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We announced Our Investment in Topspin Media today. My partner Ryan McIntyre has a long post up titled Topspin, Baby! that describes the history of how the investment came together over the past ten years. Ian Rogers – the CEO of Topspin who was profiled in TechCrunch a few weeks ago in the article Ex-Yahoo Music GM Ian Rogers Launches Topspin Media has a nice a post up on the Topspin blog titled Old Friends, New Opportunities.
Oh – and there is that really cool Billboard cover and article.
As a special bonus, Ryan blogged the text from The Declaration of Independence yesterday. This seemed somehow fitting when you consider what Topspin is planning to do for music artists.
Larry Nelson from w3w3.com has an interview up with my partner Seth Levine. The interview is called Is an Advisory Board or Advisors Really Necessary? but the first half of the interview is about Seth’s view of Foundry Group and his partners (e.g. me, Jason, Ryan, and Chris.) Listen and find out some magic secrets – or just hear what Seth thinks. As a special bonus Seth has some good ideas about advisors and advisory boards.
Over the past few months we’ve been posting about the "themes" we invest in at Foundry Group over on our Foundry Group blog. I thought – with the most recent announcement of our investment in Smith & Tinker (our most recent human computer interaction (HCI) investment) – it was worth reviewing our current themes.
For a view on how we think about themes, start with our post What Is "Thematic Investing?" We then cover four of our current themes:
We also put up a post titled Did Darwin Skip Over Email? explaining our desire to find another investment on our long standing theme around email (and SMTP). We are also continuing to scour the world for RSS-related stuff (yes – we love protocols – ad hoc or otherwise).
While we don’t limit ourselves to only investing in these themes, we rarely wander outside them and will usually only do so with someone we’ve worked with in the past. We are always working on a set of new top secret themes that intrigue us. Some of these will see the light of day; others won’t. In all cases, they keep our brains busy.
Today we announced that Foundry Group has joined the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado. We’ve contributed 1% of our carried interest (the functional equivalent of 1% of our equity) to the Community Trust Endowed Fund of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County.
When I co-founded the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado (EFCO), we explained what we were trying to accomplish in the post titled Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado Encourages Early Stage Giving. Fifteen months later, with the addition of Foundry Group, we now have 19 member companies.
To everyone that has supported and/or participated in EFCO, thank you! If you are a founder or an employee of a Colorado-based company (or venture capital firm) that is interested in participating in EFCO, just drop me an email.
By the time you read this I’ll be in New York (right now I’m on a plane.) If you follow me (or any of my partners) on twitter, you will quickly understand why a Boulder entrepreneur recently referred to twitter as the "Foundry Group location / travel finder."
We travel plenty. My partner Chris Wand just wrote a post titled Is “Geography” a Cliché in Venture Capital? Unlike many VCs who prefer to invest close to home, we view the United States (and Canada) as our oyster. Take a look at Chris’ post to understand why.
For perspective, the geographic distribution of our first six investment is two in the bay area (Zynga, Gnip), two in southern California (Oblong, Memeo), one in Boulder (Lijit), and one in New York (unannounced.) We are in the process of closing an investment in Seattle and our active deal log (stuff we are seriously looking at) covers California, Colorado, New York, North Carolina, and Utah.
Having lived the life of a satellite office for ten years at Mobius Venture Capital (Chris, Seth, and I were in Boulder; everyone else was in the bay area) I can assure you that "being the satellite office" in a venture capital firm ultimately sucks. While it’s fun at first because you think everyone leaves you alone, you eventually end up spending more and more "junk time" at wherever the main office is and you are the one that ultimately has to travel (at some point almost every week) to make sure you are in the flow of things.
When we created Foundry Group, it was important to us that we all be located in Boulder. We’ve always been thematic investors and have gone where our themes took us, rather than being bounded by geography. While flying United out of DIA has its moments, the decision to be located in one place but invest throughout the US is a powerful one for us and the entrepreneurs we back.