Brad Feld

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Do VC’s Support .NET As A Platform?

Jul 23, 2005

Earlier this week, Scoble called out to VCs to ask whether or not they support .NET in response to an eWeek article titled Is .Net Failing to Draw Venture Capital Loyalty?   The responses I have seen from Rick Segal, Tim Oren, Ed Sim, and Bill Gurley are primarily qualitative, conceptual, and theoretical discussions about VCs, platforms, and how VCs think about (or don’t think about) investing in platforms.

Rather than go down that path (as I generally agree with everything they said), I figured I’d try to be additive to the discussion by providing quantitative information from my active portfolio companies.  All the companies I’m talking about are Mobius portfolio companies – but I’m only going to look at the ones I’m responsible for since I know their technology platforms off the top of my head and don’t have to ask my partners for any information (e.g. I can write this post in 15 minutes on a Saturday afternoon before a run.)
I have 15 companies that I’m responsible for (I don’t sit on all the boards – Chris Wand who works with me has several of the board seats – they are all listed on my web site on the left sidebar if you want to take a look.)  6 of them use .NET in meaningful ways.  They are as follows:

  • Commerce5: All their back end ecommerce infrastructure and web service is .NET.
  • ePartners: They are one of the largest Microsoft Business Solutions partner in the United States and have deep .NET experience.
  • Gold Systems: They are one of Microsoft’s leading Speech Server partners and are about to release their first Speech Server-based Password Reset product.
  • Newmerix: .NET is the core development platform for Newmerix Automate!Test product.
  • NewsGator: .NET everywhere.
  • Oxlo: Their products are built around .NET, Biztalk, and Sharepoint.

In addition to my current companies, I’ve been involved with, a user of, and an investor in Microsoft-related stuff for my entire career.  All the software I wrote for my first job at Petcom Systems was written in Microsoft Basic (and Basic Compiler – eek) with Btrieve (10 PRINT “I’m in Hell”: GOTO 10). My first company – Feld Technologies – was in the inaugural Microsoft Solution Provider (SP) program started by Dwayne Walker sometime around 1990.  We developed custom database apps with Microsoft Access and FoxPro.  I sat on the board of SBT Accounting Systems for a number of years – they were (I think) the largest indirect channel for Microsoft FoxPro products in the 1990’s.  I’ve always been a Great Plains (and now Microsoft Business Solution) fan, user, and business partner.  I was an investor and board member in Corporate Software (now owned by Level 3) – one of the largest Microsoft LARs on the planet.
While some of my companies use non-Microsoft technologies, plenty use Microsoft technology.  Virtually all of them have lots of Windows desktops, servers, and desktop apps running everywhere.  I’m not religious about this issue and I don’t really think the platform discussion is that interesting (I’m equally comfortable with Microsoft platforms as I am with non-Microsoft platforms.)  As most of my VC brethren who commented demonstrated – we are pragmatic, agnostic, or – in some cases – simply ignorant – about platform issues.