Start Studio

One of the most inclusive and supportive tech-based startup programs in the region, Start Studio is designed for aspiring startup founders with a tech-based business idea they want to test in the real world. If you’ve ever said, “I’ve got a great tech idea, but I don’t know where to start,” Start Studio is for you.

Start Studio has two different tracks: Start Studio Discovery and Start Studio MVP. Start Studio Discovery is focused on validating early tech ideas through customer discovery interviews while Start Studio MVP helps founders to create revenue-generating Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) for customer-validated tech startups.

Start Studio is made possible with support from Gilbert Family Foundation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, U.S. Economic Development Administration and the William Davidson Foundation.

Start Studio Discovery

Start Studio Discovery is our most accessible tech program and the entry point for entrepreneurs with tech ideas. Emerging founders work with entrepreneurs-in-residence and anthropologists who serve as customer discovery specialists to conduct customer discovery. The intensive idea validation process allows the entrepreneurs’ tech-based business idea to be tested in the real world. Start Studio Discovery consists of online workshops/meetings, individualized coaching to help participants build revenue-generating prototypes, and a culminating showcase where a panel of judges and the community can vote for the best pitch presentation.

During this 10-week program, you’ll

  • Identify, articulate and validate a problem
  • Design, conduct and report on 50+ customer discovery interviews: talk to potential customers, get feedback, and evaluate and refine your product.
  • Identify a unique value proposition
  • Develop a two-minute presentation to visually summarize your startup and unique value proposition
  • Application Window Opens: Friday, February 16, 2024
  • Info Session: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Friday, March 8, 2024
  • Cohort Notified: Friday, March 22, 2024
  • Deadline to Accept: Wednesday, March 27, 2024
  • Program Kickoff: Wednesday, April 3, 2024
  • Final Showcase: Wednesday, June 5, 2024 (in-person)

Start Studio MVP

Emerging founders work one-on-one with an experienced Entrepreneur-in-Residence who will provide strategic business support and with an MVP Developer Mentor who will guide them as they build an early prototype with no-code tools and platforms. During the first week of the program, Founders will gather onsite at TechTown Detroit for a Product Development Day where they will work in close collaboration with Developers to build out their MVP using no-code/low-code applications. At the end of each Start Studio MVP cohort, participants will celebrate their hard work at a Demo Day highlighting and promoting their new MVPs.

During this 6-week program, you’ll

  • Make refinements to existing wireframes
  • Partner with a Developer to build an MVP using low code/no code platforms
  • Sprint and iterate to finalize the MVP
  • Develop a two-minute presentation to visually demonstrate your MVP

Program Requirements

  • A unique value proposition (UVP) is defined and supported, including clear customer definition
  • 100+ customer discovery interviews (or equivalent)
  • Documented Wireframe
  • EIR Interview or recommendation by a TechTown team member – please schedule a Strategy Session with an EIR to learn more

TechTown has worked with hundreds of emerging and premier tech-based and tech-enabled organizations. The Tech-Client Portfolio highlights the variety of tech businesses we’ve served and collaborated with. Check out the organizations by category. Visit their sites to learn about their specific offerings and impact.