Do you have a unique vision, along with the talent and acumen to turn it into a business, but lack the funds to get it going? Well, if you’ve got the gumption, and the dedication to live and breathe your work at all hours, then you, my friend, might be ready for residential incubators.
This is no joke. The emerging startup-culture trend is like extreme entrepreneuring, in which young founders in Silicon Valley and surrounding areas live and work together to save money — presumably so they can invest it into their businesses — while getting the juice to launch their operation off the ground. Think of it like a tech-startup dormitory, but instead of studying, everyone’s wheeling, dealing or programming like crazy.
The live/work spaces can take just about any form — from very spartan “tech hostels,” AirBnB lodging in a startup-oriented loft or house, or even a regular housing rental, outfitted with fast internet, conference tables and plenty of beds. The spaces are often designed to help bootstrappers get inspiration from coworkers and other budding entrepreneurs, work in an efficient and collaborative atmosphere, and make important networking connections, such as contacts for venture capitalists or other resources. Some find the digs exhilarating and unique, as they allow for more creativity than a stale old office could ever provide, and the novel approach has nabbed its share of press. Chez JJ in Mountain View, CA, has been covered extensively in the media, as has Blackbox Mansion in Atherton, CA, a residential incubator geared for non U.S. startups.
As exciting as the idea sounds though, there is also a downside: If you thought your project was all-consuming before, living inside a startup atmosphere can practically guarantee that you never take a break from work. And that can actually be detrimental to your business — you need downtime periodically to recharge and reinvigorate — so people lacking the discipline to “turn it off” once in a while could find 24/7 life inside a startup culture to be a tough challenge. It’s also way too easy to let lifestyle irritations — like who’s turn it is to take out the garbage — overflow into other areas.
But for the biz or tech wiz who can handle such an environment, it could wind up being just the accelerated launching pad they need.