I've always been interested in wondering how software companies happen. I find it extremely difficult once you're tied down with car, house, life etc. Funding is always the biggest concern.
To make this a bit more specific, I see two types. Those offering a product/service or those offering a consultancy company.
One things that bugs me about the product/service kind is that we all know how burning the candle at both ends is extremely exhausting. Coding for 8-10 hours in the day and then code in the evenings on your own stuff, doesn't last long. No matter how passionate you are about your idea, simply put, coding day and night is a recipe for burn out. Is this a defeatist attitude though? Can it be balanced?
A consultancy kind isn't as tricky in my honest opinion. I think once you have spent years and years in the industry building up relationships, contacts from contracting or moving around, and of course, being involved in the community, then landing your first project as a consultant I'm sure is easier than the product/service kind. I'd imagine friends then could join you as you take on bigger company projects, like an Agile implementation or TDD training, then off you go gaining bigger things.
Could you please specify which company type you're answering if you can't contribute to both. I'd like to hear everyone's experiences or ideas on any level for software company start-ups.