by their name, they build Internet companies leveraging proven web-based growth models in the process. Global Savings Group, Bluenest, and Everstox highlight their portfolio.
Science formed in Santa Monica in 2011 by Greg Gilman, Michael Jones, Mike Macadaan, Peter Pham, and Tom Dare. They leverage a centralized platform to source trends, ideas, and talent vetted across their entire portfolio. Notable startups in their portfolio include Dollar Shave Club, Athena, and The Good Patch.
The Los Angeles-based Colab began operations in 2013, formed by Jon Bradford. They are known for turning compelling ideas – even those drawn on a napkin – into successful modern businesses. Their portfolio includes Candid, Charge, and Scriptera.
If you’re looking to start or grow your own startup studio, check out our Digital Venture Studio Playbook which outline’s NineTwoThree’s journey as an agency builder.