Brad Feld

Month: June 2008

If you are a software engineer at Xilinx that is caught in the current layoff, please drop me an email with your resume. Several of the companies I’m involved in locally – including Rally Software and Gnip – are actively hiring experienced software engineers.

One of the many satisfying things about being a venture capitalist is being involved in a company from the very beginning that has a huge vision that it subsequently executes on it maniacally.  This is the case with Rally Software which announced today that it has closed a $16.85 million round led by Mohr Davidow Ventures.

Rally started out life as F4 Technologies.  I remember my friend Ryan Martens sitting down with me and Chris Wand around 2001 and walking us through his idea for changing the how he approached managing the software development process.  I can’t remember if Ryan used the word Agile at that time, but I remember scribbles on a white board that listed out all the different software that Ryan had used at BEA to manage his dev team and how maddening it was to try to integrate information in Word, Excel, Project, a dev workbench, a set of testing tools, and the support / QA system.  Ryan had a vision for an integration web-based system to layer on top of all of this to help support and manage the software development process.

We weren’t the first investor in Rally.  Ryan quickly raised about $400k of friends and family money.  We offered Ryan space to work out of our office which he did for a year or so as he got things up and running.  About a year after he got started, he was ready to raise a venture financing.  At the same time, his partner at his previous company – Tim Miller – was doing an entrepreneur-in-residence at a local Boulder VC firm (Boulder Ventures).  Ryan was encouraged to team up with Tim and shortly after that happened we co-led the first round VC financing with Boulder Ventures.

It has been a rocket ship from there.  Tim, Ryan, and team have created a phenomenal company that is built on two trends that have picked up massive speed in the past few years: (1) Agile and (2) SaaS.  In 2003 – while Agile was known – it was largely limited to ISVs and a few leading IT organizations.  SaaS was beginning to be talked about as’s success (and leverage from the SaaS model) became apparent.

Today’s financing by MDV marks another key moment in Rally’s history.  In addition to a large financing that should comfortably carry the company through a point where it is cash flow positive, we’ve added Bryan Stolle from MDV to the board.  Bryan previously co-founded MDV-backed Agile Software and served as CEO and later Chairman of the Board until Oracle acquired the company in July 2007 for approximately $495 million. Bryan is widely regarded as a visionary and pioneer in the product lifecycle management industry and knows Agile extremely well.

At this point, Rally is the undeniable leader in providing products for managing the software development lifecycle using Agile.  The company has come off of three years of doubling its subscription revenue and grew its active subscriber base by over 50% in Q1 of this year.  While Rally started off selling into ISVs, we are seeing rapid adoption at this point into corporate IT departments as every software development organization goes agile.

On top of this all, Rally has received huge industry validation through winning the Jolt Product Excellent Award three years in a row.  Rally also gets regularly recognized as one of the fastest growing companies and one of the best companies to work for in Colorado.

I’m immensely proud of all my friends at Rally and the opportunity to be involved with them.  If you develop software for a living, wander over to Rally Software and find out more about how to join the Agile revolution.

I have some weeks where I wake up and realize there is a speaking engagement almost every day.  This is one of them.

Last night was TechStars – The FeedBurner Story.  This was part of Google Day at TechStars. I was on a panel with Dick Costolo and Rick Klau telling the FeedBurner story (and helping Rick be Dick’s straight man.)

Tonight is a TiE Rockies event titled "Funding Your Business in Hard Times"  I’m on a panel with Vipanj Patel (iSherpa), Mike Devery (Silicon Valley Bank), and Dan Caruso (BearEquity / Zayo Group) that is being moderated by Catharine Merigold (Vista Ventures).  The event is happening tonight at the PPA Event Center in Denver from 5:30pm – 8:30pm. 

Tomorrow is more TechStars – The NewsGator Story.  This is part of Microsoft Day at TechStars.  I expect I’ll mostly be taunting JB Holston and Greg Reinacker this time.

Thursday is the CSIA Apex Awards event.  This is a great event for Colorado software / Internet execs and entrepreneurs – the nominee list is long and impressive.  A dozen awards are given out and copious network occurs.  The event takes place at the EXDO Event Center from 5pm – 9pm. 

On Saturday I’m in Boston at my 20th MIT Sloan School Reunion.  Actually, I’m going to be spending most of the weekend at Wellesley at my wife Amy’s 20th college reunion.  Er – I’ll probably just be hanging out in Boston, Cambridge, and Wellesley with a bunch of friends playing hooky from most of the reunions.  I am – however – involved in a bunch of stuff during the day on Saturday including a speech from 10am – 11am as part of the Reunion Back to the Classroom series titled "Software Innovation – Do You Think The Last 20 Years Were Exciting?  The Next 20 Years Will Blow Your Mind."

Yeah – that’s a lot.  No talks / panels / speeches / lectures / events next week.  If you are interested, please come to the TiE Rockies event tonight or the CSIA Apex Awards event on Thursday night.  While the TechStars events are closed to TechStars members only, there will be video of some of them up on the TechStars Community site.  And – I’ll put up the slides from my MIT presentation on this site.

In 2005, my partner Jason Mendelson and I wrote a long series of posts describing all of the parts of a typical venture capital Term Sheet.  We started on 1/3/05 with a post on Price and finished up on 8/23/05 with a post on Indemnification and Assignment

Of all of the stuff I’ve written over the past four years, my stats continue to tell me that stuff we wrote in the Term Sheet series is some of the most popular content on my blog.  As I was writing my post I Blog, I Tweet, But Why I realized that many of you have started reading my blog after 1/1/06 so you might have missed this series.

We’ve seen this series used as the base for a number of college courses, we’ve been thanked by people all over the world for writing it, and we’ve been encouraged to publish a version of it in book form.  Maybe someday we will get around to it, but for now it’s still relevant as an original web based life form.

For quick reference, following are the key posts:

While the 24 references are a bit dated (we might use Lost or Weeds this time around), I hope you will also enjoy (or at least forgive us for including) a little bit of Jack Bauer.

TechStars Google Day

Jun 02, 2008
Category Techstars

TechStars 2008 is in full swing as it heads into week two.  Today was Google day.  During the day Kevin Marks and Dion Almaer were in The Bunker talking about Google AppEngine and OpenSocial.  In the evening Dick Costolo, Rick Klau, and I talked about the FeedBurner story from inception through the acquisition of FeedBurner by Google.  I forgot to make my crack about ClosedPrivate, but we got plenty of other good stuff out there.  Thanks to Kevin, Dion, Dick, and Rick for coming out to Boulder!

Amazon, Yahoo, and Microsoft are also in town this week.  I expect videos from the evening events will be up on the recently launched TechStars Community site.  Andrew Hyde is responsible for the videos and he’s putting them up pretty quickly after they happen – like the Starting Your Startup session – with me, Todd Vernon (Lijit CEO), and David Cohen.

I’ve been fascinated with SEO for a long time.  I’ve experienced a lot of random SEO events as a result of my blog, such as all the traffic I get from Google on the word "iBrick" that link to my post titled iBrick (currently #2 in the index – sometimes #1.)

A reader sent me a note yesterday that I am the #1 search term on Google for the phrase Boulder Justice Center Community Service which is linked to my post titled My Afternoon at the Boulder County Justice CenterI decided to take a look at the other search services and see where I landed on this search.

  • Google: #1
  • AOL: #1 (thanks Google)
  • Yahoo: not there.  Add "Feld" to the search and it’s still not there
  • Ask: not there.  Add "Feld" to the search and it’s #1
  • Live: not there.  Add "Feld" to the search and it’s #3
  • Technorati: not there.  Add "Feld" to the search and it’s still not there
  • Bloglines: not there.  Add "Feld" to the search and it’s still not there

All of this reminded me of the great presentation my friend Micah Baldwin at Lijit did at Tech Cocktail in Chicago last week titled SEO is All Grown Up: My Quest to be the #1 Douche bag

Micah has been on a Douchebag Quest – I Want To Be The #1 Douche Bag.  As of today, he’s #4 on Google.  In case you are baffled, Micah’s quest is tongue in check as he tries to use a negative phrase to demonstrate how SEO works.

If you are an entrepreneur, I expect you’ve shouted this (or at least thought it ) sometime during your time on this planet.  My partner, and ex-lawyer, Jason Mendelson has a fantastic rant up titled Why Start-up Lawyers Frustrate MeHe provides a detailed look on his two gripes: pricing and execution.

While "some of my best friends are lawyers", I couldn’t agree more with Jason’s post.  I’m looking forward to Jason’s equivalent of "fucking accountants" post which is hopefully coming soon.

Lots of good stuff from my friends this weekend.  I’ve been periodically doing this daily reading thing – hopefully you like it.  Feel free to flame me in the comments if you don’t; give me positive feedback if you do.

What, Why, Can and How – Deciding on the Next Business Idea: Paul Berberian’s last business – Zuzingo – didn’t work.  He blogged eloquently about what didn’t work in his post Tango Blue.   Now he’s written a great post talking about how he’s thinking about the next thing.

The Importance of Virtualization: Mike Merideth – the director of IT at Lijit – gets down and dirty and talks about why / how they use virtualization.

Widget Analytics: Widget stats are seriously wrong – often overstating what is going on and what the real impact of things are.  NewsGator has been systematically increasing the quality of their widget stats and are trying to help widget publishers understand what is really going on.

Gnip’s Head is in the Clouds: My friends at Gnip have decided to go all out and use AWS/EC2. Jud talks about some of the issues and what he wants to see out of AWS.

Semantic Search; The Myth and Reality: Alex Iskold of AdaptiveBlue applies his very big brain to the program of Semantic Search and describes both the myth and the reality.  The punch line – it’s all about the UI.