I have spent many years in the financial planning business and have always been interested in tech and startups. Robert has been launching startups for over 50 years, with 35 of those years in the tech industry. Over his years of entrepreneurship, he came to realize that most people don’t have a lot of startup ideas but would love to bring their unique skills to launch one. For him, he’s always had too many ideas and never enough time or resources to launch them. The hardest part? Seeing many of these ideas launch many years later and realizing “I had that idea years ago!”
We had the good fortune to meet up at WeWork Bellevue and decided to try launching a new approach to launching some new startups over here on the Eastside.
At this stage of my life, the entrepreneur in me started looking at new ways to address this life full of ideas. So I'm seeding this incubator with 16 fresh ideas for startups to pull together for the new year. Many of them are hardware-based. (I know, I know - the Seattle area has been full of software ideas and projects but I'm love gadgets and hardware!) Most of these ideas are already validated with market research, as well as some details on development. But each of them still needs a team to brainstorm and develop a finished product to support the concept and its unique market niche. The concept of incubators in not new. But most of them are built around single ideas or groups. This will be more of an idea lab.
We plan to bring groups of software and hardware techies together, along with managers, angels and others to discuss these ideas and then stand back as everyone begins to pick the project/team they feel would benefit most from their passion and contribution: Software coding, app development, hardware design, business development, project management and maybe even providing funding in some cases. Co-working offices will soon reach a saturation point and this may be a good fit to differentiate a co-working space.
We also plan to retain no more 5% of each project in equity for my time and guidance (and I’m going to give half of my piece to local nonprofits to help the homeless). Each project will then be individually apportioned based on typical industry percentages for the skills or value that each team member contributes (read the book A Slice of the Pie).
And after living and working over here in Bellevue, I’m determined to launch and encourage each of these startups to stay on the Eastside. It’s always puzzled me as to why all the focus has been on Seattle with so little attention to the Eastside. We certainly have more than our share of techies and geeks over here plus plenty of resources available. And traffic, parking and housing are so much less stressful so you can stay better focused on your projects; I’ve never had any particular affinity for Seattle as a place to launch any of my projects. Nor have I ever appreciated the ongoing lack of attention given to the Eastside over the many years I’ve lived and worked here.
So that will certainly be one of my requirements for membership!