OAK’S LAB Ecosystem: Supporting Startups from Concept-to-Scale

Jake Dluhy-Smith
CEO, Co-Founder

A startup working with OAK’S LAB can leverage our business divisions independently or together depending on the stage of the startup.

May 13, 2020

OAK’S LAB is an ecosystem designed to support tech startups on their journey from concept-to-scale. Since our inception in 2016, we’ve grown the OAK’S LAB team to 75 and together have worked on 28 startups with a valuation of $700M.

The OAK’S LAB ecosystem is comprised of four separate business divisions:


A startup working with OAK’S LAB can leverage one business division independently or all four depending on the stage of the startup. The ecosystem is designed to propel startups through (1) developing digital products, (2) scaling in-house tech teams, (3) providing venture funding, and (4) educating young talent.

1) OAK’S DIGITAL - Idea to Series A

Comprehensive product development teams navigating founders from ideation to Series A.

OAK'S DIGITAL was the first business division we created and is at the core of the OAK’S LAB ecosystem. We focus on taking entrepreneurs with ambitious ideas through each phase of product development all the way up to a Series A, at which point we prepare the product for VC due diligence and assist with hiring and onboarding in-house team members to replace our team.

Our teams at DIGITAL act as a founder’s first hire. When a startup is kicking off their technology buildout, DIGITAL forms a fully fledged product development team consisting of a Product & Project Manager, Lead UI & UX Designer, Lead Software Engineer and an engineering team that work full time on the founder’s idea. We navigate the startup through ideation, market research, rapid-prototyping, product launch, and growth.

  • Instant engagement of our seasoned team of experts that have, together, built successful products in the past.
  • Shorter timeline to market by leveraging our proven development processes and tools.
  • Product development know-how, standards, and testing frameworks ensuring highest levels of quality.

2) OAK’S BOOST - Scaling offshore, yet in-house

Scaling in-house product development teams for later-stage companies in offshore locations.

OAK'S BOOST is designed to connect exciting US later-stage tech companies with top level talent in Central and Eastern Europe. When a tech company that matches our values (see Manifesto here) raises a large investment round (Series B or Series C) and is looking to significantly scale their product development team, we get to work. BOOST establishes an offshore entity, sets up an inspiring office space that matches the US company’s brand and culture, and implements and maintains all the finance, legal, and HR processes in line with local legislation. BOOST scouts, screens and hires new product development team members who work directly for the later-stage company.

  • Direct access to our deep talent pool of top level local product developers.
  • Shortcut to an established and well running offshore operation.
  • Savings up to $75,000 on each team member per annum.

In addition to our two main divisions, we have experimented with expanding the ecosystem in a few other ways since our inception.

3) OAK’S VENTURES - Investing in what we build

Venture capital fund investing in the top startups built by DIGITAL.

Our vast tech startup building experience combined with the unparalleled visibility that DIGITAL has into the startups we develop, places us in a unique position with exceptional investment opportunities. As DIGITAL stewards the startup from ideation, to launch, and then growth, we develop strong bonds with the startup’s founding team and with our insight are the first to see early indicators of success. VENTURES is established to broaden the OAK’S LAB startup support infrastructure and make investments in the top startups built by DIGITAL.

  • Derisked VC and startup relationship where both sides get to know each other very well prior to writing the first check.
  • Together with our VC partners, we create a clear and streamlined path for our founders from the initial investment all the way to a Series A round.
  • Our company building playbook keeps our founders focused and efficient without having to reinvent the wheel.

4) OAK’S ACADEMY - Transformative apprenticeships

Elite apprenticeships transforming A-list talent into entry-level professionals.

Great companies only exist due to great people. The vision for ACADEMY is to find and train the future greats in tech. ACADEMY scouts top young talent and offers them the opportunity to learn from the best through elite apprenticeships. Apprentices are paired with experienced industry veterans working on leading-edge projects. They are assigned great responsibilities and fast-track their learnings by shadowing a mentor in a real life product development environment. The best apprentices get an offer to work at DIGITAL or other startups in the OAK’S LAB ecosystem.

  • Hands on mentorship and guidance by industry veterans.
  • Real-world experience on top-level projects with great responsibilities.
  • Full-time employment opportunity within the OAK’S LAB ecosystem.

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EspressOOO Martini by Francesco:  1x vodka shot (50ml), 1x espresso shot (40ml), 2g of sugar, no coffee liqueur, mix well in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice for 30 sec to create foam, pour in martini glass and garnish with 3 coffee beans. See you at Groove.

EspressOOO Martini by Francesco:  1x vodka shot (50ml), 1x espresso shot (40ml), 2g of sugar, no coffee liqueur, mix well in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice for 30 sec to create foam, pour in martini glass and garnish with 3 coffee beans. See you at Groove.