So, here's a thought: some of our start-up equipment can (and probably should) be donated by users.
With that in mind, here's MY list of what I'm willing to put up, up front:
Router + router table
Old-ish PC (800 MHz, 384MB, 80gb HD)- but still perfectly capable of surfing the web, working on documents, light picture editing, and writing simple programs
Serial programmer for PIC
Serial programmer for Atmel AVR- with this, you can program bare AVR chips with the Arduino bootloader, so you can develop your project with the Arduino core into any hardware you like
Assorted electronic parts- I have a stock of LEDs, motors, 12V 1A wall warts, and other crap I've been saving but not using. The company I work for throws a lot of stuff away that I hate seeing go to waste, so I'd be diverting some of that waste stream to our venture- PCBs, PC power supplies, things like that. It'll be win-win, since they pay by the pound for disposal.
A desk- not a great one, but sturdy and capable of taking a beating, with quite a bit of workspace.
Time- My work has a pretty well stocked machine shop, so if we decided to make a Reprap, I could fabricate some of the parts needed there, as well as anything else we might need.