More Questions from the Rally Cafe Interview
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: Protocol. Our 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.