@dogpatchlabs: Two Years In

With the recent opening of our Dublin Lab and the impending launch of Palo Alto, it’s a good time to take a look at progress since we started @dogpatchlabs a couple of years ago.

Some interesting numbers from across the 4 Lab communities:

  • To date, over 350 emerging companies have been residents.
  • Right now, there are more than 70 teams in the Labs.
  • Team quality has never been higher & incredibly-interesting stuff is being worked on.  The waiting lists in each location range from over 60 to over 100 interested teams.
  • About 100 total DPL companies — or about one third — have received funding. Rounds have ranged from $100K to $10M.
  • Over $140M in capital has been invested in @dogpatchlabs companies.
  • So far, 14 more companies have been acquired by the likes of Google, Facebook, PayPal & others.

So far, Polaris has invested in a little over 10% the total teams funded.  That ratio feels great.

Why?

Well, @dogpatchlabs is — and always will be – an “open source” founder’s community.

What does that mean, again?

That means that we believe that a fundamental part of Dogpatch’s value comes from catalyzing connections between innovators & their peers, advisors and investors.  Lots of entrepreneurs & their friends. Polaris’ network.  Other networks. And other investors.

So what does Polaris get out of Dogpatch other than some really interesting investment opportunities?

Lots.  We measure progress by asking several questions:

  • Is each @dogpatchlabs a really strong community, with residents, mentors & investors supporting each other?  Is each a “magnet” for great – really great – new & repeat entrepreneurs?
  • What quality of ideas are we seeing?  Are we getting a great chance to build relationships with the next generation of great talent?
  • Are we contributing to a richer, deeper ecosystem in each community we participate?
  • Is there a good ratio of financings & acquisitions to companies selected for residency?
  • Are we building deeper, lasting relationships over a “rational” period of time with entrepreneurs we find to be compelling?

We think results are strong in each of these areas.  That said, lots of room to grow further.

We’ve put a lot of emphasis on building strong @dogpatchlabs communities.  For the last two years,  each of the three U.S. locations has been quarterbacked by a lead Polaris partner (i.e, Ryan Spoon in SF (now Palo Alto), Peter Flint in NYC,  me in Cambridge & Dublin.)

Beyond us, our other Polaris partners spend a significant amount of time in each community.

And beyond physical expansion to four Labs, we’ve also expanded the Dogpatch leadership team by hiring three great entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIR) over the past year: Gus Weber in Cambridge & SF (now Palo Alto), Matt Meeker in NYC, and Noel Ruane in Dublin.

Each of our EIRs have been great entrepreneurs and/or technologists themselves.  And they’ve made a tremendous impact in taking the Lab communities to the next level.

As example, in Cambridge, Gus Weber has done an incredible job partnering with the broader tech ecosystem. He’s brought over 35 events (skill share classes, open angel forums, speakers on various topics, and other networking events) into the Cambridge Lab over the last several months. Such events help build a community culture internally, support the growth of companies, create external awareness for what we are building, and support the “open source” model by ensuring that the community at large is welcomed and engaged with the @dogpatchlabs community.

On more than a dozen occasions over the past several months, we’ve shared the @dogpatchlabs model with representatives from other regions, government agencies, and universities.

Gus, Matt, Ryan & Peter have each done an incredible job building relationships with other important players in each market’s Innovation Community.  Groups like TechStars, MassChallenge, 500 Startups, StartX, AngelPad, NYC Seed Start and YC.

Dogpatch is attracting very high quality, repeat entrepreneurs that have typically shied away from traditional incubator/co-working type spaces.

The quality of folks & their ideas is staggering.

That said, when we forge an investment partnership with entrepreneurs,  it’s not only about quality — but quality of match.  Our Seed investment approach is straight-forward:

  •  A big, important idea with a great model and most of all, great team.
  • A great match for our interests, experiences and network.
  • And importantly — potential for synergy & partnership.  We actively partner with each Seed company team.  We work & support.  We believe our most valuable contributions are experiences, networks, energy, & time.  So we’re really thoughtful about selecting opportunities where we can add value.

For us, Dogpatch has proven that it’s a great vehicle for building relationships with, and working closely with exceptional people.

For entrepreneurs,  “open source” has proven to enable relationships to be built with a cross-section of investors, advisors and mentors.

We’re proud that Dogpatchers will tell all that we’ve been active partners in the goal to help everyone succeed (regardless of whether Polaris has invested in them). We’ve worked closely with folks working on really great companies to help them meet other investors & secure funding.

One of the things we’re most proud of – and what makes the @dogpatchlabs network effect work — is the sheer number of quality companies who’ve successfully secured funding.

Because a fundamental goal of @dogpatchlabs is to welcome & encourage connections between entrepreneurs, value-additive advisors and investors.

So far, so good.

Dogpatch gives Polaris another great view into the where/what/how compelling innovation is happening.  Across 4 important and complementary markets.

Bottom-line, we’re early stage investors with a long-term view.

Building relationships & helping the community at-large helps make us better investors.

For partnerships today — & down the road.

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One thought on “@dogpatchlabs: Two Years In

  1. […] As we build out Dogpatch Labs Palo Alto and meet with potential residents, we have had the opportunity to reflect on Dogpatch Labs… which is now a little more than years old. Credit for this exercise should be given to Dave Barrett (blog here, twitter here) who wrote a great, thorough piece on BostonInnovation.com and on his blog. […]

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