One of the satisfying things about working at Playground is seeing how the collaboration between the Studio and portfolio companies yields concrete results. These collaborations are not theoretical; they make real, immediate differences in the process of creating great products.
You can think of the Studio team as a knowledge database with hundreds of years of combined experience shipping literally billions of devices. Small insights based on deep experience across electrical engineering, full stack software, machine learning, UI/UX, product, industrial and mechanical design, optics, logistics, operations etc. can make the difference between a good product and a great one.
Here are some things our residents have said about their experiences at Playground:
“These waveforms can be directly generated in software. You could also use a [device] to drive the [other devices] directly. That eliminates that entire intermediate block and should cut the B.O.M. by about 30%. It would also let you use the same basic platform for both the low and high end offering. Everything gets very small, simple and cheap.”
All of a sudden, you have 50 engineers interested in your success. That wealth of experience can greatly enhance a product as well as head off potentially expensive (or fatal) mistakes.
“Those fixes didn’t require a board spin yet made a huge difference to the consumer experience. It’s really night and day. It could have cost us six months, but instead we have a much better product from the same components - the best kind of advice.”
The collaborative community at Playground isn’t just about interactions with the Studio. There is hybrid vigor that stems from brilliant people occupying the same physical space. Because our investments are non-competitive, the portfolio actively collaborates in ways that could never happen in a traditional VC context. That community interaction is a key (if somewhat unexpected) value.
“I was having lunch with [an engineer from a different portfolio company] and he shared his enthusiasm for [software platform component]. Then the penny dropped. It makes perfect sense for us to use it too. Ready to go, well understood and already inside the building.”
Great people create great companies, and mentoring those people is the most leveraged investment. We are creating an enduring institution, a new kind of educational system. We want our entrepreneurs to think of graduating Playground the way that we think of graduating Stanford, MIT or Hogwarts.
We are here for the long haul. We know building a great business takes time. Hands on guidance and support from the Playground Studio provides an environment were companies flourish and can focus all their intellectual and actual capital on the differences that make a difference.