Many entrepreneurs turn to the startup studio model when a traditional job does not fulfill their dreams and goals. In many cases, they often seek a solution to a problem they are passionate about, but haven't yet found through a traditional career.
Startup studios allow founders from all different backgrounds to start their own journey and mold it into a successful business. Additionally, studios have created global job opportunities and allowed people from across the world to connect and grow in this ecosystem, in ways they may not have without the model.
With the goal to validate 30 startups and build 10 each year, their team keeps busy providing the necessary resources and guidance to move things along. Their full product road maps include marketing, sales plans, customer research, product market fit, go-to-market strategies, advertising, video services, websites, landing pages, CRM and so much more!
NineTwoThree boasts an impressive portfolio of human-centric product design. Here are some of their top projects:
A side job that started as a software subscription service, called Inigo, providing digital business cards and over 600,000 downloads, quickly turned into two founders chasing after their dreams of venture building. After working every night from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., Andrew Amann and Pavel Kirillov eventually sold the company and created the studio NineTwoThree, named after the countless hours they poured in. They not only had a passion for this model, but they wanted their long nights to pave the way to provide a vocation for others like them.
With a vision to build digital products that solve complex engineering ideas, the founders started formulating a venture studio, where they fully integrated themselves into the building process of each product. Having both come from a background and education in engineering, it was important to them that they remained as involved as possible and now focus on creating the systematized machine that builds profitable companies for others.
“Our model, albeit a Startup Studio model, exists to build scalable and reliable products for clients with funding in sales and marketing.”
Andrew Amann is the CEO and co-founder of NineTwoThree Venture Studio, a two-time Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company in the United States, and the leading mobile app development studio in Boston as ranked by Clutch. co. Since co-founding NineTwoThree Venture Studio in 2012, Andrew has helped launch 50 apps for funded startups and tech brands and launched 14 startups internally-funded startups. He is an expert in understanding how products are built and assists clients in conceptualizing, designing, and launching revenue-producing applications while teaching best practices in business building.
Amann is an experienced intrapreneur through innovating product development and entrepreneur. He is responsible for three patents for supply chain processes while he worked as a nuclear submarine engineer. He has successfully launched fourteen startups, including the digital business card solution, Inigo App, acquired by Royaltie, now the fourth fastest-growing company in Canada.
Amann excels at bootstrapping startups without the involvement of venture capital and tweets about how to build and maintain profitable companies.
Pavel Kirillov is the CTO and co-founder of NineTwoThree Venture Studio, a two-time Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company in the United States, and the leading mobile app development agency in Boston as ranked by Clutch.co. Since co-founding NineTwoThree Venture Studio in 2012, Pavel has led the development of 50 apps for funded startups and tech brands and built 14 startups internally-funded startups. His expertise ranges from smaller lead teams to large scale enterprises and he has successfully built global development teams across multiple industries.
Describing himself as someone who breathes startup technology, Pavel has spent over twenty years working as a software engineer, advisor, and technology leader for companies like Micron Technology, Profitect, Inc., and Intel. Along with his partner Andrew Amann, Pavel successfully launched and sold the digital business card solution, Inigo App, acquired by Royaltie, which is now the fourth fastest-growing company in Canada.
Pavel is a passionate technologist and bootstrapper that has the unique background needed to understand both hardware and software, having previously worked on solutions including healthcare, eCommerce, supply chain operations systems, and childcare management systems.
NineTowThree keeps an evolving approach to the studio model, allowing them to acquire bigger opportunities over time. They started by incubating Their own ideas and attempting to market them while running the agency. They quickly started to hire CEOs to run the businesses they started. This created one success and many failures as the CEO was vital to the livelihood of the product.
Now, entrepreneurs will pay them for development, in which they will occasionally join them in the equity round. This partnership has allowed them to get referrals and relationships with VC firms and entrepreneurial groups around the country. It has also allowed them to seep into tech brands with the same problems. Basically, a larger corporation will have a need for a new revenue stream or increased scalable application. They require exact expertise in product building to achieve their dream product and NIneTwoThree is happy to oblige.
“Our Studio has the exact fingerprint to take the idea that currently has product market fit and convert it into a world-class application that is beautifully designed, reliable and scalable.”
The venture lifecycle of NineTwoThree in 2022 starts with a business lead from outreach programs, ads, or referrals. The lead will come to the founders with an idea for a product and at least $100,000 in cash ready to take their product to the next level. Often, this lead works for a large tech brand or is a founder that knows exactly when their investment into the product will create profits.
Once the lead is curated, the founders will communicate with the lead to understand which services of NineTwoThree Venture Studio best suit the needs of the clients. Clients range from engineered-based like IoT or Machine Learning who want to communicate directly with our engineers, to others trying to create a new product and need an account manager. Additionally, new clients are paying for product market fit as well—which requires their team to research the market to determine how the app will serve the industry.
The studio operates under their manifest to great processes, remote first, and incredible communication. Their teams are product first so the developers and quality engineers are dedicated to a client or project. Usually, the in-house project managers work on two to three projects at a time per year, with their account managers, designers, operations, and co-founders being involved with all of the projects dictating the direction and using previous experiences to suggest product decisions.
Their team relies on proper communication and procedures that create repeatable procedures. This involves, spending time learning how to write and document our processes and this part of their job returns dividends, and implementing EOS, provides them with the growth-oriented foundation to properly hire talent. The desire of our team to learn and be curious allows us to stay relevant about industries.
As for the culture, they hire driven individuals who care about learning, using their own software, they incorporated BambooHR to manage their team of around 50, combined with the Trainual app for onboarding procedures and training.
They pride themselves on being a female-forward company. Out of the nine people reporting directly to Amann, seven are female and two are male—and they promote these people internally. They also have a lot of teammates with families and so they offer better work-life balance to support the parents under our employment.
NineTwoThree is interested in disrupting the valley that exists between venture capital and bootstrapped products. Historically, entrepreneurs would require venture capital to build a team or decide that they wanted to keep 100% equity and bootstrap the product in hard mode. They are providing an option to keep 100% equity without needing to hire talent or nurture company culture. As a team, NineTwoThree can be a good addition to a founder with a core IP that needs to get to the market fast.
Instead of attempting to develop a hard engineering problem with the current team, like building a mobile app that doesn’t break, brands are interested in outsourcing these experimental projects to an agile agency willing and ready to take on the challenge. NineTwoThree solves the problem by becoming an extension of the internal team. One that is an expert in product building and can train and co-work with the internal team to show how agile development can increase their productivity.
Remote work has come a long way in the past three years alone, and it’s clear that more people see this as a viable way to run companies while keeping overhead low. The uptick in remote work has meant better tools and SaaS projects are being developed to support these efforts, many of which we rely on to run our global team.
Startup businesses gain significant benefits from drawing on software engineering talent located in foreign locales. However, the significant responsibilities of employing development talent in a region of conflict also matter. With the push of remote work, brands are also realizing that they can rely on the studio for global talent without bothering human resources for talent.
The next step for studios is awareness. With the confusion of incubators, accelerators, venture studios, and startup studios, people are confused on what a startup studio is. NineTwoThree hopes to help define that a startup studio is a company that creates startups repeatedly—regardless of funding.