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Earlier this week I did a one hour interview on “Meet the Angels” sponsored by Tech Coast Angels (one of the LA Angel groups.) It was supposed to live but for some reason there were some problems getting into the webcast. It’s now up on the web – if you were trying to watch it and couldn’t, it’s posted below.
A week ago I had just gotten home after a month in Homer, Alaska. I was totally chilled out – I worked plenty in July but had very little physical human interaction with anyone other than Amy. I’m sitting here in my Boulder condo today thinking about the entrepreneurial tour de force that was the last six days. I think I interacted with more different people each day than I did cumulatively over the previous 30 days in Homer.
The Boulder New Tech Meetup double header (Tuesday and Wednesday) started things off. The second Boulder Open Angel Forum delivered. Then we had TechStars Demo Day which was amazing, followed by an Open House at Jive Software (they acquired TechStars Boulder 2007 company Filtrbox last year and are growing like crazy), a Return Path board dinner at Black Cat, and the the TechStars Afterparty at the Draft House. Friday saw a Return Path board meeting and lunch with the folks at Return Path followed by TEDxBoulder on Saturday. Oh, and in between I had piles of “regular work.”
There were numerous blog posts and tweets from the week, but my favorite post about an event from the week is up on the True Ventures web site titled On The Road With TechStars Boulder. In addition to all the locals, there were a huge number of folks from out of town who participated in the various events and I smiled a big smile when I read the post.
Last night during the TEDxBoulder intermission break, I had a few quiet moments to myself as I wandered around the grounds of the Boulder Chautauqua. I was filled with a deep satisfaction about the amazingness of the people of Boulder. While there are lots of other great places in the world, I am most at home here. And it’s good to be back home.
Another TechStars company has been acquired. Well – part of it has been acquired. Today it was announced that eBay has acquired the RedLaser product from Occipital. The Occipital guys tell the story in their post titled Arrival at the Launchpad.
Occipital’s founders – Jeff and Vikas – are the epitome of bootstrap entrepreneurs. Every TechStars class seems to have one and Occipital wins the bootstrapper of TechStars Boulder 2008 award. At the end of the program they had a few chances to raise money but weren’t happy with the valuations so decided to hunker down and just bootstrap things. They reinvented themselves several times until they launched RedLaser which has been a runaway hit (over two million copies sold to date.) As RedLaser took off, they had another set of interesting investment offers but no longer have any need for outside capital.
While they were on their way to creating an interesting mobile ecommerce company, they wanted to work on a much bigger set of technical challenges than RedLaser in computer vision and augmented reality, their areas of passion and technical expertise. In their travels they had a few inquires for an acquisition of the company, but really only wanted to sell the RedLaser product, not the entire company. Fortunately, eBay was very interested in the RedLaser product and the match worked extremely well for both parties.
Given this sale, I expect Occipital is now a long way from ever raising outside capital. Jeff and Vikas are now extremely well funded, are scaling up a very interesting team, and going after a huge vision. Oh – and RedLaser is now free in the iPhone AppStore. Congrats to Occipital, Vikas and Jeff!
Monday night, I’ll again be the co-host of Entrepreneurs Unplugged where we will be interviewing Tyler Tysdal, the Managing Director of Mantucket Capital. We’ll start at 6pm at the CU Boulder ATLAS center. Tyler has a neat background as both an entrepreneur and investor and I expect this will be another fun and enlightening session. Tyler’s background follows:
Mr. Tysdal serves on the Board of Directors for the following Mantucket Capital portfolio companies: BrandJourney Capital and PRN Medical Services. His investment background includes venture capital, buyouts, restructurings, hedge funds, real estate, public equities, bonds and several entrepreneurial ventures. Prior to joining Mantucket Capital, Mr. Tysdal founded a private equity firm primarily focused on healthcare, media & entertainment and secondarily on real estate and construction services. Mr. Tysdal is also the founder of Sports Shares, a fractional luxury suite club. He began his career in investment banking with Alex. Brown & Sons, focused on corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions. Mr. Tysdal graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BSBA in Finance from Georgetown University