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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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Risk Takers – Pogoplug and RedLaser

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It is so nice to be back in Boulder after my 10 hours trip home from New York yesterday that included a lot of time on tarmacs, a diverted landing in Colorado Springs, and an I-25 road trip.  I really want a personal portable teleportation machine.

I’m about to head out for a run but thought I’d toss up a few fun posts and videos that I saw when scanning through my email and news this morning.

First up is a story from my dad about why He Loves His Pogoplug.  It turns out that he is Pogoplug customer #1 and he tells the story of it.  He was also in my office last week when Dan and Jed Putterman (the Pogoplug co-founders) were there for a board meeting and they all had fun hanging out together.  I love when technology and family cross over.

Next up is a great interview by Steve Bell with Vikas Reddy of Occipital.  Late last week eBay announced that they had acquired the RedLaser product from Occipital.  I subsequently crowned Occipital the Bootstrappers of TechStars Boulder class of 2008.  And, if you watch the video carefully, you’ll see a Pogoplug to the left of Vikas in parts of the video.

Finally, here’s episode #5 of the TechStars Founders 2010 video series titled Risk Takers.

“Risk Takers” The Founders | TechStars Boulder | Episode 5 from TechStars on Vimeo.

eBay Acquires RedLaser

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Another TechStars company has been acquired.  Well – part of it has been acquired.  Today it was announced that eBay has acquired the RedLaser product from Occipital. The Occipital guys tell the story in their post titled Arrival at the Launchpad.

Occipital’s founders – Jeff and Vikas – are the epitome of bootstrap entrepreneurs.  Every TechStars class seems to have one and Occipital wins the bootstrapper of TechStars Boulder 2008 award.  At the end of the program they had a few chances to raise money but weren’t happy with the valuations so decided to hunker down and just bootstrap things.  They reinvented themselves several times until they launched RedLaser which has been a runaway hit (over two million copies sold to date.)  As RedLaser took off, they had another set of interesting investment offers but no longer have any need for outside capital.

While they were on their way to creating an interesting mobile ecommerce company, they wanted to work on a much bigger set of technical challenges than RedLaser in computer vision and augmented reality, their areas of passion and technical expertise.  In their travels they had a few inquires for an acquisition of the company, but really only wanted to sell the RedLaser product, not the entire company.  Fortunately, eBay was very interested in the RedLaser product and the match worked extremely well for both parties.

Given this sale, I expect Occipital is now a long way from ever raising outside capital.  Jeff and Vikas are now extremely well funded, are scaling up a very interesting team, and going after a huge vision. Oh – and RedLaser is now free in the iPhone AppStore.  Congrats to Occipital, Vikas and Jeff!

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