Activate Capital is a startup studio founded in February 2016 by Greg Rice, Paolo Valdemarin, Matt Mower, Adrian Austin, Annette Kramer, and Bhavesh Gorasia. The mission of the studio is to find the best UK digital startups and prime them for success.
In trying to bring their skills and experience to startups, the Activate partners often experienced the frustration of trying to address poor decisions the startups founders had made, and being unable to bootstrap the kind of peer relationship needed to help them before it was too late. All too often founders poor judgement would lead to an avoidable business failure. Out of this frustration the startup studio was born.
In its first year of operations Activate has run 4 programmes. The first 3 companies to graduate have raised seed finance and are now building their products and bringing them to market. The fourth graduate is currently raising its seed round. Applications are open for the 5th programme.
The Startup Studio programme is customised for each company but always has three fundamental objectives:
Ensure technology is being used to create a profitable digital business
Give entrepreneurs practice using the skills they will need to survive and thrive
Ensure the proposition is investable & prepare the founders to raise money
The core activities of the programme include:
Vision and purpose - what is the, rock solid, reason why these founders are making this business? Is it sufficient to carry them through difficult times and give them their best chance of success?
Customer needs - what, significantly valuable, problem does the business solve and for which market? Can it reach that market at scale?
Strategy - does the business know what to do next to be successful and can it learn to profit by its mistakes?
Product Design - what slice of a product shows the promise of the full product? What can we learn about customers from prototyping it quickly?
Communications - can the business communicate its message to itself, its customers, potential investors, and the media?
The end result is an integrated approach to take a founding team from vision to successful launch.
Activate Capital’s partners contribute a range of complementary backgrounds and skills that combine deep experience with the startup scene, SME’s, and corporates across business, technology, and communications functions.