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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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Where Did I Put That Manual?

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Each day, consumers conduct more than two million online searches for user manuals and self-support information on products ranging from consumer electronics to kitchen appliances. Many of these searches end in frustration, because this information can be difficult to find. In our house, we have a “manual drawer” which quickly turns into a “crap drawer” that – not surprisingly – never has the actual manual that I’m looking for (picture gnomes stealing underwear.)

A new company, OwnerIQ, solves this common and frustrating problem by collecting and organizing user manuals and other self-support information online, making it easy to find.  Jay Habegger, from Colorado now living in Boston, started OwnerIQ (he sold his last company, Bitpipe, to TechTarget in 2004).  Earlier this summer, OwnerIQ closed a $2 million Series A round led by Atlas Venture which included a number of Boston angel investors and some unnamed dude from Colorado. 

OwnerIQ aggregates user manuals around specific product types and gives you the ability to store – in a personal online filing cabinet – all of your manuals.  Voila – time to clean out the “manual / crap drawer” and repurpose it for something useful, like the thousands of different napkins Amy buys that we never use.

To monetize this idea, OwnerIQ is pioneering the concept of Ownership Targeting, providing brand advertisers with highly customized programs to precisely target consumers based on products they already own.  Ownership Targeting takes the guesswork out of identifying likely purchasers and enables advertisers to influence consumers throughout a product’s ownership lifecycle.

I’ve gotten to know Jay over the past year through our work together at the National Center for Women & Information Technology and several of the companies I’ve been an investor in were very satisfied partners of Bitpipe.  I’m looking forward to watching Jay “do it again.”

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