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The roster at TechStars continues to grow with awesome people. In the past month, TechStars has announced Mark Solon as a general partner, Luke Beatty as managing director for Boulder and Ari Newman as Network Catalyst. I’m proud to claim all three as close colleagues.
Mark is a long time friend – we’ve invested in a number of companies together over the years including SendGrid, Orbotix, and Lijit. He’s been involved as a mentor to TechStars since the beginning and his endless positive energy and attitude was a huge inspiration for my Boulder Thesis. When he announced that he wasn’t raising another fund at Highway 12 Ventures, David Cohen started talking to him about taking a more active role with TechStars. Voila!
Luke Beatty was the founder of Associated Content (sold to Yahoo in 2010) and has mentored the Boulder program for years. I fondly remember a long conversation at one of the first events we were at together at a number of years ago where I keynoted some Colorado industry event either right before or right after Tim Armstrong. Luke brings an enormous amount of entrepreneurial experience, as well as mentor experience, to the TechStars Boulder program.
Ari was a part of the first TechStars program all the way back in 2007 and his company, Filtrbox, was acquired by Jive Software several years ago. They were the fourth TechStars company to have a positive exit (of 18 to date now). Ari is perfectly positioned to make introductions and facilitate action across our growing group of alumni.
We’ve got a lot of things planned for 2013, including more “powered by TechStars” programs like the one we just announced with Nike, additional TechStars cities, and a few completely new things we are going to try.
For everyone who had been involved in some way along the journey since we started TechStars in 2006, thank you. You are dynamite. And welcome Mark, Luke, and Ari to the full-time team!
28 Spheros + 1 Boombox. + 4 Android phones = Mind Blown.
Wow – have you bought a Sphero for Christmas yet?
Today is Orbotix day at Feld Thoughts. I’m sitting in the House of Blues in Chicago getting ready to watch the Excelerate Labs Demo Day practice pitches waiting for everyone to show up and listening to the sound check guys blast music and say “hey hey 1 2″ over and over again. I put my headphones on and listened to the new video by Sphero announcing and demonstrating their six new apps – Color Grab, Tag, Exile, Doodle Grub, a new version of Golf, and a new version of the core app which is massively upgraded.
Orbotix just released a new version of the Sphero firmware. This is a fundamental part of our thesis around “software wrapped in plastic” – we love investing in physical products that have a huge, and ever improving, software layer. The first version of the Sphero hardware just got a brain transplant and the guys at Orbotix do a brilliant job of showing what the difference is.
Even if you aren’t into Sphero, this is a video worthwhile watching to understand what we mean as investors when we talk about software wrapped in plastic (like our investments in Fitbit, Sifteo, and Modular Robotics.)
When I look at my little friend Sphero, I feel a connection to him that is special. It’s like my Fitbit – it feels like an extension of me. I have a physical connection with the Fitbit (it’s an organ that tracks and displays data I produce). I have an emotional connection with Sphero (it’s a friend I love to have around and play with.) The cross-over between human and machine is tangible with each of these products, and we are only at the very beginning of the arc with them.
I love this stuff. If you are working on a product that is software wrapped in plastic, tell me how to get my hands on it.