Stephen Konig leads Mudita Studios, the Seattle-based startup studio of Mudita Venture Partners. (Mudita Photo)

Another startup studio with roots in Seattle is incubating ideas and spinning out fledgling tech companies.

Mudita Venture Partners, a venture capital firm based in Detroit, launched its Mudita Studios arm about a year ago. Stephen Konig, a longtime Google product management leader based in Seattle, runs the program.

“It was important for me to stay here,” Konig told GeekWire. “It’s such an active and vibrant community from a startup and talent perspective.”

Four startups have spun out of Mudita Studios, including three based in Seattle: Official AI, which helps people monetize their digital likeness; Stellis AI, which offers AI advisory services; and legal tech startup

Mudita’s studio follows a similar thesis to its venture fund, focusing on early stage B2B enterprise software startups. It uses the typical startup studio model, testing different ideas and finding entrepreneurs to lead spinouts. Those companies are funded in part by Mudita Venture Partners.

The startup studio model has gained popularity over the past decade. Some criticize such programs for taking too much equity from entrepreneurs.

Konig said Mudita’s ownership stakes depend on the particular idea and circumstances. But he said startup studios can appeal to someone who can’t afford to spend months or years testing out their business idea.

“We’re taking a tremendous amount of the risk out of the equation,” Konig said.

Konig said Mudita axes 95% of ideas that come through the studio.

Mudita joins other startup studios in Seattle including Pioneer Square Labs, Madrona Venture Labs, Conduit Venture Labs, and TF Labs.

Others such as Kernel Labs and Pienza launched in the past several years but have since pivoted or are not active.

Mudita teamed up with Pioneer Square Labs to help incubate Official AI. Konig has a desk at PSL’s office in Seattle.

David Zager, partner at Pioneer Square Labs, said he’s happy to have another startup studio in town that can boost entrepreneurial energy and investment dollars in the Seattle region.

“The joint studio efforts have produced much serendipity,” he said. “We look forward to more Mudita collaborations.”

The other spinout from Mudita is Momentum Collective, a Denver, Colo.-based go-to-market consultancy for VC-backed startups.

Despite launching the studio during a broader slowdown in the venture capital market, Konig said the timing has actually been good, in part due to the rise of generative AI.

“Thinking through all the applications for generative AI, and all the things that it could do, has given us a huge pipeline of opportunities to explore,” he said.

Konig, who spent more than a decade at Google, said he’s learned to temper expectations amid the hype around AI.

“The due diligence that you have to do to build a successful business, I think is still very much true,” he said. “And I think it’s more important than ever.”

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