Introducing the Project A Studio

Project A is excited to announce the launch of our Studio, a collaboration platform aimed at supporting entrepreneurs in the ideation and validation stage. The Studio combines our strengths: pairing entrepreneurial spirit with operational excellence.

by Charlotte Niklahs and Philipp Werner

At Project A, we understand that there’s more to supporting founders in building successful tech companies than providing capital. This belief has shaped our approach, distinguishing it from other investors’: Rather than investing capital alone, we equip early-stage companies with the advantage of Europe’s biggest VC platform team of over 100 in-house experts focused on tech, growth, and people. Their singular goal is to support our portfolio companies in building and scaling their businesses.

As a generalist Seed investor we found ourselves wanting to invest even earlier in our focus areas financial infrastructure, climate and energy, global supply chains and European resilience, where we have strong theses on how these markets will develop. Hence, we started spending more time with founders who were ideating in these spaces and quickly realized how mutually beneficial the exchange was:

Entrepreneurs appreciated the opportunity to engage in sparring with our investment team members, gaining access to our network to explore and validate their ideas further without the need for a structured program or accelerator. They embraced the prospect of partnering with a thesis-driven VC at an early stage without having to make any commitments.

On our end, we relished the chance to collaborate with promising founders from our network – helping shape their ideas, showcasing the benefits of our operational model, and learning more about the founding teams than a later involvement might allow.

In fact, this approach resonated so well with all the founders we met that we decided to double down on this sort of collaboration – the result was the creation of the Project A Studio.

What does the Studio do?

The Studio is Project A’s approach to supporting founders during ideation and validation with the objective of turning this collaboration into a long-term working relationship after a joint Pre-Seed investment.

We acknowledge that, at a stage this early, there is no one-size fits all. So we only work with a chosen few at the same time in order to ensure a personalized experience tailored to their specific needs. 

Usually, a team (or a solo founder) who is already ideating, engages in regular sparring sessions with a dedicated senior member of our investment team and a Founders Associate. Founders Associates support with research, outreach, and coordination of interviews, market sizing, and whatever else might be needed. 

We also leverage our network and facilitate introductions to whoever can help in validating an early idea: industry experts, portfolio companies, a variety of corporates and German Mittelstand players as well as Angels, co-investor and LPs. Working with ‘the Operational VC’ also means founders can utilize up to 80 hours of our operational experts for hands-on support or C-level sparring, alongside our investment team and Founders Associate support – and of course make use of our office space.

Ideally, we get to know each other so well during our collaboration, that we end up leading the Pre-Seed round together with a hand-picked set of Angels. There’s no obligation to stay with us, but if you do, we prioritize a clean captable and ensure the company is adequately capitalized to reach the milestones for an externally led Seed round.

It’s important to note that Project A doesn’t incubate. Within the Studio, entrepreneurs set the journey and pace. We often have strong hypotheses but aren’t searching for founders to execute a ready-made idea. Instead, we partner with founders that are ideating anyways and provide insights, background knowledge and contacts, operational support and the necessary tools to thrive – free of charge and without locking them in. 

Want to know who we’ve worked with?

So far, we’ve had the pleasure of working with more than a dozen teams, investing in about half of them. Here are some examples of founders we’ve supported and ultimately led their Pre-Seed rounds:

11x founded by Hasan is an AI & automation company that builds best-in-class autonomous digital workers. Our approach in the Studio involved weekly sparring sessions to ensure strategic alignment. The Founders Associate played a crucial role in sourcing and interviewing experts to validate the problem, while feedback sessions with our CTO served to refine the tech vision. Additionally, our Sales Associate worked hands-on to bolster existing sales efforts.

ARX is a dual-use technology manufacturing company founded by Marc and Stefan that specializes in developing autonomous unmanned systems and sensors for governmental and commercial purposes. Frequent sparring sessions enabled a clear strategic outlook for the company, the Project A design team developed their initial website for the public launch and our Associate Jannic was a vital interim part of the founding team.

Montamo: The full stack blue-collar workforce development platform efficiently sources, employs, develops and dispatches trades talent. Project A was a trusted ideation partner for Alex and Ole and facilitated introductions to potential customers of the German Mittelstand. Our product and tech team helped the co-founders design their tech architecture and pick the best tools along the value chain.

ENAPI is an infrastructure layer company building the most secure, reliable, and scalable platform for stakeholder collaboration in the EV industry. We were sparring partners for Jakob and Dennis in shaping the product vision, defining the initial go-to-market strategy, and our Frontend Engineer Charles meaningfully contributed to the first version of ENAPI’s product. 

Who is the Studio for?

We’re particularly interested in collaborating with ambitious individuals who can exhibit swift execution, precise prioritization skills, and a clear vision. This can be repeat founders or operators from rapidly scaling companies starting their entrepreneurial journey. The Studio is a good fit for you as long as things are still in motion: whether you’re just beginning to formulate ideas or have spent ample time interviewing experts but are still clarifying what your product and go-to-market will look like.

How can you join?

Even though our collaboration typically involves complementary founder teams, we have also helped solo-founders in finding a co-founder. The entry requirement is minimal: simply present a nascent concept or an area of interest as a starting point. Our platform is ideally suited for refining and validating ideas, by leveraging our investment experts and operational professionals.

Our support is free of charge – we view this as an investment that allows us to back the most promising founders. Our only request: let us be the first to hear your pitch. You are free to explore and speak with other investors either way.

We’re particularly keen on working with founders exploring ideas in financial infrastructure, climate and energy, European resilience, global supply chains, and more – looking forward to hearing from you!