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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Boulder Conversations at the Boulder History Museum on Wed 2/12/14

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BCEP2013-2014It’s always an honor to be asked to participate in something to do with the history of the town one lives in.

As a relative youngster (I’ve only been here since 1995) it was especially humbling to be asked to part of the “Boulder Conversations with Extraordinary People” Speaker Series. This year’s series includes Ceal Barry, Josie Health, Gary Neptune, Bob Sievers, Ann Cooper, Jim Guercio, and Frank Day.

My session is Wednesday, February 12th. The event is happening at the future home of the Boulder History Museum (2205 Broadway, corner of Pine & Broadway). We’ll talk about Boulder, how I got here, and what this incredible town means to me.

Grab a ticket here - all ticket sales go to running the event and the museum, nothing goes to me.

For the record, I’m not old enough to have come to Boulder by train, although I would look fantastic for my age if I did.

Join Me at the Halloween Benefit for Flood Relief @ Mocavo

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The Entrepreneur’s Foundation of Colorado, the Living Green Network, and Mocavo are hosting a roofdeck bash on Halloween to benefit first-responder families and local farms devastated by the recent Boulder-area flood. Let’s rally the entrepreneurial community together and raise some money for those in need. I’ll be there to support the cause and would love for you to join me.

Cliff and the Mocavo gang are opening a one-night-only bar in downtown Boulder in the name of charity. Anyone who’s been to Boulder on Halloween knows it tends to be a pretty wild night, especially when it’s on a Thursday. Between the gong for donation milestones and the flatscreen broadcasting the money raised, it should make for a fun event. Donations made by employees of local companies will also optionally join a company leaderboard for some healthy competition.

Existing sponsor list includes KKO, Silicon Valley Bank, and Goldman Sachs. More sponsors are welcome – a restaurant sponsor would be great.

Register for the free event at EventBrite (link to https://halloweenfloodrelief.eventbrite.com/) or Facebook (link to https://www.facebook.com/events/236678289820621/). Contact floodrelief@mocavo.com for sponsorship opportunities.

The Power Of Mother Nature

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I was going to blog about the Yesware $13.5 million financing but I’ve been buried in Denver Startup Week so I’ll do that tomorrow.

I’ve continued to be emotionally distracted by all the devastation around Boulder from our recent floods. I’ve gotten a ton of emails from all over the world in support as well as some meaningful financial contributions adding on to the $100,000 my partners and I just gave to the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado to provide direct support for the flood victims.

Eldorado Canyon New Crevasse

Amy’s assistant Naomi hiked up to our house in Eldorado Canyon today to finally check on our house there. The house is fine, but there is damage to a bunch of our property. At some intellectual level it’s incredible to see the power of water. At some other level it’s emotionally distressing. The picture above is our meadow. And yes – the crevasse is “new” – so we have a new creek in our meadow.

Then – there’s the lower part of our driveway – well, at least what used to be a driveway.

Eldorado Canyon Destroyed Driveway

And then there’s the road through Eldorado State Park, which no longer works as a road.

Eldorado Canyon State Park Road

 

We are all ok and have plenty of resources to deal with this. So we’ve turned most of our energy to helping our friends, neighbors, and extended Boulder County community deal with the destruction the floods have caused. But it’s really amazing to see the power of mother nature unleashed.

Contributing To The Boulder Community In A Time Of Need

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Today, my partners at Foundry Group and I are contributing $100,000 to the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado (EFCO) to help with the Boulder Flood Relief Effort. This is our second gift to the EFCO – we previously contributed a portion of our carry across all of our funds.

The floods in Boulder and the surrounding area the past week have been devastating. I went for a run last night around town just to get a feel for things – the water is still at dangerously high and fast levels in Boulder Creek and the damage near the creek in downtown is visible. I smelled smells that I’ve never smelled in Boulder before and saw water in places it simply didn’t belong.

But downtown Boulder is quickly getting back to normal. That’s not the problem. If you’ve ever been to Boulder, you know we are surrounded by incredible mountains. It’s part of the magic of the place, but also part of the challenge. A friend told me recently, “think of the mountains as giant slanted roofs and Boulder as the basement of the house.”

There are two natural forces here that can be massively destructive. The first, which have made the news the past few years, are wildfires. Amy and I have endured these for the past 17 years – we’ve been evacuated from our house twice, once for three days during my brother’s wedding. The massive Lefthand Canyon Fire destroyed a huge neighborhood. Awful, terrifying stuff.

But that just set us up for what looks like the real disaster. The entire mountain area around Boulder is wrecked. Roads are destroyed. Towns in the “basement” – including Lyons – are literally wiped off the map. Major parts of Longmont are now submerged. The water ran downhill, destroying everything in its path as gravity did it’s magic, and then just sat at the bottom wherever it ended up.

My partners and I are lucky. None of our lost our houses. We all have roofs over our heads. And we have plenty of resources.

But many of our friends and neighbors were not so lucky. The stories are endless – the friend who lost her house and has no place to live. Another friend who made a mad dash off the mountain with his family and has no idea what the status of his home is. The entrepreneur who worked out of his basement, which is now a swimming pool. The business owner who’s office is now cut in half – and destroyed – by a mudslide. The tech leader who recently had a major back injury, just got out of the hospital, and had to evacuate his house. The people stuck up in the mountains who can’t get out. And the people stuck down in the foothills that also can’t get out.

The magnitude of this hit me yesterday afternoon when I heard estimates of $100m – $150m to fix the “infrastructure damage.” I have no idea what that really means, but for a region of a couple of hundred thousand people, knowing the range is low, and it’s only “infrastructure”, this is going to be a long, hard mess to dig out of.

I’ve always felt a strong responsibility to the community I call home. Boulder has been and continues to be very good to me. And it’s my responsibility, especially in times like this, to be good back. This is not the only financial support we’ll be giving to the Boulder Flood Relief Effort. In addition, we’ll give plenty of functional support. But it’s a step – and one we hope can have direct impact.

My partners and I encourage every entrepreneur in the area who has had a meaningful financial success to consider giving something through EFCO to the Boulder Flood Relief Effort. If you are an entrepreneur who hasn’t yet had a financial success, consider joining EFCO and contributing 1% of the equity in your company today, to help build the endowment for the future. And, if you are a venture capitalist or an angel investor in – or with investments in – the Boulder area, please consider joining EFCO and contributing directly to the relief effort today. Just email me and I’ll get you connected.

Finally, if you are a reader and part of the Feld Thoughts community and you want to help out, please contribute directly to the Foothills Flood Relief Fund. We greatly appreciate any support you can give.

Giving Back, Just as Boulder Needs It

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In 2007 when I co-founded Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado with a bunch of folks our mission was to create wealth that we could give back to the community that has been the foundation for so many of our entrepreneurial endeavors. We envisioned that this would be a long term build, just like the creation of many of the  companies we are involved in. Over the last six years we’ve now generated gifts of over $500,000 that have gone back directly to our community, with the most recent one being from Intense Debate, a company that went through Techstars Boulder in 2007.

Today my friends from GoodApril, who went through the Techstars Boulder 2013 program, just gave $20,000 to EFCO to help with the victims of the massive Boulder-area floods. In addition, Eric and Kim Norlin from the Defrag Conference offered to give $250 to EFCO for everyone who register for Defrag this week.

I asked Mitch Fox and Benny Joseph from GoodApril to write up their thoughts on why they did this. It follows.

A month ago, the sun was shining in Boulder, Colorado as my co-founder, Benny Joseph, and I as we announced the biggest news of our lives.  Our startup, GoodApril, had been acquired by Intuit (maker of TurboTax) in the final days of the TechStars Boulder accelerator program.

In this last week, rain clouds have overwhelmed Boulder and several other Front Range towns.  We’ve been distressed by the devastation, and inspired by the Boulder community’s resilience.

While we were a part of the Techstars program, Benny and I pledged our support to the Boulder community through the Entrepreneurship Foundation of Colorado (EFCO), a program that enables startup founders to give back through the contribution of equity in their companies.  In light of the flood and its impact on Boulder, we have agreed to accelerate that gift.

Startups cannot succeed in a vacuum.  They are as much the product of the sweat and tears of their founders as they are of the mentors, customers, and investors that shape them.

This summer, we experienced the power and generosity of the Boulder community as we built GoodApril.  The Techstars program matched us with phenomenal local business leaders like Vijay Bangaru, JP O’Brien, and Brett Jackson, who helped us find both the strengths and weaknesses in our business plan.  We were welcomed into Boulder’s tech scene, and quickly connected with dozens of potential customers who shared their expectations and excitement for our product. As we progressed, the Techstars leaders, especially Luke Beatty, David Cohen, and Brad Feld, guided us through many tough decisions, including finally whether to accept Intuit’s acquisition offer.

We are extremely appreciative for what Boulder has given us, so we hope our donation to EFCO can help the community recover from this flood.

Thank you Boulder.  Here’s to seeing that sun shine again,

Mitch Fox and Benny Joseph
Co-Founders
GoodApril

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