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Published on Sep 7, 2010
Running a startup can be great fun, but it can also be pretty lonely. Over the last two years, Dogpatch Labs has become a valuable space for startups in San Francisco, New York, and Boston who have moved out of stealth mode, and into "how did you guys solve this?" mode.
Ryan Spoon is principal with Polaris Venture Partners, the venture capital firm that serves as host to the 25-odd startups that occupy a Dogpatch Labs office at any one time. In one sense, Dogpatch is an incubator, bringing in companies at different phases of their development. But they differ from other incubators in that startups in Dogpatch don't follow a curriculum, and founders seek collaboration more with the other entrepreneurs than from their VC hosts.
Spoon has a few questions for folks thinking of going the startup route. "Do you love what you're doing? You can sometimes see someone who thinks it's a good idea, but isn't really passionate about it. And no matter how good the idea is, you're committing to doing this for potentially a substantial part of your life. You better love it."
After six months, the companies have to give up their desks to a new round of startups. But that usually works out for everyone: "More often than not, a company strikes a chord and does really well, and they need to grow," says Spoon. "Because they're doing well, and they've taken on funding, they're going to hire. And at some point in the near future, they're going to need their own office."