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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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Me.dium Raises $15 Million

Comments (8)

Me.dium announced today that they have closed a $15 million financing and have decided to stay in Boulder instead of split for Rio.  Me.dium is one of the most ambitious projects I’ve been involved in.  Alex Iskold – the founder of AdaptiveBlue (another exciting company) – has written an excellent overview at Read/WriteWeb where he describes Me.dium as “the dawn of collaborative browsing.”  Alex nails the goal and vision of Me.dium and Phil Butler over at Profy gives another useful explanation.

One of the themes I’ve been banging away on for the last year is something I call the “Implicit Web.”  I’m not alone – some of my favorite co-investors and friends are also playing with this idea.  I’ve even helped start a conference – called Defrag – with Eric Norlin to further explore this problem.

Me.dium is going after the real-time element of this.  As more time is spent online, the value of having real-time interactions with others increases.  This isn’t new – we’re all “enjoying” IM.  However, there’s no contextual relevance with any of these services.  I can’t easily discover new things or people in real-time based on what I’m doing.  Dumb.

More importantly – my computer isn’t helping me!  Wouldn’t it be nice if my “computer” (or more properly – my “compute infrastructure”) was paying attention to what I was doing and making all these connections automagically in the background for me?

The technology behind this is incredibly difficult.  The guys at Me.dium have recruited some of the local tech hotshots and have assembled a fantastic team.  They’ve also taken a really smart approach to developing this – rather than open it up and see what happens, they’ve worked meticulously to manage scale, figure out the issues at each scale point, and iterate.  My list of “active friends” has steadily grown, the real-time relevance has increased, and the performance has continues to be acceptable (with the occasional expected burp.)

If you are interested in trying Me.dium out and you are a Firefox user, click on my invite code and sign up.  You’ve got to add some friends to get the real sense of the value (not too many – once you get above 10 active ones it gets really interesting.) 

Look for a lot of exciting stuff to come in the next few months (e.g. non-Firefox.)  As my friends at Me.dium like to say, “Crossover…”

  • http://socialstrategist.com Jay Neely

    Brad, I think you’re mis-characterizing Alex’s post a bit by saying “he describes Me.dium as

  • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

    Jay – I took a look at the comments on your blog. While I appreciate your skepticism, I disagree with your assertions. I’ve been a heavy IM user and – given where Me.dium is going – there is no way that IM + send URL is better. In addition, the privacy issue you raise is a red herring – the Me.dium guys are absolutely obsessed with the issue of privacy and making sure they always do the right thing via the user. Finally, the signal to noise ratio issue is a key one – as my Me.dium active friend list has grown – the signal has increased really nicely.

    Of course only time will tell, but I’m extremely enthusiastic about the potential of what the Me.dium guys are doing. Hopefully you’ll periodically give it another shot.

  • http://mattishness.blogspot.com mathew johnson

    if anything is a good candidate for facebooking, me.dium would be it.

    put some pre-existing trusted friend circles to work on the collaborative browsing thing.

  • http://socialstrategist.com Jay Neely

    “given where Me.dium is going”. I’d be happy to be proven wrong at a later date, I’m currently evaluating the product as is. Next major update, I’ll give it another try.

    But if we ignore the usefulness of Me.dium for a second, what about the second problem: scaling? Will Me.dium be able to scale past an early-adopter audience? Past a Flickr-sized audience? Up to a mainstream audience? Caching solutions will only help so much when the focus of the tool is on live tracking, to an unlimited number of sites.

    Is Me.dium hoping they’ll be acquired by a company that already has that kind of infrastructure(my first thought was Google, but thinking about it more I think Cisco would be a good choice as well)? If not, what companies are they hoping to partner with or services to use to make that much processing power available cost-effectively?

  • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

    @Jay: Re: scaling – that’s a big part of the magic behind the technology. A lot of this is software – it’s not just building a whole bunch of infrastructure.

    Re: the goal – Me.dium has aspirations to be a significant standalone company that accomplishes some unique things.

  • http://socialstrategist.com Jay Neely

    Thanks for the answers Brad, I’ll keep an eye on Me.dium.

    Best,
    Jay Neely, Social Strategist
    http://socialstrategist.com

  • http://lallylogic.startitup.net Brendan Lally

    Brad,
    as a “user” how different are they from http://www.cluztr.com/about/ ?

    Lal

  • Herb Morreale

    Jay,

    I agree we have a lot to prove. However, I can certainly say that my team is very aware of the challenges, and have taken some very innovative approaches.

    We don’t take lightly that we are building possibly the first large scale real-time relevancy map of the Internet. Since day one we have engineered the backend with the idea of thousands of connected servers serving real-time data to millions of clients. Sure, we probably don’t have it right, because that’s usually the case, but I’ve spoken to experts in the field of distributed computing and they support our approach. We’ll all just have to wait and see.

    My main point is: A lot of people don’t understand the level of investment we’ve made, and continue to make to be a stand along company. And, as Brad said, we know we go no where if we don’t take our customers privacy very seriously.

    Hope these comments from the other side of he wall are helpful.

    Herb Morreale
    CTO
    Me.dium

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