Brad Feld

Month: May 2018

Ahhhh. The new Gmail client for the web is finally here. And a lot of things are fixed. The two things I like the best are really simple but dramatically increase my email throughput.

+name: When I add someone to an email thread, I use the shortcut “+name” to indicate to everyone on the thread that I’ve added them. I started doing this around 2008 (I can’t remember where I picked it up from, but I think it might have been Mark Pincus at Zynga.) It started appearing in some Google apps a few years ago (Docs and Inbox) and it is now in the main email client. For example, if I want to copy Amy on something, instead of having to put her email address in the To: field, I now merely need to say +Amy Batchelor in the body of the email and Gmail does the rest. Yay – finally.

Send threading: If you are on a fast internet connection, this won’t matter to you. But, if you do email on a plane or a house in Longmont, Colorado (where I regularly have internet performance that is < 5 MB) you will love this feature. The only annoying thing is the endless (and unnecessary) popup that informs you that Gmail has sent your message (it’s no big deal on a desktop, but bothersome on a laptop.) Either way, I no longer have to sit and wait while Gmail is trying to complete the send process.

My guess is that the combination of these two features increases my email throughput by 25%. And, for someone who processes hundreds of inbound emails a day, this helps a lot.

There are a lot of other fun things under the hood and a nice new paint job on the surface. Nothing is dramatic, but overall it’s definitely an update. If you haven’t gotten it yet, tell your Google administrator to turn it on for your domain. Then click Settings in Gmail (the little gear icon on the top right and select the first option “Try the new Company Name Mail”.

Update: In my ongoing love affair with Canada, it turns out that Google’s new version of Gmail made in Kitchener.


I’ve been investing in natural food related business for a while. I do this partly because I’m interested in what we eat, but mostly because I can’t make angel investments in tech companies anymore because of my Foundry Group fund agreements. And I enjoy making angel investments …

Boulder is the starting point for the natural foods industry, dating back to the founding of Celestial Seasonings in 1969. A year ago, the New York Times had a long article titled Foodies Know: Boulder Has Become a Hub for New Producers that explains why Boulder is so popular among natural foods companies. The number of food meetups and events in Boulder (including Startup Weekend Boulder Food + Tech) as well as events and initiatives all around the state of Colorado has reached a critical mass. Our friend, Kimbal Musk, who according the the New York Times Wants to Feed America, Silicon Valley-Style is based in Boulder (and, ahem, not Silicon Valley.)

I’m also excited about the startup activity outside of Boulder/Denver. My partner Seth and I have been actively involved in the creation of The Greater Colorado Venture Fund that launched earlier this year to support entrepreneurs in smaller communities in Colorado. I’ve been involved in Startup Colorado for almost a decade now and am proud of their emphasis on supporting entrepreneurship in all shapes and forms outside the Front Range.

An event in June brings these two dynamics together. If you are an entrepreneur or investor in a food related startup, ENGAGE Delta, Naturally Boulder, and Startup Colorado are bringing the foremost experts in the food industry from across the state to help go from recipes to products and products to profits. The event is 6/21-22 in Hotchkiss. I know Hotchkiss well as Amy has family there and I’ve spent many long weekends there. It’s a beautiful spot for an event like this.

You can RSVP to the event here and make sure to enjoy some good food for me.


Last week, I wrote a post talking about why Canada Is Going To Be The Next, Great, Entrepreneurial Tech Country.

Yesterday, we announced our investment in Golden Ventures III, a Toronto-based early stage fund.

I first met Matt Golden through Matthew Bellows, the CEO of Yesware (which we are co-investors in with Golden Ventures). I immediately liked him and we’ve worked together very effectively.

I’ve watched Matt and team build a strong portfolio of companies in Canada and in parts of the US. Every time I’ve gone to Toronto, Matt has hosted me for something and introduced me to a bunch of founders. While I get tired of big dinners, meals with Matt are always a joy, and some of the conversations I’ve had over the years with him and his friends have been extremely memorable.

We are excited to add our first Canadian fund to our roster of Partner Funds.

Welcome, Matt, Ameet, Bert, Jamie, and Marianne.


I got an Apple ][ computer forty years ago. It cost $3,000 and changed the trajectory of my life.

Today, you can pre-order a Misty II for $1,599, which is 50% off MSRP. From my perspective, Misty is today’s home robot analogy to the personal computer from 40 years ago.

A video description is much better than a few paragraphs, so sit back and enjoy.

Misty spun off from Sphero a little under a year ago and started shipping Misty 1 four months ago. The company is making progress at a relentless pace and have been shipping a small number of Misty I’s to very early developers in controlled environments.

Misty II is a significant advance over Misty I as it designed for high-volume manufacturing, has more hardware extensibility (backpacks, arms, earpiece, trailer hitch), is self-charging, has more battery capacity, a three-degree neck joint, and lots more sensors (bump, capacitive touch, time of flight) It will also have software that is six months more advanced, and will be exactly the same software that runs on Misty I.

Misty II will be shipping in December 2018. We are doing a crowdfunding campaign because we are concentrating on launching a journey with a community of software developers, makers, and robot dreamers. We want you as part of our journey, and we think crowdfunding is the right approach to building the community from the very beginning.

In the same way that the Apple ][ helped create the personal computer software industry, I think Misty II can help create the personal robotics software industry. While the hardware is important, the magic – for me – of the Apple ][ was that I could tinker endlessly with the software. It was completely open, allowing me to do many different things while learning. I remember writing short programs in Basic, playing around with machine code in the Apple ][ monitor, poking and peeking a lot, eventually learning 6502 Assembly, and then writing more serious applications in UCSD Pascal. And, when I got a Microsoft Z-80 SoftCard, I learned z80 assembly language, CP/M, and got a headstart on MS-DOS.

I just pre-ordered my Misty II this morning. Join me and be part of the journey of creating the canonical home robot with me and the team at Misty Robotics.