I have liked the idea of Founder Labs from the moment I heard about it. It sits between things like Pair Up and Startup Weekend and Y Combinator and TechStars. Founder Labs helps pair up three and four person teams, coaches them through ideation, all the way to a prototype. And they do this in a five week intensive class that meets on nights and weekends so you don't have to quit your job to do it.
The Gotham Gal and I were active mentors in the Founder Labs program, meeting with the teams once a week at space hosted by Google NYC, and also provided support for the NYC program along with a few other awesome people and companies.
Founder Labs creator Shaherose Charania is a force of nature. She handpicks the participants in the program and helps to form the teams. I told the assembled group last night that the teams that are formed at Founder Labs are terrific. They are diverse, well balanced, and highly compatible. Each one has engineers, designers, and product talent on them. I have never seen a program create teams as well as Founder Labs does it.
If you want to do a startup but are having a hard time finding a team to do one with, you should really consider Founder Labs. The next program is in SF from Aug 11 to Sept 22. But I am certain Shaherose and her team will be back in NYC before the end of the year.
The first NYC program was so strong and there were are least two teams, maybe three that will come out of it with real traction. The winner last night was Smarketplaces, a project to put ebay/etsy style marketplaces on blogs like Disqus has done with comments. It has great promise. Authy was also quite strong with a user side solution for simple and easy two factor authentication. There were two interesting projects around alternative medicine services and helping people with food allergies navigate the world of food. We also saw new ideas in social music and daily deals.
Regardless of whether all of these teams turn into startups and businesses (I think several will), all the participants will come away with an appreciation for how to get a startup off the ground, what makes a great team, and how to quickly find out if your idea is a good one. And because of that, Founder Labs is a winning formula.