We invest in founders to solve problems that show up differently in small cities.

We're interested in areas like housing, transportation, climate change, supply chains, manufacturing, logistics, and environmental issues from the legacy of industrial or agricultural eras.

These are big markets with important problems and little competition currently solving them.

Founder Studio

For pre-idea founders interested in building for the small city segment. Remote. Part-time. Fee & Equity Free.



We spend the first month digging into small city problem research, understanding what problem you are best positioned to solve, and where there is an opportunity for a startup.


We spend the next month working with you to define the opportunity. What need are you filling? What isn't working about the current solutions? What value could be unlocked?


We spend the last month working with you to brainstorm and test solutions and business models. We will help you build prototypes, talk to potential customers, and model how the business could work.


For founders already building for the small city segment.


We help you focus on the best assumptions to test and find early customers in small cities, starting with our South Bend network.


We write $25k - $50k checks. Our sweet spot is companies who are MVP or earlier, looking to run pilots in small cities.


Our Thesis

Why small cities?

Collectively, small cities are a big market with lots of interesting and important problems that are particular to being their size. And using that as an asset, instead of seeing it as a liability, can potentially entice entrepreneurship to show up in places like these too. Learn more about the opportunity we see in small cities here.

Why early stage?

A strength of small cities is that they run on networks of trust. Knowing someone often means an ability to get to anyone. We want to use our networks in South Bend, and other cities like it, to introduce founders and prospective founders to people who want to share problems and pilot solutions, building relationships that will inform designing products, services, and business models that can work and scale.

Our Thesis

Why pre-idea founders?

We love betting on people that have a history of starting things, but haven't yet found the company they want to start. By working together before you have an idea, we can be true co-founders and help you build a business that lies at the intersection of the problems you feel connected to and the skills and experience you bring to the table.

Why small & mid-size cities?

We believe small and mid-size cities can act as co-founders. They have deep knowledge about problems that affect people's daily lives, and over 40% of the US population lives in places like this. Their networks of trust, knowledge, and desire to spur entrepreneurship and innovation make them ideal partners for motivated potential founders to tackle tough problems and build impactful businesses.

Why kitchen table problems?

These are the kinds of problems that show up in people's lives on a daily basis and really matter to solve. We focus on areas that that connect to things like financial health, employment, childcare, transportation and small business. Not only are these problems critical to solve for a majority of Americans, but they also represent big opportunities for impactful businesses.

Working with the Invanti crew was amazing! Our weekly meetings with Dustin kept us moving towards our goal and encouraged us to have some critical conversations about the impact we are hoping to have. The framework they have created helped guide us from idea to pilot. We feel incredibly lucky to have crossed paths with Maria and Dustin and can’t wait to see what the future brings!

Debbie G.

My time working in the Founder Studio gave me a blueprint and the tools I needed to stay focused and to really validate an idea.  Perhaps more valuable to me was having access to Dustin who offered amazing insights and who really helped me set a path forward at each step in the process.

Marjie K.

I began exploring a couple different problem areas I felt connected to. I immediately took to the self-paced work supplemented by the structured support and resourcing they provided. The reminder during my weekly 1:1s that the person behind the company (or future company) comes first was a huge relief. [...] They’ve created a space where I show up with my best and preferred skillset and they fill in where my experience or expertise lacks. They act as my co-founders in the truest sense.

Camille Z.

It’s difficult to try and reinvent the wheel all by yourself. Invanti has been a game-changer for me. Dustin is quick to look at my situation overall and offer new viewpoints to help me dive deeper into them. The team offers continuous support in building a business where the mission meets profit.

Kiana E.

My time in the INVANTI Founder Studio was exactly the kickstart I needed to reach a place of clarity about the problem I want to solve. The INVANTI process is extremely thoughtful and their support is unintrusive without being indifferent - a really hard balance to strike. You chart your own course and drive as a founder, and they happily help you navigate.

Anjana P.