There are startup incubators. Unfortunately, I know nothing about them. I bet they help the promising startups with some very senior level business experts. Senior level people might have solid business knowledge, but they can’t think of everything, and can’t predict what idea will take off. But, if they do see an idea do well, they can contribute money and expertise to make it better. Startups might be new, but to make them do well, you need some old-school business talent to fuel their success with the inspiration of younger people. But, what would happen in a startup lab?
I could see that a startup lab could be a business that has all of the tools for a startup to grow. The startup lab could have social media experts, marketers, call centers, and other staff. The lab could work for or host multiple startups and see how each one did. For a startup to succeed they need cash, marketing, and people to get the work done. The lab could arrange for all of this. But, if the lab did all the work, what would be the role of the entrepreneur and why would the lab need the entrepreneur?
Perhaps the lab could give the entrepreneur a salary and a cut of the profits. If the entrepreneur didn’t perform well after all of the financing they gave, they could can the entrepreneur and find someone better to work for them. Venture capitalists often work like this. However, venture capitalists don’t grow the business using their own mechanism.
Another take is that the lab could test how good an entrepreneur’s business decision making skills were. They could put the muscle into executing an entrepreneur’s ideas. But, if the entrepreneur had too high of a rate of bad decisions, that particular entrepreneur would get weeded out. That is an expensive way to weed people out, but would make a great reality show. In a sense they could make a simulator that would show fast results for the entrepreneur’s decisions. Or, entrepreneurs could track decisions made by other entrepreneurs and track the results. Either way, a simulator would be a great learning tool.
Another idea for a startup lab is to wait to see if the startup is doing well. For the more successful ones, they could get an extra boost by having the right team to help them grow. In a sense, that sounds like what an accelerator might be.
Putting aside how fun simulations can be, the important fact in business is what happens in the long run. If your business grows slowly, but stays afloat, that is much better than one that grows fast and then dies. Remember what the rap artists always say:
“The faster you rise — the faster you fall.”