Brad Feld

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More Questions from the Rally Cafe Interview

Aug 08, 2009
Category Random

Last week I did an interview on Rally Cafe with Chris Spagnuolo.  Some of the questions came from real time tweets to the show but we didn’t get to a handful.  Chris just emailed them to me – I figured I’d do a quick job of picking them off for those that asked or were following the show.

@jordanmuela What does Brad view as common themes in the investments (companies) that have failed? My failures have several common characteristics (note that these are applicable only to me – plenty of other entrepreneurs and investors have made plenty of money in these areas.)  I’ve consistently failed when I’ve invested in companies (a) in markets / segments that I know nothing about, (b) founded / run by people that I don’t like / enjoy spending time with, (c) that are “rollups” – where the company is trying to consolidate an industry focused on “rolling up” a bunch of small companies into one larger business, (d) based in Europe.  What “didn’t work” is one of the things that informs our thematic approach at Foundry Group.

@ksowocki What are Brad’s thoughts on the Lean Startup methodology coming from @ericries / IMVU ?  I saw Eric Ries present his Lean Startup ideas a month or so ago and really enjoyed it.  I’ve been a big fan of his blog and think he’s gone some great ideas.  I particularly like the notion of continuous deployment.  If you are interested, Eric is coming to Boulder on 8/19 and 8/20.

@ktinboulder Interested in hearing a bit more about the "Protocol" theme. I wrote a post about Protocol recently on the Foundry Group blog titled Theme: ProtocolOur current investments in this theme include Gist and Lijit.

@theagent How would "GLUE" companies become monetizable and how far is the horizon line for that activity. ie. GNIP.  I’ll give two examples from our portfolio: AdMeld and Gnip – as both are generating revenue today.  AdMeld runs an “Ad Network Optimization” platform for premium publishers (they “glue together” ad networks.)  They take a percentage of the revenue they increase above a baseline amount determined with the publisher.  They now have 140 million Quantcast-verified unique users, so you can imagine the revenue they are generating.  Gnip provides a data transport service for the real-time web (they “glue together” data between systems publishing data and systems consuming data.)  They charge a monthly fee for use of their service – think of them as “middleware software – delivered via a SaaS model – for the real-time web”.

@chadalbrecht What does Brad think are some of the most important leadership characteristics in an entrepreneur?  I only have generic answers for this one as I’ve seen and worked with so many different types of successful entrepreneurs.  Leadership – especially in an entrepreneurial context – is a complicated thing.

@GEOpdx Does Brad generally find himself dispensing advice on what he would need to see for him to be interested in a project? Sometimes, although most of the time I’m pretty binary.  Within our firm, we filter very heavily on our themes.  If something doesn’t fit in our themes, I try to say No in less than 60 seconds.  If it’s within our themes, I then spend a lot of time trying to decide if I want to be partners with the entrepreneurs.

@brijacob How important is pre-money evaluation?  I’ve never thought that pre-money valuation is that important in an early stage company.  I’m playing for huge outcomes so I don’t over-optimize on the margins.  Rather, I focus on a “fair deal” at the early stages for everyone involved.