It seems like everyone’s worried about an incubator bubble, but seriously — Lemnos Labs is doing something different. It’s not just incubating the latest social network or iPhone app. Instead, it’s looking for startups that actually build stuff, and by stuff, I mean hardware.
At first, hardware and incubators sound like an odd match, since the incubator boom is driven, at least in part, by the way the Web has driven down the costs of starting a company. Hardware, on the other hand, sounds expensive and not resistant to the rapid iteration that that’s now part of startup doctrine. However, Lemnos co-founder Jeremy Conrad says that thanks to developments like rapid prototyping, it’s becoming faster and cheaper to build a hardware startup too.
Lemnos Labs is based in San Francisco’s South of Market district, just about a block from the TechCrunch office. Its first batch of startups is only partway through the program, but the incubator is already accepting applications for the second class. Startups receive a spot in the Lemnos warehouse, access to prototyping facilities, $ 50,000 in funding, mentorship, and more.
The inaugural class covers a pretty broad range:
- Local Motion is building low-cost electric vehicles and a social booking platform, aimed initially at corporate campuses.
- Unplugged Instruments is creating electric guitars with aren’t “tethered to a wall outlet” and can also interact with smartphones.
- Blossom Coffee has a coffee brewing system that “will provide baristas unprecedented control over the flavor of coffee.”
- Momentum Machines is building machines to cook and assemble hamburgers.
Interested startups can apply here. The deadline is May 11.