Dogpatch Labs’ new ‘pay to play’ co-working space at CHQ set to expand to 20,000 sq ft

26 Feb 20151 Share

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Dublin’s digital docklands has received a boost with news Dogpatch Labs has moved north of the River Liffey to the pristine CHQ building in the IFSC and that start-ups have filled 90 desks so far.

It is understood that the current 13,500 sq feet of space will be expanded by a further 7,000 sq feet to more than 20,000 sq feet as demand for space grows.

Dogpatch Labs, the brainchild of US venture capital firm Polaris Partners, opened its doors in Dublin in September 2011 on an invite-only basis, hosting fast-emerging Irish start-ups such as Intercom, Boxever, Trustev, Logentries, Profitero and CoderDojo.

The new Dogpatch Labs – aka, Dogpatch Labs 2.0 – will instead operate on a “pay to play” basis under the leadership of young tech entrepreneur Patrick Walsh.

The new development is also being spearheaded by Mervyn Greene of The CHQ Building. Noel Ruane of Polaris Partners will continue his involvement as lead of the Dogpatch Labs advisory group.

Percolating innovation

Walsh told Silicon Republic that the development is designed to meet a pent-up demand for space among rising local and international start-ups who also want to be close to the footfall of venture capitalists and members of industry.

Co-working spaces are a fast-growing industry in tech hubs such as London, New York and San Francisco. Examples include Rocketspace in San Francisco, where emerging start-ups share space with established industry players, allowing innovation to rub off naturally.

Originally launched by Polaris Partners in San Francisco in 2009 and with subsequent facilities in New York City, Boston and Dublin, Dogpatch Labs’ spaces have originated companies such as Instagram, which social network Facebook purchased for US$1bn.

Speaking with Silicon Republic, Walsh said a decision had been made that if Dogpatch in Dublin was to grow to scale it would need to move from invite only to pay to play.

“There are plenty of serviced offices in Dublin and there are a good few accelerators and incubators where you hand over equity instead of rent.

“Our model is post-accelerator but we are obviously not picking winners. Ideally we will work with companies that have already begun raising their own funding and are on their own journey. That said, we aim to provide an environment where potential future investors can drop by and mix with the companies and we will even have a space where venture capitalists can come in and work.”

Walsh added that a mix of local start-ups and international start-ups is the standard he wants to set.

One of the new tenants of Dogpatch 2.0 is Silicon Valley online learning marketplace Udemy.com, which employs 130 people worldwide and has raised US$48m in venture capital. Udemy.com has so far taken seven desks at the new co-working space.

Pressure to grow

According to Mervyn Greene, the new Dogpatch Labs 2.0 is already under pressure to expand. “Our facilities manager is ex-Google and she said to me, ‘those plans for expansion in April, we need them now.’”

Greene added it is vital that the new co-working space offers a level playing field for start-ups, investors and members of industry.

“It’s all about allowing ideas to percolate. We want to create a vibrant working environment where start-ups can be productive but also rub shoulders with potential investors and customers.

“The companies we have here and the others that will follow will already be on their growth journey and will be able to pay their way. But at the same time it’s about adding value through being able to get to know new people, new investors and business partners.

“We will be creating hotdesks for the wider investment community to come in and hang out,” Greene said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com