5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Founding A Startup Studio, by Kastytis Kemezys

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Founding A Startup Studio, by Kastytis Kemezys

Startup studios around the world are gaining tremendous traction, with many successful startup studios attracting other entrepreneurs to form their own digital agencies as incubators of new businesses. Impressively, startup studios have exploded in popularity, recording an estimated 625% growth in the startup market over the past seven years.  As studios enable founders to focus on developing every aspect behind their business idea while studios are dedicated to minimizing any challenges or roadblocks that come along the way, they take a much more hands-on approach compared to the other startup support models within the venture ecosystem.

To learn more about the insights and advice for those starting out in the startup studio ecosystem, our team at Startup Studio Insider has connected with rising entrepreneurs and chatted about their journey.

Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with the co-founder of Whatnot Startup Studio, Kastytis Kemezys, where he shared some advice on creating his studio alongside his two co-founders. After a long journey in corporate innovation, the founders ventured off to create a studio of their own. Here are Kemezys’ top five lessons he wishes he knew before starting his studio: 

“Avoid overthinking as it costs time and money.”

One of the main goals of a startup studio is to cut down on the time and money needed to scale an idea. Sitting on ideas and doubting, can set back a project and delay the process, which in turn costs money and time. This is why studios work with a whole team of people and resources to eliminate that problem and keep projects moving forward. When in doubt, let data and numbers back those decisions and offer more clarity for you to quickly move forward in the right direction. 

“Build concepts that make you and your team feel excited about working.”       

The more passion behind the project, the better the end result. Kemezys stressed to us the importance of having his team feel excited about work each day. They quickly made a decision at Whatnot to only accept projects that they were excited about each and every day they went to work. Pick an area that excites you, and work towards those goals instead of taking on every single project that comes your way. Many studios have a niche market where the majority of their interest lies, so they are constantly working in areas they enjoy the most. 

“Surround yourself with great talent who wants to create and build things.”

Kemezys describes a startup studio as a recruitment gig. You must work on ways to bring the talent to you. This can mean creating good company culture, improving spinout time, providing previous work examples, and maintaining a good overall brand image. The goal is to be the most attractive studio for your market and draw in projects that will fit in with the team. As more people learn about the startup studio model and start to consider it for their ventures, be sure you stick out among the rest through unique offerings. 

“Each startup might take a different approach and it’s important to stay flexible.”                           

While it is important to have certain practices in place since each startup comes with its own vision, goals, and team, it's extremely important to keep an open mind. Methodology and processes do not always have to be followed blindly. Each project is a learning experience for both the studio and the startup, the startup gets a new toolbox of resources, and the studio can learn new processes to try. 

“Focus on solving the problem over features and perfect it later.”  

The idea does not have to be perfect. In fact, the idea will most likely change as you begin to work on a project and figure out what does work and what doesn't work. Take time to actually brainstorm and break down a big idea into smaller, more tangible bite-size pieces. This helps eliminate market gaps by identifying consumer friction points and delivering a concrete solution. Features can come later, but finding solutions to real life problems not only makes the work you do important and impactful, but it will draw in others looking for a studio driven to make a difference. 


Creating and launching a startup studio is not an easy task. It is always a great feeling when you can listen and relate to other founders who have gone through the journey of developing their studios. Remember that it does not always have to be perfect, but if passion is intertwined with the projects, you can expect to enjoy the work you do. If you are still looking for more advice, reach out to us here at Startup Studio Insider and we can help connect you with a studio. 

We always enjoy an opportunity to learn from founders, their style of work, and the new ideas they have to offer. Looking to contribute to Startup Studio Insider, contact us here!

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