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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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Microsoft To Acquire Danger

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Today Microsoft announced that they have agreed to acquire Danger.  Congrats to the gang at Danger who have created a dynamite set of products with a significant and passionate user base.  Hats off also to my Mobius partner Greg Galanos who has been involved as an investor / board member in Danger from the very beginning.

Stratify and Iron Mountain – Perfect Partners

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Today’s guest blogger is my partner, Jason Mendelson.  I’m immensely proud of Jason, my partner Chris Wand, Stratify’s CEO Ramana Venkata, his excellent management team, and all the great folks at Stratify for their fantastic work in creating the market leading eDiscovery company.

Today, Stratify and Iron Mountain announced they have entered into an agreement for Stratify to be acquired by Iron Mountain for approximately $158m in cash.  Stratify is a Mobius Venture Capital portfolio company that Chris Wand and I have had the pleasure of serving on the board for the past several years.  We’ve really enjoyed the journey that we’ve shared with Ramana Venkata, the CEO and the rest of his capable management team. 

Stratify has revolutionized the way that attorneys deal with the eDiscovery process.  For those of you fortunate enough to not know what “eDiscovery” is, think about all the millions of pages of paper, and hundreds of GB of email and files that lawyers comb through when one party sues another.  What used to be a completely manual process that resulted in spiraling costs and sometimes marginal quality, has now been partially automated by technology.  This process has been dubbed “eDiscovery.” 

Stratify’s best-of-breed patented technology uses statistical algorithms to “read” documents – in any form, in any language and automatically group like items together, discarding duplicates, segregating out irrelevant data and creating computer-generated named folders where similar-subject matter documents are stored.  Also included in their platform are analytics to study relationships between documents, emails trails and a host of other capabilities that make anyone who sees them wish for a more stringent document retention policy. 

Iron Mountain Digital and Stratify have had a burgeoning partnership, whereby Stratify eDiscovery solutions were offered in combination with those from Iron Mountain, the trusted name in information management.  It’s a natural partnership that the company holding and protecting  information assets for enterprises is acquiring the technology and expertise to make them actionable – giving  their customers the ability to analyze and leverage information in valuable ways. 

We were the only institutional investors in Stratify and therefore we played an even larger and more active role in supporting the company’s efforts than normal.  Whether it was sitting around drawing on a white board developing mock ups of screen shots, or tagging along on early sales calls trying to sell to lawyers who had never heard of the term “eDiscovery” it was a great experience.  In fact, it was fun.  It’s even more rewarding that the company became such a huge success.

Today marks a great step in Stratify’s ambitions to make enterprises’ unstructured information actionable, one vertical at a time.  I look forward to saying that “I knew them when,” as they join the Iron Mountain platform to create even a larger and more dominant footprint.  Congratulations to Stratify and Ramana with special mentions to Meena, George, Sanjeev, Steve, David, Joy, Parveen, Allyson, Rob and Wendy.  Also we wouldn’t be where we are today with the incredible assistance of Peter Falvey and Michael Barker at Revolution Partners and Jon Gavenman of Heller Ehrman / VLG.  You were all a true pleasure to work with.  Congratulations too, to Iron Mountain for their brilliant decision to join forces!

Smiling Founders

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BusinessWeek has a web slideshow running called Big Tech Buyouts.  It profiles the founders of 10 Internet companies that have been acquired this year.  Three of them – FeedBurner, Sling Media, and Postini – are companies we were investors in.  Everyone appears to be smiling.

Notice the abundance of gray hair (or in Dick Costolo’s case, no hair.)  I realize this is shameless brogging, but it’s fun sometimes.  And I’m really proud of these guys and the companies they helped create.

Sling Media Acquired by EchoStar

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Today EchoStar announced that is has acquired Sling Media for $380 million in cash.  My partner and 2007 travel buddy Ryan McIntyre is smiling tonight as he crawls into bed and reflects on another great deal on the heals of his successful investment in Postini (acquired in July by Google for $625 million.)  I’d recommend that he snuggle up to a Slingbox, but I’ll restrain myself.

Ryan has written a nice essay on the story of his experience with Sling Media.  The Sling team – led by Blake Krikorian – has created a great company and a superb set of products.  I knew I was in love when I turned over my first Slingbox and noticed a little sticker with the phrase “Lebowski” on it.  Sling packed an incredible amount of innovative software (and a tiny bit of hardware) into a plastic box that was mostly filled with air.  The magic was in the software (dynamic video-stream-optimization technology called Lebowski) which reinforced our view that “it’s all about the software.”

Guys – awesome job.  EchoStar – you guys just made a really smart purchase.

Moving To Boulder

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We are moving our offices to Boulder.  As of Monday, our new address will be:

1050 Walnut Street
Suite 210
Boulder, CO  80302

Due to the miracle of modern technology, all of our telephone numbers will remain the same.

My office has been in Superior, CO since 2000.  We’ve enjoyed being above a liquor store and a pizza joint for seven years.  While I’ve gotten tired of telling people that “Superior is basically Boulder”, I figured out that it wasn’t really helpful to say “Boulder is superior.”

We’ve traded our pizza joint for The Rio, Walnut Brewery, The Kitchen, Amanti, and The Foundry (our namesake bar across the street.)  If you decide to go for a five minute walk, you’ll pass by a bunch of our friends, including Me.dium, TechStars, Boulder Ventures, Vista Ventures, Kachi Partners, Greenmont Capital, Google (@Last), Confluence Commons, Lacuna, Collective Intellect, Prospect Street, Tango, Applied Trust, Blink Gallery, Paul Berberian and Co., Slice of Lime, Metzger, Van Heyst Group, Ravenwood, Texture Media, Mango, and I’m sure I missed a bunch.  Of course, being Boulder, there is sushi everywhere.

We’ll miss the constant entertainment from our friends at Return Path and StillSecure (who we shared offices with in Superior), but I’m sure they’ll enjoy the nice big juicy offices we’ve left them to expand into.

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