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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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Our First FG Angels Investment in OnTheGo Platforms Has Closed

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What better way to start off a new year than by closing a new investment. This morning we announced that we have closed a financing in OnTheGo Platforms via our FG Angels syndicate.

On October 1st, 2013 we announced that we’d be forming an AngelList syndicate called FG Angels and making 50 seed investments through AngelList by the end of 2014. We committed $2.5m from our Foundry Group funds for this effort and decided to max out the syndicate at $500k / investment, or $25m total. So $2.5m would come from us and $22.5m would come from syndicate participants.

We knew we had a lot to figure out around how the AngelList syndicate would actually work. We also knew that AngelList had a lot of work to do to get all the software and legal dynamics working properly. We’ve spent the last three months working with AngelList, our lawyers (Cooley), and a few other experts to make sure everything was set up the correct way. It was much more complicated than we expected, and we’ve learned a lot more about 506(b), 506(c), what the JOBS act made better, what the JOBS act made worse, and the general insanity of unscrambling new government regulations that purport to make thing easier, but actually make things harder.

But we’ve figured it out. And are psyched to have led a seed round in OTG Platforms. We’ve also got a healthy AngelList syndicate called FG Angels ready to roll. And we’ve got a second investment in the final stages of closing and a third one getting ready to launch. We expect to be in a 2 – 4 investment per month tempo for Q1.

The OTG Platforms gang has been incredibly patient with us. We were originally planning to announce things at the Defrag Conference in November but at the last minute realized that we’d blow all the 506(b) exemptions and generate a huge pile of work for everyone, so we held off until things closed. As we ran into issue after issue with the AngelList syndicate process and docs, they hung in there patiently as we worked it out, being willing to be the test case. They are just an awesome team – exactly the kind of people we love to work with.

The AngelList gang was equally amazing. We’ve loved what they are up to from the beginning. I’ve given Naval and Nivi lots of feedback over the years and have been active on a few non-tech angel investments through AngelList. We knew going in that the AngelList Syndicate process was a new thing and figuring out how to do it correctly, via a VC fund, was going to be a challenge. But we’ve mastered it and the AngelList team continues to be well ahead of the curve on all fronts.

Over time I’ll write more about what we’ve learned and what the issues are. But for now, congrats to OnTheGo Platforms – we are psyched to be partners with you. And thanks AngelList.

Rookie Drone Crash

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I’m fascinated with drones. I’ve never been a model airplane guy and my model rocket phase lasted about a month when I was 10. But drones feel like something different, since I can program them to do what I want them to go do, rather than have to control them with a controller. My current goal is to program a Taco Drone to go from the 2nd floor balcony outside of my office to T/ACO, hover for a few minutes while they attach lunch to it, and return to my balcony.

We recently invested in 3D Robotics so I went online and bought a 3DR Iris quadcopter. We got an early version a month or so ago and some of the gang in my office – especially Dane, Nick, and Eugene – have been flying it around. Dane appears to have mastered it since his instructions to me included stuff like “don’t press that button” and “don’t move that lever.”

Yesterday he brought the Iris up to my place in Keystone for me to play around with. It was at the end of a longer meeting on another project we are working on. I wanted to just program the drone to do stuff, but Dane insisted that I learn how to fly it manually first. So I did.

The results were predictable – a tree jumped out and got in the way.

In comparison, here’s how it’s supposed to work. Now if someone would finish up that jetpack I’ve been waiting for.

Amazon Prime Ground

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If you think Amazon Prime Air is neat, you’ll love the new Amazon Prime Ground.

Spheros and Quadcopters are available with shipping still in time for Christmas.

Help Get MakerBots In Classrooms Across America

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Yesterday Amy and I contributed $10,000 to the MakerBot Academy campaign which is on a mission to put a MakerBot 3D printer in every school in the United States.

We did it via a contribution on Donors Choose, one of our favorite non-profit contribution sites.

We specifically finished out the funding for five MakerBots for the following teachers in their classrooms:

Amy and I are planning to give a lot more to this campaign, but we decided to do something tangible right now by finishing off several of the campaigns on Donors Choose.

For those of you who have asked in the past “what can I do for you Brad?”, here’s an easy one. Just go on the MakerBot Academy Donors Choose page and make a contribution of any size to one of the campaigns. You’ll be helping the next generation.

Jackson Pollock Would Have Loved Sphero

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Jackson Pollock is one of my favorite abstract expressionists. So, when Sphero decided to dance around in NY City and do an art project, he immediately came to mind.

If you wonder how kids describe a Sphero, this short video will make you smile. And then laugh. And then smile some more. One of these kids needs to be on The Voice.

Sphero says, “buy me, buy me, buy me.”

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