Polaris to Open Dog Patch Labs Incubator in Cambridge

9/10/09Follow @bbuderi

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social media and consumer Internet space as an example. He knows people in San Francisco, he says, who “could bring a lot of value to some aspiring social media entrepreneurs here in Boston.” Polaris might bring them to Cambridge for seminars, workshops, pizza parties, and more. Similarly, Dog Patch Cambridge folks might be invited to San Francisco. “We really hope that this can be a bridge that allows a lot of the talent and the thinking to flow back and forth between the coasts,” Hirshland says. The first of these fellows will hold a seminar in Cambridge on a to-be-announced topic no later than November, Polaris says.

Despite its broader focus and expanded ambitions of becoming an innovation bridge between the coasts, Dog Patch Cambridge will operate almost exactly like its West Coast counterpart. It will start small, with initial space for about 10 entrepreneurs (San Francisco has expanded a few times, and is in the process of growing again, to accommodate 35 desks). And it will operate on what Hirshland calls the principle of “open source” entrepreneurship. Denizens are welcomed free of charge—and with no strings attached.

Dog Patch CambridgeAs I wrote in my original profile: “A startup or someone pursuing a startup idea gets free office space, Internet connectivity, camaraderie, and the eyes and ears of Polaris folks. But Polaris doesn’t take a stake in the endeavors or even insist on first rights to fund the enterprises it houses …There’s an implicit understanding that the venture firm will have first crack at funding a promising Dog Patcher, but only as what he [Hirshland] calls a “‘first sponsor’ goodwill thing. No economics, no rights/obligations.’” The expectation is that the groups will move on—hopefully by raising financing and moving into their own space—within three to six months.

That open source aspect is pretty unique. Many incubators, including most of those included in our recent Xconomy Guide to Venture Incubators, take some sort of equity stake in the companies they nurture.

Hirshland says the primary idea behind Dog Patch, though, is not to develop “a feeder system for Polaris investments.” Rather, the point is to try and foster connection between entrepreneurs. Directly or indirectly, he says, the more energy there is in the system, “we all benefit from that.”

If you’d like to be considered for a kennel slot at the lab, this is the place to e-mail: dogpatchlabs@gmail.com.

Here are some photos I shot (except for the last one, which comes from Polaris) at Dog Patch San Francisco in May.

Dog Patchers can use the "lobby" in Social Media's space
Dog Patch Lab company with no name
Click on image to see it bigger--and better.

Click on image to see it bigger--and better.

Dog Patch Labs San Francisco

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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  • http://www.genotrope.com Tom Summit

    Bravo Polaris and @vcmike. Great news and idea. It was hard not to blog about this news, but glad I didn’t have to wait long. ;-)

    As un-solicited input, I nominate Sean Ellis as one of the Fellows to bring here. We need to nurture a great crop of Web Product Managers. He seems to have done a pretty good job at LogmeIn.

  • http://www.cictr.com Tim Rowe

    Great move, guys. Between what you guys are doing, TechStars, Summer and Highland, the work that folks are doing at Beta House, and the Cambridge Coworking Center that I’m involved with, we are starting to create a really vibrant and interesting set of alternatives for early stage entrepreneurs.

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  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/bbuderi/ Robert Buderi

    Tom–Thanks for not blogging about it early!

    Tim–You almost scooped me yourself, as I was thinking along the same lines. I just posted this 2009 timeline of new programs and initiatives, etc, for Boston area entrepreneurs.

  • http://www.codepuppy.com Jeff Potter

    Fantastic! It’s energy and community like this that keeps many of us here (certainly not the weather!).

  • http://www.hotknifedesign.com Jon Follett

    I think this is a great move by Polaris, and definitely further strengthens the Boston and Cambridge tech community. We have exciting things brewing here–between events like WebInno and BarCamp, co-working locations like Beta House, and most recently the TechStars incubator there are lots of places for entrepreneurs to get plugged in.

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