Featured on Mar 08, 2011
Matt M. Meeker
"You're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed - Bob Dylan"
I love startups. I've started and worked to build five startups in the past 13 years. I had good success as Co-founder of Meetup.com in 2002. That was mostly due to working with great Co-founders and having supportive, smart investors. I've also been part of startups that failed, and I've learned as much from those as from the successes. Today I'm lucky to be running Dogpatch Labs NYC for Polaris Ventures, exploring the venture capital side of the world. And I get to help the brilliant startups at Dogpatch in their earliest days -- it's the best job in the world.
- Title: EIR at Polaris Ventures / Organizer of Dogpatch Labs NYC
- Age: 37
- Location: Park Slope
- Contact: @mmeeker
You mention that you’ve learned as much from the startups that have failed, as the ones that have succeeded. What advice do you have for a first time entrepreneur who might be struggling with their startup? And how did you know it was time to stop and try something new?
Listen to the market and fail fast. If you're trying hard to get consumer adoption and you're struggling, the market is telling you something about your product. If you're raising money and investors aren't investing, that market is telling you something there too. Talk to people, understand your metrics and the signals they're giving you, and be the expert on your product and your competition. Most of all, listen to yourself. If you're not using your own product much, or it's not something your husband, wife, mom, dad, girlfriend, or best friend is using and loving, it's time to try a different direction. Failure is ok, just be honest with yourself and get it over with quick.
What do you look for in a startup when deciding if they’d be a good fit for Dogpatch Labs NYC?
First, the people. We want teams of people who work well together, complement each other, can disagree passionately and still respect each other and their roles. We also want teams who fit the culture at Dogpatch, and add to the culture and expertise here. Dogpatch is a place to learn from the community and give back at the same time. So, great teams first.
After that, I love original ideas with a bunch of passion and thought behind them. Original ideas are rare, and I have no better idea than anyone else which ideas will be successful, but I love hearing about the genesis of an idea, and why you're passionate about it. Great entrepreneurs believe they *have to* build it or it won't get done (well).
Finally, is the timing good? Can it affect a huge number of people? Do you want to change the world? Is there a real business behind it? And, most important, can we help your company move forward in a big way?
One of your interests outside of startups is running. What are some of your preferred areas in New York to go running?
I'm biased, living in Park Slope, but I love the loop in Prospect Park. 3.35 miles of fun if you do the loop, and lots of alternative paths too. You also can't beat the West Side Highway, all the way up to the GW. Finally, any run that takes you across the Brooklyn Bridge is amazing. I'm planning to do the NYC Marathon this year, so if you see me, keep me honest about it!