On my flight this AM to Austin (sans wi-fi) I had a moment to reflect on the past few weeks that I’ve been at Polaris. It’s been a really awesome month, and I’ve met a bunch of GREAT companies, entrepreneurs and have learned more in the past month that I ever though imaginable (thanks to some great mentors like Dave Barrett and Ryan Spoon). A big part of what I’ve been focused on is getting Dogpatch moved into the new digs at One Cambridge Center (6th floor), and also recruiting new companies to come and join the DPL community.
At the earliest stages, every company is missing something (key hires, traction, funding, etc) and it’s our hope that creating an open-source and collaborative community within DPL provides fertile ground for companies to find the chocolate to their peanut butter. It’s also worth mentioning that the goal of DPL is not to create deal flow for Polaris, but rather that every DPL company receives funding from someone. Just in the past month, several DPL residents have announced they’ve closed funding – which to me, is success. Based on that, I thought it worthwhile to list out a 3 things that I think make great residents in DPL (and thus, make a great organic community)
1) Willingness to be collaborative. DPL is purposefully a mix of companies across stages (some just putting finger to keyboard, others having raised funding), which means that as you’re heading to your next mile post, someone else has probably just crossed that same mile post and learned something along the way. The community only works at DPL when everyone is willing to share successes and failures, and everything that was learned while getting there. Whether it be sharing data about which angels to talk to, helping solve technical problems, or sharing a success (or failure) with other likeminded folks – the Dogpatch community is truly about collaboration and openness.
2) Knowing that it’s OK to ask for help. Following on the point above, it’s hard for another entrepreneur to help, if you don’t ask. I subscribe to the theory, much like what the teachers used to tell us in middle school – there are no embarrassing, dumb, or useless questions. Run into a wall? Can’t see the path ahead? Haven’t closed that million dollar seed? Need to figure out equity? Ask the DPL community – I’ll bet a coffee (or beer) that someone has experienced a similar problem and is more than willing to spend an hour to help you.
3) Actually spending time at DPL. If you’re not there, how do you take advantage of the all of the other great folks that are part of your DPL brethren? If you’re not willing to spend more than a day or 2 a week at DPL, then you’ll probably not get much out of the experience.
If you can’t tell, I’m really really excited about where Dogpatch is heading, and if you’re interested in joining, send me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org), catch me at an event, or stop by DPL office hours. I’d love to chat, hear about what you’re up to and tell you more about Dogpatch.