I work at a robotics startup. To sum up my long answer below, robotics startups are slower, more expensive, and often more distributed in location than their more famous software counterparts.
Robotics or hardware startups do have a lab for design. It holds owned or rented equipment: 3D printers, machine shop lathes and drills, soldering stations and power supplies, and ONLY 1 really nice oscilloscope that everyone has to share. All the engineers will have a laptop- they may often share licenses for the expensive software like MATLAB and SolidWorks. They work outside the lab whenever possible, because the lab has no windows. Sometimes they make work from home.
The main Engineering work of a robotics startup is to go from a prototype to product. Signs of a prototype that needs to be commercialized include pieces made from
- Arduino boards
- RC Hobbyist servos and batteries
- 80/20 framework
- 3D printed parts
- Hand machined metal parts
These parts, for reasons of cost and scaleability and reliability, must be replaced with custom molded plastic, metal, composites, cheaper PCBs, standardized fasteners, and consumer grade batteries and power supply electronics. This process is months to years long and uses at least 3 engineering disciplines. It's very expensive.
At the same time, the Sales and Marketing and Finance employees (and also Engineering employees if the company is any good) are working to move from an idea to a business. This selling and fundraising is where the money to do the Engineering work comes from. You'll notice that Anki site you linked to is billing the product as a toy, not as a military transport robot. This seems obvious, but it has significant engineering implications for what your robot will be expected to do, how long it will last, and how much you can sell it for.
All these people are busily burning up money, sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars. To fight some of this battle, most robotics companies outsource A LOT to consultants and contractors: a consultant might build your website, design your business cards, redesign your plastic shell to be injection molded instead of 3D printed, test your power supplies for safety, and write your user manual. You should NOT outsource complaints handling and tech support initially, because if you do, you'll lose a lot of valuable information about your first products.
As a startup, once you are actually ready to produce a product (Double check- if there are still pieces of your robot made from the bullet list above, then you aren't ready), you will probably hire a Contract Manufacturer to make your first robots because you can't afford all the equipment or employees to make them yourself. You will pay them to follow your instructions to make your robot and test units before they are sold. You will discover, over the course of several months and dozens of angry user phone calls, that your written instructions weren't clear enough and robots have shipped broken. You will fix it.
Your coworkers and consultants and contractors are located all over the country and world, not in your lab. In the case of suppliers and contract manufacturers, someone at your company is paid to visit them and audit their work, and report the results back.
All this costs more time and money than the stereotypical software startup. It rarely includes extra money for Silicon-Valley-style perks such as gyms and gourmet smoothies. The logistics of a robotics startup are close to insanity. The payoff margins are smaller than software, and the costs are higher. About the only good news is that no one can bit-torrent your robot for free, and because it is so hard to build a sustainable robot business, there are fewer people willing to fight the battle.
But, I get to say I design robots for a living, and that's worth a LOT.
-Crazy System Engineer apologizes for long answer.
Note 1: The perk of free coffee IS included. In my professional opinion, no one has EVER made engineers pay for coffee.