Open Source Entrepreneurship & the Virtual Community

When we (Polaris Venture Partners) created Dogpatch Labs we did so with the goal of creating a great environment for sharp founders to develop great ideas, formulate their businesses, & tap into networks which they otherwise would have difficulty leveraging.  Fostering that environment calls on a couple of concepts.

One is open source entrepreneurship.   This means that we really focus on attracting & selecting innovators who want to both collaborate & share with one another.  It means we not only look for great folks, but also those who keenly want to work in that kind of environment.  We look for founders who might want to mentor as well as be mentored.  And a selection of founders who are working on projects which other Dogpatchers find both intellectually stimulating as well as valuable to their learning in the journey to build their businesses. A bit of our role in assembling each Dogpatch “pledge class”  is not just exercising business & technical judgement but also amateur chemistry. We look for folks with varied backgrounds,varied experiences & functional expertise. In all three Dogpatch locations you will find first time founders, repeat founders who can share their war stories and people with diverse expertise including product, marketing, business development and engineering.   And folks who might have either/both technical & topical expertise.  Think cloud services, social media marketing, freemium product development, etc. 

One of the first things that is obvious to founders who come in for the first time to meet us during our regular Office Hours is that our physical space is open & desks situated in close proximity to each other.   

One of the first things Dogpatchers notice after they’ve moved in is that the doors are open to other entrepreneur communities & other investors.  Dogpatch is part of a Virtual Community building in each Lab location.

In Cambridge, we’ve made an effort to invite groups like DartBoston to host events @ Dogpatch Cambridge to encourage entrepreneurs to work “across community lines”.  We’ve invited BetaHouse & CIC residents to meetups to facilitate networking.  Dogpatchers & TechStars jointly plan social events with each other.  I’m a mentor for TechStars & SmartCamp. And TechStars guys sit or have sat at Dogpatch desks.  Silicon Valley Angels & topical experts have run workshops in Dogpatch Cambridge.  Angel Demo Nights in all three Lab locations have invited & welcomed Angel,  “Super Angel” & other early-stage investors into Dogpatch.  We want compelling companies residing in Dogpatch to be backed by investors — Polaris & otherwise.  As a fact, over 15 Dogpatch companies have already been backed by investors other than Polaris.  And we’ve backed 5 others.  And there are currently 6 companies raising capital in Cambridge alone at the moment.  

We’ve started to announce platform partners like Microsoft who will become members of the Dogpatch community.  And we have several teams in Cambridge that have members of their teams sitting at desks in either DPL Union Square or DPL Pier 38. 

The Virtual Founder Community & Open Source Entrepreneurship are both fundamental concepts behind Dogpatch — and drive a lot of what we’re doing & hope to accomplish in the future.

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3 thoughts on “Open Source Entrepreneurship & the Virtual Community

  1. marshsutherland says:

    Dave,Love the term “Open Source Entrepreneurship” and the idea behind everyone supporting each other so we all succeed, grow, thrive, and improve Boston's already strong startup ecosystem.I'm absolutely amazed at how many startup events and groups have sprung in Boston in the past 9 months. Seems like there are 15 plus events every week going on.If you're interested in applying your Open Source Entrepreneurship skills to the Boston BizSpark Meetup that I organized, we'd love to have you participate and share knowledge and feedback on our email list.'m also working on a Q&A knowledge sharing forum called based on the StackExchange platform that runs and Dharmesh Shah's The idea is to provide a localized Boston-focused forum for startup folks to ask questions, give answers, and earned badges of honor based on quality and frequency of their posts as rated by their peers. I'm looking for a technical resource to finish up the cosmetics of the site right now if you know of anyone who wants to help and get some marketing exposure for the design and web coding skills.I met with Jon Lim last week about SocialGrow headquartering in Dogpatch Labs. It would be great for us to be there, host the BizSpark meetups there, and help the other startups with their marketing and be able to bounce ideas off of each other.Marsh SutherlandSocialGrow@SocialGrow | @MarshSutherland

    • admin says:


      Happy to help w/r/t both the meetup & the Q&A forum. let me know how I can help. Look forward to meeting @ DPL. I’m there for Office Hours TH 2-5pm.


  2. Dave Barrett says:

    Marsh,Happy to help w/r/t both the meetup & the Q&A forum. let me know how I can help. Look forward to meeting @ DPL. I’m there for Office Hours TH 2-5pm.DB

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