Tom Higley – New Colorado CEO Blogger
My long time friend Tom Higley has started a blog called Back in the Saddle. Tom recently came out of retirement to become CEO of Vault Alliance, a Boulder-based startup that I’m an investor in.
Tom was one of the first people I met when I moved to Boulder. He was running a company he’d started called NetDelivery. I introduced Tom / NetDelivery to Charley Lax at Softbank (at the time I was an affiliate of Softbank – this was prior to us starting Softbank Venture Capital) who passed on investing, but I got to know Tom anyway. NetDelivery struggled and Tom eventually left. In 1997, as I was working with Raj Bhargava and Niel Robertson to start up Service Metrics, I introduced Tom to Raj and Niel. Tom became a co-founder / CEO of Service Metrics, which we funded. Eighteen months later, Exodus bought Service Metrics for $280 million and everyone involved was very happy.
Tom did his tour of duty at Exodus and then left after about a year. He took some time off and got deeply involved in music (one of his passions). In 2000, Raj and I cooked up a new idea (originally called MetaColo) and convinced Tom to come on board and be the startup CEO of Latis. Tom did this for a year until we hired a CEO (who subsequently didn’t work out, at which point Raj became CEO of Latis, which has become a successful security software company known as StillSecure.)
At this point, Tom officially retired (at least for a while) to go play and compose music. We stayed in touch, seeing each other socially, but I left him alone because he was pretty clear that he wasn’t in the mood to run a company again (at least for a while…)
Fast forward to 2005. Tom was the lead angel investor in a new company called Vault Alliance doing online music-related stuff. I participated in the round, but leaned on my partners Jason Mendelson and Ryan McIntyre who are musicians (and have become good friends of Tom) since I’m generally clueless about the music business. Vault has evolved nicely and Tom recently decided to take the helm and become CEO in order to accelerate the growth of the business.
Tom’s super articulate, has a ton of entrepreneurial experience (good and bad), and has a great range of interests. If you are interested in the intersection between music and the Internet, the Colorado entrepreneurial scene, or just the thoughts of an experienced and enlightened entrepreneur, I expect you’ll like Tom’s blog.