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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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NewsGator’s New Friend – FeedDemon

Comments (16)

I’m stunned.  It’s 11am Colorado time and there are already 200+ posts listed on Technorati about NewsGator’s acquisition of FeedDemon.  It’s amazing how the word spreads and it is fascinating to read the feedback (both positive and negative), speculation, and rants (good and bad) about this deal.

I’ve noticed several negative comments asserting that “this was driven by the VCs.”  While I’ve clearly been involved in NewsGator’s strategy (and Fred has some flattering words to say on the matter), JB and Greg have been driving the strategy and execution of this business (as a VC, I get to “be helpful”, hopefully in a more productive way then the IRS when they show up and say “we are just here to be helpful.”)

Early on in my exploration of RSS aggregators, I came across FeedDemon (how could you miss it – it’s the clear leader of the Windows Desktop aggregators.)  I played around with it, liked it, and kept my eye on it.  As my Feedburner subscribers increased and I started to have enough subscribers where my data meant something, the position of the top aggregators became clearer (following are my top 6 as of today: Bloglines, NewsGator Online, FeedDemon, My Yahoo, NetNewsWire, and NewsGator Outlook – hint – if you add up NewsGator Online, FeedDemon, and NewsGator Outlook, #1 is still Bloglines (by a little) but the gap between Bloglines / NG and everyone else is huge.)

In the fall as we were crafting our long term strategy – especially around RSS in the enterprise, the idea of a desktop client kept coming up.  We had a unique market position with our Outlook client, but as we laid out our enterprise strategy, it was clear that some users wanted a desktop client.  As we speculated on the future use case for RSS, item level synchronization became a critical item and we started thinking about how best to do this across all the various aggregators (duh – think like a platform – build an API dudes – get it together.)  So – we started working on the API and Greg reached out to Nick to integrated FeedDemon and NewsGator at a sync level (arguably the version that was integrated was pretty light weight.)

At some point in a conversation that Greg, JB, and I were having, one of us (I can’t remember who) said something like “why don’t we approach Nick and see if he’s open to joining forces.”  Greg called Nick and you can read about the rest of the story on Greg or Nick’s site.  This deal would have never happened if (a) Greg didn’t have the vision he had, (b) Greg wasn’t able to articulate the vision, (c) Greg and Nick didn’t have deep respect for each other as technologists and competitors, and (d) we weren’t collectively (including Nick) able to paint a long term compelling vision for NewsGator.

I’ve seen a couple of posts speculating that Feedburner and Technorati are next in line to be acquired by NewsGator since they share an investor (me).  While Feedburner, Technorati, and NewsGator are all complimentary and are discussing a variety of ways to work together, I think it would be a dumb idea to combine these companies.  As an investor, I’ve placed my bets on three companies that are the current leader in each of their segments (Aggregator: NewsGator; Feed Management: Feedburner; Search: Technorati).  You can argue about how you define the specific segments, but these are mine (the one I missed that I wish I had an investment in is the CMS segment.)  I’d much rather try to create three separate platform companies that are complimentary then jam them together into one big mess and fight the battle on three fronts.

There’s a lot more coming, but this is our strategic move of the day.  Nick – welcome aboard.

  • http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/archives/2005/05/newsgator_purch.html Niall Kennedy's

    NewsGator purchases Bradbury Software

    NewsGator Technologies has purchased Bradbury Software in a cash and stock deal. Bradbury Software is develops FeedDemon, a feed aggregator, and TopStyle, a website editor, for the Windows operating system. Nick Bradbury lives in Franklin, Tennessee an…

  • http://blog.softtechvc.com/2005/05/social_media_co.html Software Only

    Social Media Consolidation – Act 4: FeedGator, NewsDemon, or just NewsGator ?

    Anybody checking (FeedBurner) RSS referrer logs sees that there is a page long list of aggregators out there, in a very fragmented market.It is therefore not surprising to hear from Nick Bradbury about the acquisition by NewsGator (for cash

  • http://www.kbcafe.com Randy Charles Morin

    And there’s 27,000 posts listed in Technorati about Microsoft’s acquisition of Linux.

    http://www.technorati.com/cosmos/search.html?rank=&url=microsoft+linux

    It’s amazing how people misuse Technorati. Less than half of the 200 results, more like 50-60, actually refer to the acquisition.

  • http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/archives/2005/05/newsgator_purch.html Niall Kennedy’s Weblog

    NewsGator purchases Bradbury Software

    NewsGator Technologies has purchased Bradbury Software in a cash and stock deal. Bradbury Software is develops FeedDemon, a feed aggregator, and TopStyle, a website editor, for the Windows operating system. Nick Bradbury lives in Franklin, Tennessee an…

  • http://www.feld.com/blog Brad Feld

    Eh – I just went and actually counted. There are 110 as of 12:32pm MT. When I put the 200+ number up, I simply guessed as the the first page count (30) and scanned the first six pages until I hit stuff that wasn’t on the merger. Of course, there are 20 per page – so my math sucked.

    That – of course – begs the question why Technorati doesn’t NUMBER their posts. It’d also be nice to have a date filter on them. Hopefully coming soon.

  • http://furrier.typepad.com John Furrier

    I am very impressed with your work in going after this market area. Very smart. Invest and become a catalyst to create a platform. This encourages technical and market growth, brings entrepreneurs together, and provides a commercialization framework all under the prism of providing better value to users. Very impressive Brad and Mobius.

  • http://myst-technology.com Bill French

    Brad:

    I’d much rather try to create three separate platform companies that are complimentary, then jam them together into one big mess and fight the battle on three fronts.

    This makes sense to me – a [single] perforated battle-line lacks market agility. There are many reasons that the major segments of our armed forces are divided. ;-)

    Attacking business requirements with three complimentary systems make it possible to satisfy many content management requirements; the term “cms” is used here in the broadest possible sense, but lies at the heart of these platforms.

    In today’s swirling market of loosely-coupled systems, web-services, syndication, etc — I don’t think enough consideration is being given to a unified architecture for future CMS requirements.

    What Happened to Content Management?

    BF –

  • http://www.askderekscruggs.com Derek Scruggs

    I met Nick a couple years ago at Gnomedex and we got to talking about NewsGator. He mentioned that he was really impressed with it and to pass on his compliments to Greg. (Which I think I did…) Funny how things work out. I’m a big fan of Homesite (originally developed by Nick). Alas, it may go the way of the dinosaur after the Macromedia/Adobe hookup. I hope the same doesn’t happen with TopStyle, which I also use quite a bit.

  • http://www.johnniemanzari.com/archives/2005/05/subscriptions_t.html Johnnie Manzari

    Subscriptions: The Third Wave

    Original Post: 15 May 2005 Updated: 17 May 2005 What Jim Allchin wants you to know Subscriptions. When most people hear the word, they think about paid subscriptions for mobile phone service, cable, magazines, newspapers and so on. There…

  • http://www.strategicboard.com/weblog/pivot/entry.php?id=230 Strategic Board Blog

    NewsGator acquires FeedDemon – Consequences

    Many bloggers report on recent acquisition of FeedDemon by NewsGator -  Greg Reinacker’s Weblog NewsGator acquires FeedDemon. Congratulations and Good luck!. As a new entrant to the blogging industry I pondered on this move, what purposes it aims …

  • http://nick.typepad.com/ Nick Bradbury

    Thanks for the welcome, Brad – I’m glad to be on board, and look forward to working with both you and the NewsGator team for a long time :)

  • http://www.danhousman.com Dan Housman

    This was a very interesting move. I hadn’t expected it which is always fun. Congrats to everyone involved!

    Brad… keep-up the good work in supporting and hopefully profiting from infrastructure around the RSS world. Us folks still in incubation mode like Viapoint need more stable pillars to stick to and whenever there are some APIs that we could actually use to provide people value on their desktops with Newsgator, technorati, etc. we’ll grab hold of it.

  • http://marketingplaybook.com/2005/10/06/newsgator_as_platform_play.html Marketing Playbook

    NewsGator as Platform Play

    NewsGator announced today that it has acquired NetNewsWire, the most popular Mac-based RSS reader. Also, in May 2005, NewsGator acquired FeedDemon And NewsGator shipped their Enterprise Server product on Friday. Why all this activity? Well, according …

  • http://www.robertgray5.com Denn

    Attacking business requirements with three complimentary systems make it possible to satisfy many content management requirements; the term “cms” is used here in the broadest possible sense, but lies at the heart of these platforms.

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