rhubarb studios has come a long way in a short amount of time. What started as an empty room with a view in downtown LA, has grown to shepherd over a dozen companies, with up to 100 people coming in and out of the space on a regular basis.
And the cornerstone of a lot of this activity is rhubarb’s venture studio, where Cauri Jaye – with co-founders Rebecca McLauchlan and Ryan Prust – apply the same principals of their former enterprise consulting business to startups of all sizes. The team advises on many areas of startup growth, including marketing, design, product build, communications, social media, HR and more.
Among the dozen-strong support team including hardware and software experts and former members of SpaceX, YouTube and Sony, expert coaching talent goes through hands-on testing via hackathons and other events to understand their skill sets and abilities.
rhubarb helps its portfolio companies to form their teams – saving the entrepreneurs a huge effort and time in recruiting and training – and coaches the team on a daily basis, from testing the market, to analyzing metrics, building the product and even introducing them to investors.
Explains Jaye, “People come in at any point within their business — beginning, inception, growth, Series A — and we’re there to to support them in their next challenges.”
rhubarb examines the applying companies and its overall marketplace to vet the viability of the product, with an emphasis on unique businesses that, says Jaye, “define a unique problem, and look to monopolize the space.”
rhubarb then invites applying companies to attend 2-3 hour workshops, in order to make sure the people behind the product are a good fit — something crucial for anyone looking to work together for the long run.
Seventy percent of the companies that come in are brand new, and go through three months of intensive engagement as part of rhubarb’s [build] program; the rest already have products, and employ rhubarb to help expand into their growth stage. After that three-month period, most stick around for paid mentorship and coaching as they continue to grow.
rhubarb studios’ portfolio includes companies like Bedside, an app / platform which saves senior healthcare facilities millions by streamlining communication between relatives and caregivers; Form Lifting, a smart device which links to your phone to display insight into weight lifting form for athletes looking to do the perfect lift and recently launched its Kickstarter campaign, already raising 50% of its goal in the first week; SHIFT, an online group therapy platform. All companies solve a unique problem with technology.
Other portfolio companies are background actor booking app Castifi, candidate vetting app iVotify, digital product management software Syrup, social impact tool Quipley, commercial real estate platform OffMarket, rideables shopping engine rovr, alarm clock Cleu, and office builder / finder TeamSpace.
And as for the environment to build a business in LA, Jaye notes the explosive growth that is happening all over LA, especially downtown and all the surrounding areas. “What’s happening downtown is quite extraordinary, the speed at which things are happening down here and the number of buildings that are opening up and filled with startups is incredible. The number of graduating engineers that are staying in town is also on the rise — there’s lots of funding coming from San Francisco and everywhere else, because everybody is recognizing that this is the next hotbed of tech startups.”