Viewing entries tagged
dogpatch labs

Announcing PostRocket.

Last week we announced an investment in Spindle. Today, I am excited to an investment in another seed-stage, Dogpatch Labs, social media company: PostRocket. PostRocket optimizes Facebook content for brand and page owners. It's a problem those users know too well: 1,000s of fans - often $1,000s of dollars spent - and yet only a small percentage are reached. PostRocket looks at the content, fans, and engagement habits to help brand / page owners create better content, publish more effectively, and ultimately drive deeper engagement. It's also a problem this team knows well: they are smarter about Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm / logic than any non-Facebook employee I know.

It's a big, important idea because it's a big, important question for the majority of Facebook brands and advertisers. I have eaten my own dog food and tested PostRocket with the DogpatchLabs Facebook page. The early results are really outstanding: over a 2.5x improvement in fan engagement.

PostRocket is opening their doors soon. You can register for the beta here. And follow them on Facebook and Twitter. More on TechCrunch.

Announcing Spindle.

It's a bold vision: "build the discovery engine for hte social web"... and that's precisely what excites us about Spindle. Based in Cambridge, MA and started in Dogpatch Labs, Spindle aims to deliver actionable information and news that you wouldn't have found otherwise... using location, real-time data and your social and interest graphs. Today, Pat, Simon, Alex and Alex announce Spindle as the discovery engine for the social web and open to beta registrations:

"We believe that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible via the social web and that discovery needs to be reimagined from the ground up. Location, device, time of day, the structure of the physical world, the social graph, and your interests can uncover better content than keywords. (read more)"

- Spindle on Facebook - Spindle on Twitter

Designing for Mobile: 7 Guidelines for Mobile Apps & Mobile Web

Note: this article originally appeared on TechCrunch: Designing for Mobile: 7 Guidelines for Startups to Follow As an investor, I’ve seen hundreds of mobile application pitches. And as a consumer, I’ve downloaded hundreds more – some out of curiosity and others in the hope that I’ll find something so useful and exciting that I’ll make room for it on my iPhone’s home screen. From both perspectives, I am rarely excited by download numbers. What gets my attention is engagement: how frequently an application is used and how engaged those users are. This ultimately is the barometer for an application’s utility and/or strength of community. And if either of those two factors are strong, growth will certainly come. Just ask Instagram, Evernote, LogMeIn and others.

Creating great mobile experiences requires dedication to building product specifically for mobile. It sounds obvious, but it’s so often overlooked. Mobile users have different needs, desires and environments; and as the application creator, you have different opportunities to create utility and engagement. With that in mind – and with the help of my former eBay colleague and Dogpatch Labs resident, Rob Abbott (founder of EGG HAUS and Critiq), we’ve put together 7 design guidelines to consider when building for mobile.

Just like the presentations on leveraging Facebook (both on-Facebook.com and off-Facebook) and Twitter, success comes from building meaningful experiences that are honest to the native environments.

Read all of the startup presentations: - Leveraging Facebook for Startups: Part II, On-Facebook - How to Leverage Facebook for Startups: Part I, Off-Facebook - 14 SEO Tips for Startups - How to Grow Your Brand on Twitter. 5 Overarching Guidelines. Tons of Examples. - How to Create an Early-Stage Pitch Deck

7 Guidelines to Great Mobile Design

How to Grow Your Brand on Twitter. 5 Overarching Guidelines. Tons of Examples.

Note: This article originally appeared on TechCrunch ("5 Ways for Startups to Grow Their Brands on Twitter”). Last week I began an effort to answer those questions I get asked most frequently, starting with how to create an early-stage pitch deck. Today, I address the next most popular question: how best to grow your brand on Twitter? Twitter is the ultimate marketing platform. But the scale of Twitter is so extraordinary (250 million tweets / day) that it is actually quite easy to get lost in the noise.

Separating yourself from the masses really begins with the recognition that Twitter is first and foremost a platform for conversation. If you believe that, you avoid the mistake most brands make: treating Twitter as a mechanism to push content rather than create engagement.

And once your goal is to foster conversation and engagement, you can follow these five guidelines:

1. Listen. 2. Be authentic. 3. Be compelling. 4. Find the influencers. 5. Extend off-twitter and onto your site.

In the below presentation, I breakdown these core themes and provides examples of people and companies successfully using Twitter to drive engagement and grow their brands.

How to Create an Early-Stage Pitch Deck

Note: This article originally appeared on TechCrunch ("How To Create An Early-Stage Pitch Deck For Investors"). It is the first in a series of posts / decks that I will be doing on those questions I get asked most commonly. Of course we will start with the question I get most: how to create a great pitch deck!

When raising capital, a combination of your company’s product, vision, team and execution are what ultimately attract investment. And while the pitch deck is ultimately less important than vision and product, it exists to convey both elements and get investors hungry for more.

Like other investors, I come across hundreds of pitches each month — some in person, others in email; some as PowerPoints, and others as full-fledged business plans. Your goal is to craft a deck that is both:

- crisp: succinct enough that it is easily digestible (in person, email, etc)

- and complete: thorough enough that it conveys the big vision and current traction

I looked back on many of the pitches I reviewed over the last couple years (good and bad) and compared it to public pitch decks of familiar, successful companies like Airbnb, Foursquare, and Mint. The output is this guide to creating an early-stage pitch deck. It’s intended for companies seeking seed and series A investments.

There are five core themes followed by a suggested structure:

1. Have a great one-liner 2. Know your audience 3. Keep it to 10-15 slides 4. Beware of the demo 5. Expect the deck to be shared

And remember: it’s the story and the conversation that is important – not the imagery and colors. If you can convey the passion that drives you (and your users / customers!), you will have created a powerful pitch deck.

Introducing Mixel

A Dogpatch Labs NYC and Polaris-backed startup, Mixel launched this morning. Using the iPad - Mixel lets you make, share and remix collages in a whole new way. You can download it in the app store here. Founded by former New York Times digital design director Khoi Vinh and Scott Ostler (dump.fm), Mixel is the first social art app for the iPad. With the free app, anyone can create and share fun digital collages, called mixels, using images from the web, Mixel’s library, or their own personal photos. Any image in Mixel can be quickly cropped, rotated, scaled or combined with other images using the simple, intuitive touch gestures familiar to iPad owners.

This excerpt from Sam Grobart's NYTimes piece ("Mixel Makes Art Social") does a great job conveying why I am excited about Mixel and the creative output that will pour from it: I watch my 1 year old son interact with the iPad the magic & delight that comes from it - Mixel has the opportunity to bring that same creativity and magic to adults who, like me, might not necessarily be artistic. That's powerful and fun:

"I tried Mixel, and it was fun and intriguing. I cannot draw to save my life, but collages? That I can do. You feel like you’re playing Art Director: Fisher-Price version. I mean that as a compliment — it’s fun to juxtapose images and text, and it’s worlds easier than, say, painting. That would’ve been enough to make a perfectly nice app, but adding the social features, where friends and others can create chains of meme-like images, turns Mixel into something more deeply compelling. It’s a conversation I’m looking forward to having."

You can read more here: - TechCrunch - NY Times - All Things D - VentureBeat - GigaOM

Introducing Mixel for iPad from Mixel App on Vimeo.

Reflecting on Dogpatch Labs, Two Years In: 350+ Companies, $140m in Funding.

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.

I encourage you to read the articles as they do a great job explaining Dogpatch Labs' history, operations and success. I'll repurpose the highlights here...

And if you are interested in applying to any of the four Dogpatch Labs locations, please do so here.

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, 15 more companies have been acquired by the likes of Google, PayPal, Trulia, BlackHawk, Buddy Media & others.

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

Read more: on BostonInnovation.com and on his blog. Follow Dogpatch Labs: Twitter, Facebook, Blog Follow Polaris Ventures: Twitter, Facebook

Announcing Dogpatch Labs Palo Alto & Europe

In early September, we got the unfortunate news that the San Francisco Port Authority was closing Pier 38 (home to Dogpatch Labs San Francisco). It was a sad ending to a really terrific 2.5 years for Dogpatch Labs SF: 250+ entrepreneurs, 100+ companies, $100m+ in funding, 9 acquisitions, 9 Polaris investments. We expressed our commitment to finding a great new home and building an equally strong, innovative community... and today we are thrilled to announce Dogpatch Labs Palo Alto and Europe.

You can apply to all locations (Cambridge, Dublin, Palo Alto, New York) here.

Dogpatch Labs Palo Alto:

In early November, we will be opening a permanent Polaris Ventures office in downtown Palo Alto. Dogpatch Labs will be adjacent to the Polaris Palo Alto office, will have its own design and functional identity. It will be based at 151 Lytton Street - just one block from the Palo Alto Caltrain station.

Dogpatch Labs Europe:

Dogpatch Labs Europe officially opened today and is based in Dublin, Ireland (The Warehouse, in the Grand Canal basin). It is opening with 35 entrepreneurs who have come from across Europe. Dublin has become a hub for tech innovation and entrepreneurship - Dogpatch joins Twitter, Google, Facebook, Zynga and others.

Read more here:

- TechCrunch: Dogpatch Labs SF Moves From Pier 38 To Palo Alto, Opens New Accelerator In Dublin

- XConomy: The Polaris Express: Dogpatch Labs Says Goodbye Pier 38, Hello Palo Alto and Dublin

- Silicon Republic: Polaris’ Dogpatch Labs locates in heart of Europe’s digital capital

Dogpatch Labs: Pier 38, A Look Back & A Look Ahead.

I am saddened to share the news that Pier 38, our west coast hub for the last 2.5+ years, will no longer be the home to Dogpatch Labs San Francisco. The Port Authority of San Francisco notified all Pier 38 tenants today that they must vacate the building by the end of September. Pier 38 was home to Dogpatch Labs and many others: True Ventures, 99 Designs, Automattic, etc. Pier 38 really has been a magical home to Bay Area entrepreneurship. It's a truly unique location and atmosphere that encapsulates the founders and their endless energy that called it home. When entrepreneurs, friends, partners, etc walked into Dogpatch and the Pier for the first time, they almost always were taken aback by the space and its vibe.

I am remarkably proud of what Dogpatch Labs did here at Pier 38 and am excited about its future:

- Dogpatch hosted over 250 entrepreneurs and 100+ companies like Instagram, Formspring, TaskRabbit, Recurly, Yardsellr, LOLapps, Appjet, etc.

- In total, these companies have raised over $100m in seed and venture funding.

- And we sat alongside a slew of other great companies and friends: Automattic, Twilio, 99 Designs, Jambool, Social Media, etc.

We are actively working on finding a great new Dogpatch Labs home and hope to be settled and taking applications by end of Q3. More to come!

You can read more on TechCrunch here.

And on DogpatchLabs.com: DPL SFO - Remembering Our Inspirational Home, Preparing for Next Chapter.