The news was first reported in a story on Xconomy. I called John Lacey, the firm’s director of communications, and he confirmed the news: “We are ramping down in Palo Alto and New York while increasing our efforts in Cambridge and Dublin.”
Lacey also emphasized two of the points that Polaris partner Dave Barrett made in the Xconomy piece. First, when I asked if Polaris was changing the way it invests in Silicon Valley and New York startups, Lacey said, “Absolutely not.” Second, he noted that there’s been an explosion of startup accelerators and incubators in the past few years, especially in, yes, the San Francisco Bay Area and New York.
“When we started Dogpatch Labs three years ago, the communities looked much different than they do today,” Lacey said. “And each community has evolved differently. Therefore we’re taking a different approach. But we’re not taking a different approach from the investment standpoint.”
Barrett told Xconomy that in the markets where it’s closing down Dogpatch, Polaris will have a more “distributed” strategy, working to cultivate startups by working with colleges and other accelerators. It sounds like it’s embracing that approach even in cases where it’s keeping Dogpatch open. He said that in Cambridge, Mass., Dogpatch is moving offices and becoming more focused on integrating with other communities. And the European branch in Dublin is also growing.
Dogpatch Labs had already seen some significant changes, most notably the shutdown of its office at San Francisco’s Pier 38 (which was honestly one of my favorite places in the city) in 2011.
Polaris Venture Partners was founded in 1996, and in its 10+ years of existence has made investments in successful companies like Akamai, Allaire, Alnylam, Automattic, JibJab, LogMeIn, PowerSoft, QuantCast, Sirtris, and SolidWorks. The company’s portfolio extends beyond digital media investments through its stakes in life sciences and enterprise software concerns and other industries.