Dogpatch Labs, the incubator backed by Polaris Ventures, is perhaps most famous for helping out startups like Instagram, TurntableFM, Mixel, FancyHands and Formspring in their early days, out of offices in the Bay Area, NYC or Cambridge. It’s definitely had a higher profile in the U.S. than in Europe where it launched a Dublin-based offshoot 6 months ago. However, that move appears to be paying dividends, with DPL saying it has seen six investments of $1M or more already.
These include funding rounds for Profitero, the pricing intelligence for retailers, which announced a $1M investment by Irish VC Delta Partners.
And in January Biz Stone, Huddle’s Andy McLoughlin and 500 Startups put another $1M into Intercom.io a CRM tool for web businesses that features Google Analytics-like integration that tracks customer interactions.
Dog Patch isn’t just incubating startups. Nineteen-year-old hacker-turned coding evangelist James Whelton has based himself out of the Dublin office, where his Coder Dojo project has done workshops for coders as young as 4 everywhere from London to Tokyo.
Noel Ruane, head of Dog Patch’s operations in Europe says “the numbers do the talking. I’m confident this is just the start for Dog Patch Europe”.
It’s part of a wider trend. Incubators are rising once more in Europe, where startup teams find comfort in the close proximity of an incubator, in contrast to the spread out and geographically fragmented nature of the over-all European scene.
Recently we saw Springboard in the UK co-locate with Seedcamp (more of an accelerator programme) in Google’s new Campus London facility, the first of its type in the world. And Innovation Warehouse also houses its startups in a facility backed by the City of London, nearby.
But incubators aren’t for everyone and they have sometimes been criticised for locking startups into a model that isn’t built for longer term growth or follow-on investment. I guess Instagram may help to balance that perception in some people’s eyes, but we’re still waiting for something that big to come out of a European incubator.