Who Let the Dogs Out?

Big dog and small kitten.

Cheesy, I know, but it’s early in the morning and I’m still shaking out the cobwebs.

Extreme Venture Partners, a small Toronto-based venture firm focused on early stage startups, just announced ExtremeU, a 12-week summer program for 4 lucky startups. This looks similar to Y Combinator, Techstars and other similar seed fund incubators.

Kudos to the EVP people for getting this off the ground. If you’re interested in the program, follow Farhan Thawar on Twitter. He’s VP of Engineering at ExtremeU and will be running the show.

On a side note, I hope I can be involved in some way, even just to check out the 4 startups’ pitches during the process!

In Canada, this concept is quite new. (Bootup Labs in Vancouver has or is working on something similar I believe.) And there’s been a lot of discussion about how to implement similar programs effectively. David Crow wrote a great thought piece on the subject, “Incubators, accelerators, and ignition. If you’re at all interested in the Canadian startup scene, check that out.

But here’s a slightly different concept from Polaris Venture PartnersDog Patch Labs.

Dog Patch Labs offers free office space, Internet access and other amenities to startups. What do the startups have to give in return? Nothing. There are no signed, legal papers giving Polaris first rights to invest. Polaris doesn’t take equity right away. Granted, they don’t provide the same level of support as you’d find in other seed fund incubators, but they are available and around to assist.

“…Polaris is practicing a kind of “open source” entrepreneurship. There’s an implicit understanding that the venture firm will have first crack at funding a promising Dog Patcher, but only as what he [Mike Hirshland, GP] calls a “‘first sponsor’ goodwill thing. No economics, no rights/obligations.”

There are quite a few recognized names in the Dog Patch, but so far Polaris has only backed two kennel startups – LOLapps and Plinky.

Regardless, for Polaris it’s worth it. They get a hands-on view of the startup world, right down to the nitty-gritty level where all the innovation takes place. As the article points out:

But even if Polaris never funded another resident of Dog Patch, it’s worth the cost. The lab affords an up-close and personal eye on the future to help inform the firm’s other investments. It should also help foster the good will of the entrepreneurs who pass through—making it more likely they will come back to Polaris in the future.

If you want to read more about the Dog Patch, I would recommend you read Mike Hirshland’s blog and follow him on Twitter.

Dog Patch Labs concept is a great idea and could work quite well in Montreal (or elsewhere in Canada, or the US). Startups in Canada definitely need the guidance of experts, veteran entrepreneurs, etc. – more in the mode of ExtremeU or other seed camp incubators – but it would be incredibly smart for a progressive venture firm in Canada to setup something similar to the Dog Patch. Huge goodwill and an incredible, hands-on and deep view into active startups on the ground floor.

June 3, 2009 Posted in Startups by

  • stevenmilstein

    Thanks for the great info! While I appreciate the value of having these start-up incubators local, are you aware of anyone doing this virtually? Is anyone making use of social software platforms to emulate venture capital incubators?

  • stevenmilstein

    Thanks for the great info! While I appreciate the value of having these start-up incubators local, are you aware of anyone doing this virtually? Is anyone making use of social software platforms to emulate venture capital incubators?

  • stevenmilstein

    Thanks for the great info! While I appreciate the value of having these start-up incubators local, are you aware of anyone doing this virtually? Is anyone making use of social software platforms to emulate venture capital incubators?

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Steve – I'm not aware of any incubators using social software do emulate these programs virtually. I think there's some possibility for that, but a big part of the success of these incubators is proximity. It's about having a whole group of people in close quarters working on different things, dedicated to helping each other out. I'm sure some of the teaching, etc. could be done virtually, but I don't think you could mimic the total value / feel of incubators.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Steve – I'm not aware of any incubators using social software do emulate these programs virtually. I think there's some possibility for that, but a big part of the success of these incubators is proximity. It's about having a whole group of people in close quarters working on different things, dedicated to helping each other out. I'm sure some of the teaching, etc. could be done virtually, but I don't think you could mimic the total value / feel of incubators.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Steve – I'm not aware of any incubators using social software do emulate these programs virtually. I think there's some possibility for that, but a big part of the success of these incubators is proximity. It's about having a whole group of people in close quarters working on different things, dedicated to helping each other out. I'm sure some of the teaching, etc. could be done virtually, but I don't think you could mimic the total value / feel of incubators.

  • http://stevenmilstein.com/ Steven Milstein

    Ben,

    Having worked in a Geographically Distributed Software Development(GDD), as well as, a local software lab, I can certainly attest to the advantages of being face-to-face. On the other hand, social software – even used locally, would provide many benefits. For example, chat or instant messages, wikis, blogs, shared files & bookmarking, screen sharing & capture, would be preserved for future reference & serve as a knowledge base – which will only increase in value with each iteration.

    Any while some domain experts – such as start-up gurus, mentors, advisers, investors etc., may not always be available locally, 1) their online presence would still provide an everlasting value and 2) the transparent development environment would enable them, as well as, newcomers to get up to speed.

    Finally, teams adopting outside-in Agile/Lean start-up methodologies need to focus on time-boxed demonstrable deliverables. Stakeholder feedback is essential for subsequent sprints/iterations. And so increasing the depth of stakeholders simply mitigates the risk of developing something in a Ivory Tower.

    While social software will not be the magic bullet for start-up success, it does have the potential to mitigate certain risks, costs, redundancies and errors. I imagine, all of which align nicely with Incubator mission statements?

    IMO, of course :-)

    Regards,
    Steven

  • stevenmilstein

    Ben,

    Having worked in a Geographically Distributed Software Development(GDD), as well as, a local software lab, I can certainly attest to the advantages of being face-to-face. On the other hand, social software – even used locally, would provide many benefits. For example, chat or instant messages, wikis, blogs, shared files & bookmarking, screen sharing & capture, would be preserved for future reference & serve as a knowledge base – which will only increase in value with each iteration.

    Any while some domain experts – such as start-up gurus, mentors, advisers, investors etc., may not always be available locally, 1) their online presence would still provide an everlasting value and 2) the transparent development environment would enable them, as well as, newcomers to get up to speed.

    Finally, teams adopting outside-in Agile/Lean start-up methodologies need to focus on time-boxed demonstrable deliverables. Stakeholder feedback is essential for subsequent sprints/iterations. And so increasing the depth of stakeholders simply mitigates the risk of developing something in a Ivory Tower.

    While social software will not be the magic bullet for start-up success, it does have the potential to mitigate certain risks, costs, redundancies and errors. I imagine, all of which align nicely with Incubator mission statements?

    IMO, of course :-)

    Regards,
    Steven

  • stevenmilstein

    Ben,

    Having worked in a Geographically Distributed Software Development(GDD), as well as, a local software lab, I can certainly attest to the advantages of being face-to-face. On the other hand, social software – even used locally, would provide many benefits. For example, chat or instant messages, wikis, blogs, shared files & bookmarking, screen sharing & capture, would be preserved for future reference & serve as a knowledge base – which will only increase in value with each iteration.

    Any while some domain experts – such as start-up gurus, mentors, advisers, investors etc., may not always be available locally, 1) their online presence would still provide an everlasting value and 2) the transparent development environment would enable them, as well as, newcomers to get up to speed.

    Finally, teams adopting outside-in Agile/Lean start-up methodologies need to focus on time-boxed demonstrable deliverables. Stakeholder feedback is essential for subsequent sprints/iterations. And so increasing the depth of stakeholders simply mitigates the risk of developing something in a Ivory Tower.

    While social software will not be the magic bullet for start-up success, it does have the potential to mitigate certain risks, costs, redundancies and errors. I imagine, all of which align nicely with Incubator mission statements?

    IMO, of course :-)

    Regards,
    Steven

  • Bob

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  • http://marketplace4us.co.uk/ Marketplace

    Very interesting post indeed. And I really meant it. Stevens question about making use of social software platforms to emulate venture capital incubators is quite intriguing as well.

  • http://www.rasim1.com/ Rasim

    yes this is a very interesting post.

  • http://www.cektir.com/ siki? izle

    Very interesting post indeed. And I really meant it. Stevens question about making use of social software platforms to emulate venture capital incubators is quite intriguing as well.

  • http://www.oyun-parki.com/ oyun-parki

    tahnks great article

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Steve – Thanks for the detailed / well thought out comments. I'm all for social software inside a startup. We use a number of tools – chat, wiki, etc. – to maintain open dialogue, track stuff we're doing, etc. And I agree that leveraging social software in an incubator / accelerator model makes sense.

    But at the end of the day, I still believe that you can't replace face-to-face – especially when taking a young group of entrepreneurs and a number of veterans / mentors – throw them in a room and let 'em have at it. Social software can't create that kind of feel / opportunity.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Steve – Thanks for the detailed / well thought out comments. I'm all for social software inside a startup. We use a number of tools – chat, wiki, etc. – to maintain open dialogue, track stuff we're doing, etc. And I agree that leveraging social software in an incubator / accelerator model makes sense.

    But at the end of the day, I still believe that you can't replace face-to-face – especially when taking a young group of entrepreneurs and a number of veterans / mentors – throw them in a room and let 'em have at it. Social software can't create that kind of feel / opportunity.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Benjamin Yoskovitz

    Steve – Thanks for the detailed / well thought out comments. I'm all for social software inside a startup. We use a number of tools – chat, wiki, etc. – to maintain open dialogue, track stuff we're doing, etc. And I agree that leveraging social software in an incubator / accelerator model makes sense.

    But at the end of the day, I still believe that you can't replace face-to-face – especially when taking a young group of entrepreneurs and a number of veterans / mentors – throw them in a room and let 'em have at it. Social software can't create that kind of feel / opportunity.

  • http://stevenmilstein.com/ Steven Milstein

    And that's why I'll be seeing you at http://montrealtechwatch.com/2009/05/27/montrea

  • stevenmilstein

    And that's why I'll be seeing you at http://montrealtechwatch.com/2009/05/27/montrea

  • stevenmilstein

    And that's why I'll be seeing you at http://montrealtechwatch.com/2009/05/27/montrea

  • http://customkitchencabinetsonline.com/ Susan jones

    Nice posting, I never thought that, and how incubators are important.

  • http://customkitchencabinetsonline.com/ Susan jones

    Nice posting, I never thought that, and how incubators are important.

  • http://askdoctor.us/ Ask A Doctor

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    waw it's a nice blog

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  • http://www.dovusoyunlari1.com/ dövü? oyunlar?

    Thanks for the great info! While I appreciate the value of having these start-up incubators local, are you aware of anyone doing this virtually? Is anyone making use of social software platforms to emulate venture capital incubators?

  • http://www.mensswimwear.org/ Shawn

    Hey it was an interesting article..! Thanks just bookmarked you blog, will come back!

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    are very cute

  • markcheng

    offers free office space, Internet collector-solar.com access and other amenities to startups. What do the startups have to give in return? Nothing. There are no signed

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  • http://www.DriveSafe.ly/ Texting While Driving

    Who Let the Dogs Out?” is a song written and originally recorded by Anslem Douglas for Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival season of 1998. It was heard and taped on a float by hairdresser Keith from the London salon Smile, who played it to Jonathan King, who recorded it and released it[1] under the name Fatt Jakk and his Pack of Pets.[2] It then came to the attention of King's friend Steve Greenberg, who produced it with a group he was promoting called The Baha Men. The Baha Men covered the song and placed it in the movie Rugrats in Paris: The Movie and then released it as a single in 2000, when it became the band's first hit in the US and the UK. It reached #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and #2 on the UK Singles Chart. It was the 4th biggest-selling single of 2000 in the UK. It was also a big hit in Australia, where it reached #1. The track went to win the Grammy for Best Dance Recording on the 2001 Grammy Awards

  • drivesafely

    Thanks for such a nice post. ' Who Let's the Dogs Out ' is one of my all time favorite song.

  • http://www.ithouse.dk/ Mariel

    Thanks for that wonderful info.

Ben Yoskovitz
I'm VP Product at Codified (makers of VarageSale).

I'm also a Founding Partner at Year One Labs, an early stage accelerator in Montreal. Previously I founded Standout Jobs (and sold it).

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