Everyone seems to be working at a startup these days with access to the internet having grown and idea generation being a non exclusive domain. The challenges of growing a business continue to see many of these startups drop by the wayside as the key fundamentals to scale these businesses remain elusive to the techprenuers that constitute the current web and mobile startup scene.
Around the world, the search for refined and workable models to support startups continues with some initiatives such as the Y Combinator driven by Paul Graham, showing some stellar results. In the Y Combinator model, Paul Graham and his team seek to help companies at different stages of the startup lifecycle to get better traction. This traction is manifested in two ways; the companies will either have a better product offering with more users or will have more options of raising money for growth opened up to them. Thus far, the Y Combinator supports a number of startups – currently 60 – by providing on average Ksh.1.5 million as capital. These techprenuers then move into a shared facility in Silicon Valley for 90 days after which they get to showcase their products behind closed doors to a gathering of investors. In 5 years, 300 startups have had the opportunity to be part of the Y Combinator process with some runaway successes like Dropbox, Loopt and Scribd.
Locally the Nailab – nailab.co.ke – which has an open day today is looking to be the place where technology meets society in the quest to enable startups build relevant solutions and scale to be proper businesses with cross sector solutions having been developed. With flexible and custom made business models to suit each incubatee, the lab will house three types of setups.
Housemates will share the office space, have projects with a distinct positive social impact, stay on for maximum of 12 months and receive basic support and services. The lab offers a designated table and chairs, shared services and an enabling environment, monthly networking meetings and online tools for crowdfunding .
Ready-mades will be teams of at least three people focused on growing their idea into their business. They must have a business plan and a track record of commitment. They will stay on for a maximum 18 months and receive the majority of the coaching and mentoring.
Seedlings are individuals or teams focused on growing their idea into a business plan. They are the fresh breeze of ideas, and will stay on for a maximum 3 months and receive group coaching and services. Together, ready-mades and seedlings will form the NaiLab incubator.
That the Nailab is taking the next logical step in nurturing ideas, concepts and start-ups into viable businesses is commendable and I am keen to see the outcome of their first crop of incubatees. There is now absolutely no reason why you cannot get onto the mobile and web services bandwagon.
The only prerequisite is a mind full of ideas and a willingness to put in the time.