Brad's Books and Organizations

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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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Backing Up Your Google Apps Data

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I find it endlessly entertaining that people say things like “I don’t need to back up my data anymore because it’s in the cloud.” These people have never experienced a cloud failure, accidentally deleted a specific contact record, or authenticated an app that messed up their account. They will. And it will be painful.

I became a believer in backing up my data when I was 17 years old and had my first data calamity. I wrote about the story on my post What Should You Do When Your Web Service Blows Up. I’ve been involved in a few other data tragedies over the past 28 years which always reinforce (sometimes dramatically) the importance of backups.

We recently invested in a company called Spanning Cloud Apps. If you are a Google Apps user, this is a must use application. Go take a look at Spanning Backup for Google Apps – your first three seats are free. It currently does automatic backup of your Google contacts, calendars, and docs at an item level allowing you to selectively restore any data that accidentally gets deleted or lost. I’ve been using it for a while (well before we invested) and it works great.

I’ve known the founder and CEO, Charlie Wood, for six years or so. Charlie was an early exec at NewsGator but left to pursue his own startup. I came close to funding another company of his in the 2005 time frame but that never came together. I’m delighted to be in business with him again.

Don’t be a knucklehead. Back up your data.

Foundry Group Jobs Page

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Many of our Foundry Group portfolio companies are growing rapidly. As a result, we just put up a new page on the Foundry Group website listing all of the jobs in Foundry Group portfolio companies that we are aware of. We also have a new Foundry Group Jobs twitter feed to follow – it’ll tweet out a link whenever a new job is posted.

This page is built on top of Indeed, in our opinion the best job search engine. We are not investors in Indeed, but our friends at Union Square Ventures are. They led the way on this one, working with Indeed and hacking together some code to make a dynamic jobs page. We looked at several options but kept coming back to the USV Jobs page.

Kelly Collins and Ross Carlson in our office did all the work. They had help from Gary Chou at USV who generously provided all the code he’d written along with advice, as well as Matt Molinari from Indeed who helped Kelly and Ross figure out all the nuances of the integration.

So – if you are looking for a job in a high growth software / Internet company, take a look at the new Foundry Group Jobs page and follow the new Foundry Group Jobs twitter feed.

Adhesive – A Sticky New Foundry Group Theme

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Today Seth posted a new blog on the Foundry Group site titled Foundry Group’s AdTech Investing: Adhesive. While we’ve seen a billion AdTech related investments, we’ve only made a few of them over the past three years. We are huge believers in the macro of digital advertising, but we think the morass of much of the online ad world is just that – a morass. So we’ve avoided large swaths of the digital advertising world, instead focusing our energy on the ones that fit in our Glue theme.

We realized a while ago that we really had two types of companies in our Glue theme. The first set are companies that provide a key layer of software on the Internet, much of it at the application or machine to machine level, such as Gnip and Standing Cloud. The other set are companies that provide glue between systems in the AdTech universe, such as AdMeld and Triggit.

We’ve resisted talking about being AdTech investors since there is so much of AdTech that we avoid. However, when we realized that we were investing in a lot of “Glue for AdTech”, it seemed logical to categorize these investments in a new theme – Adhesive.

The companies we’ve invested in that we categorize as in the Adhesive theme are AdMeld, Lijit, Trada, Medialets, Mandelbrot Project, Triggit and Integrate. For more on how we are thinking about this, take a look at Seth’s post titled Don’t call it AdTech. It’s “Adhesive”. And if you want to see how we’ve categorized all of our investments by theme, take a look at the new portfolio page on the Foundry Group website.

Distribution – A New Foundry Group Theme

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We’ve put up a post on the Foundry Group site about a new theme of ours we are calling Distribution. We’ve been investing in this theme for a while but have continued to formulate exactly how we think about it.

I’ve talked about our thematic approach to investing many times in the past.  Every now and then it feels like it’s worth a quick post on our current themes. They are:

Human Computer Interaction: The way humans interact with computers 20 years from now will make the way we interact with them today look silly. Sample companies include Oblong, Organic Motion, and Fitbit.

Glue: Computers love to talk to one another. The amount of “computer to computer interaction” is increasing at a dramatic rate. There’s a software layer that “glues” this together. Sample companies including Gnip and Standing Cloud.

Digital Life: We believe that people own their digital assets and should be able to access them anytime from anywhere. Sample companies include Cloud Engines and Memeo.

Protocol: Many protocols – both formal and informal ones – support extensive software ecosystems. We’ve been investing in protocols like SMTP, RSS, XML, and SMS for years and expect to continue doing this. Sample companies include SendGrid and Urban Airship.

Distribution: Giant existing online markets can be completely disrupted by new distribution methods like Facebook, Twitter, Mobile, and User-Generated Content. Sample companies include ZyngaTopspinStockTwits, and Cheezburger.

We’ve got one additional theme that we’ll be talking about shortly. We’ve decided to split our Glue theme into two different themes as we’ve realized a particular pattern in our investment dynamics around this theme. Look for another post on this shortly.

RIM Acquires Gist

Comments (7)

Congrats to my friends at Gist for being acquired by RIM.

I met TA McCann, the CEO / founder of Gist at the first Defrag Conference when he took me for a pair of runs along the Denver Creek Path and it’s been a blast to work with him and the Gist team ever since.

Also, congrats to RIM for picking up an awesome team that’s been thinking about and building software for the intersection of social and email since before talking about it was in vogue.

Build something great with me