Tech Start-Up Bliss: Dogpatch Labs

By Olivia Oran

Silicon Valley, which reared Apple(AAPL_), Google(GOOG_)and countless important, cutting-edge start-ups, still dwarfs New York City when it comes to fostering technology innovation.

But the Big Apple’s start-up scene is blossoming. While Silicon Valley captured 39% of all venture funding last year, investment in the New York area increased to 9% in 2010 from 6% in 2007, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

Taking advantage of the boom are more than a dozen Manhattan incubators, accelerators and so-called co-working spaces, which have emerged to foster entrepreneurs and their next great idea.

Meet Dogpatch Labs, a 3,000 square-foot loft space in Manhattan’s Union Square district that hosts 45 workers from 15 start-ups.

Founded by Boston venture firm Polaris Ventures, Dogpatch — named after the San Francisco neighborhood where the original Lab was located — hit New York City two years ago. Dogpatch provides companies with free office space for six months (after the allotted time, they’re replaced with another firm), and hosts workshops, conferences and networking events that connect entrepreneurs.

Well-known Dogpatch graduates include iPhone photo sharing service Instagram, which recently passed its 1 million user milestone, and Q&A website Formspring, which has raised $14 million in funding.

Matt Meeker, co-founder of network facilitator Meetup.com and an entrepreneur-in-residence at Polaris who helps advise start-up founders at Dogpatch, said the lab’s focus on collaboration is tremendously helpful when trying to help a fledgling company off the ground.

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