Success for W3 Studio

W3 Studio > Founder > Success for W3 Studio

By: Brian Zwerner, Founder and President W3 Studio
Published: February 26, 2023

It’s been exciting to get W3 Studio live over the last few months.  Since we announced our non-profit entity to support Black, Latinx, and Women founders in Atlanta, we have heard from so many people that are ready to pitch in and help.  The Atlanta tech community is a special place, and we hope to add to that with W3 Studio.  I’ve been asked several times what success for W3 Studio looks like, so I wanted to take time today to share my dream for the next 10 years.

Let’s start with an important fact about diversity.  Companies with diverse teams are proven to be more successful.  This is true at big companies and small ones.  A McKinsey report states that more diverse companies are more likely to win.  The report declares that “a substantial differential likelihood of outperformance—48 percent—separates the most from the least gender-diverse companies.”  West River Group published a detailed report that concluded “diverse founding teams create more innovation and better business outcomes, and result in superior performance over the long-term.”  I strongly believe that supporting diversity is the right thing to do.  Even if that doesn’t resonate with you, it’s just good business.

At W3 Studio, we are going to help 5 diverse teams launch startups annually.  If we build a sustainable model that can do this every year for the next 10 years, we will help start around 50 businesses.  Our $200,000 grant funding per startup will allow these companies to focus on building great products and finding customers, instead of chasing investors.  We will bring a group of amazing mentors and advisors to each founding team to help them refine their ideas and go-to-market strategies.  We have collected highly vetted vendors in technology development, marketing, finance, legal, and more to make sure the cash goes a long way for each of our startups.  We are connected to the many developer grant programs to extend the runway of our companies without diluting their equity. 

Put all this together, and we think we will produce winners at a much higher than average rate.  Companies will graduate from our venture studio program in 9-18 months when they achieve liftoff.  We define this as hitting a level of revenue sufficient to fund expenses and growth or as the raising of a venture-led Seed round of $1MM or more.  Either of these conditions will give the startup a strong footing for growth.  I’m hopeful that all, or at least most, of our startups will hit liftoff.  This would mean up to 50 diverse-led startups rocking and rolling here in Atlanta over the next decade.

Let’s jump to another important diversity fact.  Diverse leaders hire more diverse teams.  The World Economic Forum wrote that “our data shows that when women are better represented in leadership roles, more women are hired across the board.”  They further said that “our analysis found a strong correlation between the representation of women in leadership positions in a given industry and hiring rates for additional women leaders.”  Additionally, Forbes reported on a study from Intel that showed that “the diversity of hires increased from 31% to 45% of hires being women or people of color after the company required interview panels to include at least two women and/or employees from underrepresented groups.”

I am confident that the 50 diverse-led startups we fund over the next decade will hire diverse team members.  If even a handful of these make it big, that would mean thousands of high paying jobs for women and minorities in Atlanta.  When a few of these companies get to unicorn exits, this will mint hundreds of diverse millionaires in our city.  These people will be the next Atlanta angel investors and VCs.  The data shows that diverse investors are much more likely to invest in diverse founders.  West River Group stated that women investing teams “are >3x more likely to invest in a female CEO.”  The same holds for racial diversity. 

In addition to creating a large group of diverse Atlanta investors, many of the winners from our program will go on to start new companies themselves.  This will spawn the next group of diverse builders in Atlanta who have that important prior success badge on their founder resumes.  They will be much more likely to get funded and be successful with their own startups.

If we can fund 50 diverse founder teams over the next decade, we can impact thousands or even tens of thousands of lives.  The upside here is enormous.  This is what success for W3 Studio will look like.

Have I got you excited yet?  Are you ready to join our journey?  If you work for a corporation that wants to support our mission, please reach out and we can discuss how you can help.  If you are an individual that believes in lifting up diverse founders, we will soon be announcing our Premium Membership Pass sale to allow you to join our community and support these amazing founders.  Email me for information on how you can get into our pre sale now.