<-‘Foundry Group Raises $225 Million Early Stage VC Fund’
If you recognize the syntax above, you’ll recognize the first programming language I ever used.
10 PRINT “Foundry Group Raises $225 Million Early Stage VC Fund”
That would be the second language I coded in.
WriteLn(‘Foundry Group Raises $225 Million Early Stage VC Fund’);
And that would be the third. These three examples are minor derivations of everyone’s first program – also known as “Hello World” – written in APL, Basic, and Pascal for the non-nerds among you.
Last year I co-founded Foundry Group with four partners – Seth Levine, Jason Mendelson, Ryan McIntyre, and Chris Wand. In the fall we closed our first fund – a $225 million fund aimed at funding early stage software and Internet companies in the United States.
We are now officially open for business. We’ve made a few investments which we’ll write about over the next few weeks. In the mean time we want to thank everyone – especially our new limited partners and the many entrepreneurs who we’ve worked with over the years – that have enabled us to be in a position to raise this fund.
Email me at email@example.com
Bonus points to anyone that figures out the last programming language.
I love it when companies I’m an investor in use an acquisition strategy. My good friend and long time co-investor Fred Wilson calls it a "venture rollup." It’s very different than a traditional "rollup" or "consolidation" (which is typically revenue based.) Fred described it really well when talking about NewsGator’s acquisition of FeedDemon in 2005.
When he (Feld) finds a sector where he’s early in the development of the market, he gets in, figures it out, builds a management team, and then gets busy convicing others to join the party. That’s the play book for the venture rollup.
Todd Vernon – Lijit’s CEO – talks about why BigSwerve is important to him. While BigSwerve is a tiny company (the founder Raj Bala and some outsourced developers), they’ve done some very interesting things that address my Dark Matter of the Blogosphere thoughts from last summer.
As a special bonus, if you want to see the magic of Lijit, continue reading. When I started writing this post, I remembered that Fred had coined the phrase "venture rollup" a while ago but I couldn’t remember what post it was on. I went to his site and did a search via Lijit on "venture rollup feld". The first result was the post I wanted. I then went to Google and did "venture rollup feld". No where in sight. I then did "a vc venture rollup feld". Result #4. Lijit wins.
If you have a blog and don’t use Lijit for search, try it and make yourself (and more importantly – your readers – happy. And to those of you out there that want to add to the blogosphere’s dark matter and tell me the period goes inside the quotations, I know – it just looked funny because of the hyperlinks.
We recently made another Foundry Group investment in the Zynga Game Network. Brad Stone wrote a great article about Zynga in the NYTimes about it titled More Than Games, a Net to Snare Social Networkers.
One of my co-investors – Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures – wrote a nice overview of how he came to make this investment. I vividly remember seeing my long time friend Mark Pincus’ name pop up as the author of Texas Hold’em on Facebook one day over the summer and thinking "hmmm – what’s Mark up to?"
In six months Mark has put together a remarkable company. In our first conversation about Zynga, Mark explained his vision of social gaming to me. I’ve been a long time on and off gamer – I like puzzle and interactive games, but not first person shooters or MMOGs – so the idea of the intersection of casual games and Facebook immediately appealed to me.
I’ve become a complete Scramble addict (remember Boggle?), although my partner Ryan’s wife Katherine continues to cream me regularly. The Zynga games are coming fast and furiously – the current catalog includes Poker, Attack, Blackjack, Battleship, Scramble, Diveman, Triumph, Social Chat, Stickerz, Dopewars, and a bunch of others you’ll be seeing soon.
Zynga isn’t limited to Facebook – the games have now launched on Bebo and Friendster and are coming to other social networks near you in the next few weeks.
Mark is an 100% on the go, non-stop, take no prisoners entrepreneur. In six months, he’s created a game network of over 10 million users and over 700,000 unique players each day. I love working with guys like Mark. And I love that he’s named his company after his dog.
I love when we find magic technology that just does what it is supposed to. That – plus a handful of amazing people – are the underpinnings of the investment we just led in Memeo. My partner Ryan McIntyre – who joined the board – has a detailed post up titled Foundry Group Invests in Memeo.
I’ve been searching for brainless backup and sync software for a long time. I’ve never been happy. I am now. I’m using Memeo to keep five Vista machines (going on seven) in sync and it just automagically happens. Oh – and my server is a Mac – how fun is that?
We did a couple of other investments in Q4 of last year that we’ll be writing about soon, along with what we are up to at Foundry Group. In the meantime, if you use a PC or a Mac and have any digital data on any of your computers that you care about (say photos, music, videos, movies, or even Word docs), give Memeo a try and tell me what you think.