As a new venture studio with a different design than the normal, we are often asked these questions:
Q: Why do you publish the Studio’s fees and suggested capital raise?
A: Transparency. They are areas of great mystery for new entrepreneurs, and we want to make it clear both what you need to be looking to raise and for what. We don’t expect that entrepreneurs have that capital – after all, a big part of the Studio process is to help you raise money appropriate to the stage of your company, which we are eager to do.
Q: What is your B-Corporation charter exactly say?
A: NEXT Studios, LLC, is chartered to advance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Indiana. Our stakeholders are our employees, our environment, our suppliers, our customers, our shareholders and our community. We pledge to consider our stakeholder’s interests in our actions, without prioritizing one stakeholder over another. These values are present in our charter in order to ensure they transcend changes in management, investment or ownership.
Q: Why are you a B-Corporation ?
A: As the first Benefits (B) Corporation venture studio, we provide an alternative to the traditional system. As such, we hold ourselves accountable to both financial success as a business, while supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Indiana. In our first year of business we are actively trying to figure out what this means, and what we will measure as part of our annual reporting requirement. Some steps we have taken so far include.
• By working with local educational partners we are looking to increase the number of tech founders,
• By keeping our staff small, we have a chance to lift the local service provider ecosystem by helping startups leverage it.
• By funding companies through appropriate vehicles at appropriate amounts at appropriate times, we keep the cost of capital low while reducing risk for investors.
• By working in existing co-working spaces across our State, we provide visible on-ramps for talent and investors into the innovation ecosystem.
Q: Why do you say you are the Studio “for entrepreneurs, with entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs?”
A: We structured the Studio as a partnership between successful entrepreneurs. We run the Studio, and we want to give back to our community. The “sweat equity” we ask from startups is held in a pool to benefit our managing and operating partners, as well as the leaders of our portfolio companies. This is the “glue” that holds us together, working for the common benefit. We entrepreneurs truly created something all about creating new successful entrepreneurs by working together with other entrepreneurs.
Q: Do you have a traditional “venture fund” associated with the Studio?
A: Traditional, no. We like to match the funding we help you secure to the stage of the development process you’re at. In the beginning that’s friends and family, later a select group of angels, and still later the “organized” venture capital ecosystem here and beyond. We are also working on an innovative new type of venture fund – more soon!
Q: Does NEXT Studios compete with co-working spaces?
A: No, we work in them, and are complementary to them. We observe a lot of empty desks and offices around our state, and we want to light them up with our intentional process to create new companies.
Q: If I wanted to just “hire” the NEXT Studios team, can I?
A: Yes. We have corporate and community innovation programs, as well as paid engagements to help spawn new products and offerings for existing companies. Sometimes our best new startups are our best existing companies!