Brilliant entrepreneurs are wasting their talents, trapped inside Seattle’s big tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon. Pioneer Square Labs wants to give them a startup to run. Today with $12.5 million from 12 VCs and 50 angels, Pioneer Square Labs launches its startup studio.
Based in Seattle, PSL’s team of experienced founders, investors, and former CTOs will test tons of startup ideas, focusing on consumer services and lightweight business applications. Within four months, they’ll either conclude an idea won’t work and kill it off, or hire the right entrepreneurs to be co-founders and spin the startup out of PSL.
It’s not a seed fund, or an accelerator, or an incubator. Unlike studios like Betaworks that do external investing, and grow succesful products in-house, PSL will exclusively found, and then fold or farm out its companies. The closest thing to it might have been Kevin Rose’s North, which built photo sharing app Tiiny and watch enthusiast site Watchville before he shuttered it to become CEO of watch blog Hodinkee.
If PSL works, it could churn through ideas much faster than lumbering giants or scrappy single startups. And by keeping a founder-level equity stake in each startup it spins off, the team could be rewarded handsomely if they can birth unicorns and then put them up for adoption.