I’m Hot on Feedburner

Dick Costolo, the CEO of Feedburner, announced yesterday that we led their financing and that I have joined their board.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that read my original Why Did We Invest in NewsGator post or my What do my blog stats really mean post.  I first hooked up with Dick Costolo and the Feedburner crew on May 8, 2004 shortly after I started blogging (on May 4, 2004) due to a heads up from Fred Wilson that I should use Feedburner to publish my RSS feed.  I’ve been waiting patiently ever since to have the opportunity to invest in Feedburner.

When I dug in and started trying to understand RSS and blogging in the spring of 2004, I identified eight segments that I believed existed: Content Management Systems (CMS), Aggregators (Readers), Tools, Hosting, Content, Search, Analytics, and Advertising.  I used this as the framework for both exploring the impact of RSS and identifying companies that I might be interested in investing in.  My framework has evolved in the past year, especially once I realized that my technical analogy for how RSS evolved was going to be similar (but not equivalent) to how SMTP evolved.  I was a very successful investor in email-related technologies (and continue to enjoy being an investor in two successful email-related companies – Return Path and Postini), but also learned some “interesting” lessons about how quickly the dynamics could change as I had a huge financial win at one point in the “email direct marketing segment” with a company called MessageMedia that ultimately got slaughtered (more on that some other day).

Our investments in NewsGator and Technorati covered a lot of the interesting territory for us.  However, analytics was an important segment that neither NewsGator or Technorati touched (although both have huge amounts of interesting data – they just weren’t focused on the publisher-side for analytics).  While Technorati – as a search engine – has an advertising component to its revenue model, it didn’t address feed-oriented advertising, nor did it address any of the publisher-side complexity associated with feed management and distribution.  While publishers benefit from both NewsGator’s and Technorati’s services (and are customers of each company), we saw a wide open opportunity to help publishers with all of their syndication management, advertising, and analytics opportunities – hence Feedburner.

Dick is far more articulate about this then I am, so I recommend reading what he wrote about Feedburner’s Business Model in his post about the financing.  Dick – as a good entrepreneur – built a great syndicate around his financing.  DFJ (co-investors with us in Technorati) – are investors, as is Sutter Hill (our co-investors in Return Path – Greg Sands, who I’ve worked with closely at Return Path, will be a big help for us at Feedburner.)

While we’ve missed investing in a few of the segments, most notably CMS’s (and Six Apart is undoubtedly the best emerging company in this arena, especially as the free stuff is already owned by Google/Blogger, Microsoft/Spaces, and Yahoo/360), there are a few new problems (and possibly segments) that have emerged, especially as you start to think about the second-order effects of RSS (now that the first-order effects are over a year old and in our face every day).

If you blog but don’t currently use Feedburner to publish your feed, try it.  I promise you’ll like it. Oh – and try NewsGator and Technorati also (my homage to Warren Buffett, master of promoting his own companies – drink a Diet Coke while you are at it).

  • Great investment. I particularly like the ecosystem that you guys (collectively) are building through the portfolio. Kudos.

  • Great investment. And thanks, I think the blogosphere appreciates it too!

  • Blog Infrastructure Venture Financing – It’s an “arms race” now

    It’s great to see companies doing well raise money to continue the efforts.

  • FeedBurner scores a $7M Series B

    Niall points to this FeedBurner announcement regarding the close of a $7M Series B financing. It was led by Mobius VC, with participation from new investor Sutter Hill and Series A investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Portage Ventures. Mobius VC

  • Why invest in FeedBurner

    Brad Feld shares his thoughts on FeedBurner, Technorati and Newsgator investments….

  • brad, great job. i think these are all super smart investments. feedburner seems well positioned to do a lot more. would love to share ideas on it some time.

  • Feedburner

    I have read the post I’m Hot on Feedburner on Feld  Thoughts and I think that the company’s funding  is also great news for the blogging  industry as a whole. As a blogger I think that they are in a great position to think about off…

  • VV Show #1 – Dick Costolo of FeedBurner (part 1 of 2)

    Download the MP3. Dick Costolo of FeedBurner joines us for our first show. FeedBurner provides services for publishers of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). RSS is an interface that allows users access data from blogs, traditional media, podcasts and oth…

  • Going through your blog I found out that you have invested in many companies involved in the RSS/blog market.
    1. A blog search engine Technorati.com
    2. A news reader Newsgator.com
    3. A tool that enables measuring RSS feeds traffic Feedburner

    Would you be interested in a tool that enables syndicating RSS content so that webmasters and bloggers get real time news for their site.

    If so check out http://www.stepwebz.com, a provider of real time news and online content for webmasters and bloggers.

    By the way we also provide a tool that would allow visitors to your blog to syndicate and publish your RSS feeds on their site. And, in the meantime you would earn cash.

    Check out http://www.stepwebz.com/stepwebz_button.asp



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