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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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Contributing To The Boulder Community In A Time Of Need

Comments (11)

Today, my partners at Foundry Group and I are contributing $100,000 to the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado (EFCO) to help with the Boulder Flood Relief Effort. This is our second gift to the EFCO – we previously contributed a portion of our carry across all of our funds.

The floods in Boulder and the surrounding area the past week have been devastating. I went for a run last night around town just to get a feel for things – the water is still at dangerously high and fast levels in Boulder Creek and the damage near the creek in downtown is visible. I smelled smells that I’ve never smelled in Boulder before and saw water in places it simply didn’t belong.

But downtown Boulder is quickly getting back to normal. That’s not the problem. If you’ve ever been to Boulder, you know we are surrounded by incredible mountains. It’s part of the magic of the place, but also part of the challenge. A friend told me recently, “think of the mountains as giant slanted roofs and Boulder as the basement of the house.”

There are two natural forces here that can be massively destructive. The first, which have made the news the past few years, are wildfires. Amy and I have endured these for the past 17 years – we’ve been evacuated from our house twice, once for three days during my brother’s wedding. The massive Lefthand Canyon Fire destroyed a huge neighborhood. Awful, terrifying stuff.

But that just set us up for what looks like the real disaster. The entire mountain area around Boulder is wrecked. Roads are destroyed. Towns in the “basement” – including Lyons – are literally wiped off the map. Major parts of Longmont are now submerged. The water ran downhill, destroying everything in its path as gravity did it’s magic, and then just sat at the bottom wherever it ended up.

My partners and I are lucky. None of our lost our houses. We all have roofs over our heads. And we have plenty of resources.

But many of our friends and neighbors were not so lucky. The stories are endless – the friend who lost her house and has no place to live. Another friend who made a mad dash off the mountain with his family and has no idea what the status of his home is. The entrepreneur who worked out of his basement, which is now a swimming pool. The business owner who’s office is now cut in half – and destroyed – by a mudslide. The tech leader who recently had a major back injury, just got out of the hospital, and had to evacuate his house. The people stuck up in the mountains who can’t get out. And the people stuck down in the foothills that also can’t get out.

The magnitude of this hit me yesterday afternoon when I heard estimates of $100m – $150m to fix the “infrastructure damage.” I have no idea what that really means, but for a region of a couple of hundred thousand people, knowing the range is low, and it’s only “infrastructure”, this is going to be a long, hard mess to dig out of.

I’ve always felt a strong responsibility to the community I call home. Boulder has been and continues to be very good to me. And it’s my responsibility, especially in times like this, to be good back. This is not the only financial support we’ll be giving to the Boulder Flood Relief Effort. In addition, we’ll give plenty of functional support. But it’s a step – and one we hope can have direct impact.

My partners and I encourage every entrepreneur in the area who has had a meaningful financial success to consider giving something through EFCO to the Boulder Flood Relief Effort. If you are an entrepreneur who hasn’t yet had a financial success, consider joining EFCO and contributing 1% of the equity in your company today, to help build the endowment for the future. And, if you are a venture capitalist or an angel investor in – or with investments in – the Boulder area, please consider joining EFCO and contributing directly to the relief effort today. Just email me and I’ll get you connected.

Finally, if you are a reader and part of the Feld Thoughts community and you want to help out, please contribute directly to the Foothills Flood Relief Fund. We greatly appreciate any support you can give.

  • http://innonate.com/ Nate Westheimer

    Bravo, Brad.

  • Elizabeth Kraus

    Thanks so much for posting this! I’ll contact Morgan at EFCO to make a contribution.

    As another resource, The Impact Angel Group is:

    1) Trying to help coordinate interest from startups who would like to support by providing services, donating a percentage of profits, etc. so we can have a list of things that startups are supporting.

    2) We are also considering the idea of helping to mobilize angel investors to provide private loans to startups and homeowners in Boulder County affected by the flood. We are assessing whether there is a need for that and trying to figure out logistics.

    Startups interested in supporting flood relief and prevention, and Boulder County home and business owners in need of financial support, can fill out our survey here:

    http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1365698/Colorado-Flood-Recovery-Survey

    And you can read more about it here:

    http://impactangelgroup.com/2013/09/16/impact-angel-group-gearing-up-to-invest-for-colorado-flood-recovery/

    We are rapid prototyping this, so feedback and ideas welcome. We may broaden this support beyond Boulder County depending on the need and interest from angel investors.

    Also, it occurred to me that it might make sense for our startup community to start coordinating efforts. We host a Colorado Key Collaborator call each month and I’m trying to organize one of those. Any startup community leaders who want to join that can contact us through our website:

    http://impactangelgroup.com/contact-us/

    Thanks again for your support and leadership!

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Great stuff Elizabeth. Add me to the community effort list.

  • http://www.EyeOnJewels.com/ Darius Vasefi

    It’s great to see how the Boulder entrepreneurs are coming together to give back to the community in yet another way. From my short visit there this year I fell in love with the nature and the people and hope to be visiting again soon – will do my best to make Defrag.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx – looking forward to seeing you!

      • http://www.EyeOnJewels.com/ Darius Vasefi

        Changed plans and just registered for Defrag, looking forward to it.

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          Awesome!

  • erict19

    I’ve always been impressed with the resilience and entrepreneurial drive of Boulder – no doubt that this will come into effect in it’s road to recovery…Actually it already is; I was just coaching an entrepreneur at Startup Weekend Denver who was building https://sparkrelief.org/#!/disaster/boulder-flood

  • http://www.TalkingPointz.com Dave Michels

    Nice post, you are a mench. I went for a walk in the open space near 36 and vista point today – dry as can be, only a few spots of water – no mud. Amazing.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      It is amazing the power of 0% humidity at 5500 ft!

  • http://techleaders20.blogspot.com AlexHammer

    You are an amazing human being.

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