I borrowed that title from a very interesting Time magazine article. While they were talking about pure play web companies, a lot of the concepts ring true. Starting a company today can be done without committing a lot of money over a long period of time. The trick is keeping fixed costs extremely low and pegging your variable costs to measurable results.
Freelance everything in the beginning. (and btw pure sweat equity is soooo 90's) That way you get the necessary level of talent early on. Be generous to your early investors and adopters. If it works, you can start scaling and increase your fixed costs.
By doing this you can weather erratic sales cycles without driving off the cliff. Hence the name "Cockroach Companies". They don't die easily.