Our Investment in Tidelift

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Group has made a Series A investment in Tidelift. Tidelift gives software development teams dependable—professionally maintained, secured, and licensed—open source software from a single source, while introducing a new way for open source creators to get paid for doing the work they love.   Tidelift was founded by Donald Fischer, Havoc Pennington, Jeremy Katz, and Luis Villa, who have more than 70 combined years of experience working and investing in open source at organizations like Red Hat, Google, Mozilla, and the Wikimedia Foundation. Their vision is to build a new win-win model for open source. The professional development teams trying to avoid things like Heartbleed and the Equifax breach get software they can depend on while helping fund the next wave of innovation. Meanwhile, the open source maintainers who have been building all of this amazing Continue reading "Our Investment in Tidelift"

Our Investment in Golden Ventures

Today, Golden Ventures is announcing the closing of their third fund, a CAD$72M vehicle. We are excited to have them join our group of Partner Funds and welcome our northern neighbors to the family. While the vast majority of our investments are in the United States, we’ve had long connections to the Canada startup community, with a particular connection to Toronto and Waterloo. Many of our companies have engineering offices in the area, going back to our investment in Zynga in 2007. Blackberry (then RIM) acquired Gist, another early Foundry Group investment. Techstars currently has two programs in Toronto. Brad’s co-author of Startup Opportunities is a professor at Ryerson College. And, we aren’t limited to Toronto, as we currently have an investment in Data Nerds based in Kelowna, BC. The Toronto / Waterloo region, which we like to call a binary star startup community (like Denver / Boulder), is strongly Continue reading "Our Investment in Golden Ventures"

Our investment in PSL Ventures

Today, Pioneer Square Labs announced the launch of PSL Ventures, a Seattle-based venture capital fund that invests in early-stage technology companies. The $80 million venture fund will invest in companies all over the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The fund will also participate in financings in spinouts of PSL’s affiliated startup studio. We are excited to back the team and have them as one of our Partner Funds. One of the key reasons we included a Partner Fund investment strategy in Foundry Group Next was to bring our friends closer while also supporting the next generation of outstanding VCs. We think of each partner fund, as well as each individual GP, as a partner in our extended network. Our investment in PSL Ventures serves as a great example of our Partner Fund strategy at work. Seattle has become an important market for Foundry Group. We have been investing Continue reading "Our investment in PSL Ventures"

The Foundry Group Manifesto on Board Meetings

(Boulder): Today, Foundry Group, a venture capital firm focused on making early-stage technology investments, participating in select growth rounds, and identifying and supporting the next generation of venture fund managers, released a video manifesto on board meetings. After years of painstaking research, the firm discovered that nearly 13,729 hours of time are wasted per day by entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and board members attending meetings that, while well intentioned, usually contain multiple inefficiencies that are needlessly present. “Over the past 25 years of being a professional board member, I’ve kept a diary of every single annoyance that I’ve experienced in board meetings. When I realized that each of my partners had done the same, it occurred to us that there was a real problem,” said Brad Feld, Managing Director. Managing Director Seth Levine added “I’ve been to a board meeting before.” Jason Mendelson, Managing Director and Chief Video Continue reading "The Foundry Group Manifesto on Board Meetings"

Introducing Our New Partner – Jamey Sperans

We are excited to announce that Jamey Sperans is joining Foundry Group as a partner. When we started Foundry Group in 2006, we were very clear that we were not going to build a legacy venture capital firm; one meant to outlive its founders. There would be no generational planning, no transitions to younger partners, and no senior partner hold-outs who would hang onto economics well after they had stopped working. Simply put, when we are done investing, we will drop the mic and shut off the lights. In 2014, we (Seth, Jason, Ryan, and Brad) had the first of many conversations about our long-term plans for Foundry Group. These discussions resulted in the creation of Foundry Group Next, the addition of Lindel Eakman to our team, and our first Foundry Group Next fund which we closed in 2016. We continued these conversations on a regular basis. The 20-year Continue reading "Introducing Our New Partner – Jamey Sperans"

Time’s Up – Sexual Harassment Legal Defense Fund

Recently, we were contacted by a female entrepreneur who is a long-time friend. She had experienced sexual harassment by a well-known VC but was terrified of going public about it. While she was struggling with all of the issues one would expect around this, she was also worried about being sued. She felt like she had the emotional resources to cope, but she didn’t feel that she had the financial resources to withstand a lawsuit. Using litigation, or the threat of litigation, to intimidate a person who has been harassed is a common tactic. It’s another example of the power dynamic in a harassment situation. The powerful harasser continues threatening behavior against the person who was harassed who now has to face a legal battle, often against a person with far greater financial resources. We were discussing this challenging situation and Jason came up with the idea that we help Continue reading "Time’s Up – Sexual Harassment Legal Defense Fund"

Our Investment in Data Nerds

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Venture Capital 2016, L.P. has completed its initial investment in Data Nerds. With offices in Kelowna, B.C. and Denver, Colorado, Data Nerds is building a platform that allows businesses and consumers to quickly and easily obtain valuable property information that is otherwise extremely hard to get. The U.S. real estate market is worth at least $29.6 trillion and the annual transaction value is upwards of $491 billion. This adds up to over 125 million homes in the US and over 3,200 individual counties that hold valuable data about each of these properties (all of whom make property information available differently). The amount of data created in the last 20 years surrounding these homes is massive, yet underutilized. Given the sheer volume of data, legacy vendors charge exorbitant amounts for minor manipulation and presentation of data. Local counties are either Continue reading "Our Investment in Data Nerds"

Our Investment in Pi Charging

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Venture Capital 2016 has made its initial Series A investment in Pi Charging, Inc. Pi delivers wireless power to multiple devices safely and at high power (up to 10W) from any angle without requiring a charging mat. They achieve this magic using their proprietary breakthrough: the world’s first magnetic field-shaping algorithm. Pi was founded by Lixin Shi and John McDonald, who met at MIT. Their vision was to change the state-of-the-art in wireless charging, not with charging pads, microwaves, lasers, or ultrasound, but with a long-range magnetic charging transmitter. These transmitters will work with the Qi wireless standard, so your new iPhone 8, iPhone X, and many other current and future devices are compatible, and won’t require a special case. Pi sits in our HCI Theme (they pitched themselves as “The Glue to our HCI”) and fits in nicely with the Continue reading "Our Investment in Pi Charging"

Foundry Group is Hiring a General Counsel

Foundry Group is hiring a General Counsel. This individual will be responsible for all legal activities of the fund and work with portfolio companies on select issues. The role may include other functions, such as human resources, fund operations and SEC compliance.  This role will not include leading day-to-day financing deals for the fund or board oversight responsibilities for Foundry investments. This is a senior level role, but at the same time requires a person who has the ability and desire to do real hands-on work.   Qualifications:
  • You have practiced law for at least 10 years and are currently a member of the bar (in good standing) in a U.S. jurisdiction.
  • You have a broad experience set. We aren’t overly concerned whether you began as a litigator, corporate or other attorney.
  • You must be good at controversy resolution. We anticipate this role encompassing a wide range of responsibilities Continue reading "Foundry Group is Hiring a General Counsel"

Our Investment in K9 Ventures

We recently invested in K9 Ventures’ third fund, a $42M “pre-seed” fund with a strong focus on emerging technologies (more on the pre-seed naming convention in a minute). Manu Kumar, who runs the firm, did a nice job of talking about his fund and its strategy here. We are excited to formally partner with Manu and count K9 among our Partner Funds, as we’ve known and followed Manu for many years. My partner was a personal early investor in his initial 2009 fund, and I got to know Manu through UTIMCO’s exposure to K9 Fund II in 2012. We’ve been impressed watching Manu build K9 and were excited to see him launch The Kennel space. Manu may deserve credit (and perhaps blame) for coming up with the term “pre-seed.” He positions himself as a “frighteningly early” investor, and he lives up to that label, as he often invests Continue reading "Our Investment in K9 Ventures"

Our Investment in Resolute Ventures

We shared some of the backstory on our investment in Founder Collective and want to continue the conversation about our fund investing by highlighting Resolute Ventures. We are largely driven by people and relationships. It’s important that we build a real, personal connection with our partners and that we want to be in business with them for the next decade. That is most certainly the case with our investment in Raanan and Mike at Resolute.   Resolute’s brand is being “for founders, by founders” and we certainly heard that when we made reference calls to their portfolio companies. I’m not sure it was planned that way, but we did happen to catch a bunch of the company CEOs during and directly following a large, full portfolio off-site at Mike’s house. There was definitely a high level of praise and effusiveness. It’s clear that founders feel a real kinship and high Continue reading "Our Investment in Resolute Ventures"

Partner Funds

This last week marked a year since we publicly announced Foundry Group Next. The timing also happens to mark the second anniversary of our starting to work together on the portfolio. I wake up every morning thankful for the group of people that we get to work with every day. One of the secrets to Foundry Group and the broader Foundry family is that we’ve been lucky to surround ourselves with quality people across our portfolio companies and our partner funds. When we were forming the strategy for our FG Next fund we struggled with the right wording for that portion of the portfolio that included limited partner commitments to other managers. We don’t think of this as a traditional LP-GP relationship and struggled with the fund of funds nomenclature. While, financially, we do make limited partner commitments and do not seek special economics or terms, we’ve been very clear Continue reading "Partner Funds"

Our Investment in Pilot

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Group Next, L.P. has completed its initial investment in Pilot Fiber, Inc. (“Pilot”) as part of a $17M financing.  Pilot, based in New York, NY is building a new model internet service provider by offering reliable fiber-optic internet with transparent pricing, no annual contracts, and speeds over 1,000Mbps. Despite providing a critical piece of infrastructure for companies of all types, business ISPs  have been slow to evolve and adapt to modern business practices.  Companies looking for service  have traditionally faced a lack of transparency, bundled packages, inconsistent connectivity, and inferior customer service. Pilot takes away these pain points, replacing them with an internet service experience that works with business customers, not against them. Pilot leverages a pre-existing, untapped and extensive fiber infrastructure in the enterprise market – something we at Foundry know well. Years ago we invested in and worked with (and Continue reading "Our Investment in Pilot"

Our Investment in Pilot

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Group Next, L.P. has completed its initial investment in Pilot Fiber, Inc. (“Pilot”) as part of a $17M financing.  Pilot, based in New York, NY is building a new model internet service provider by offering reliable fiber-optic internet with transparent pricing, no annual contracts, and speeds over 1,000Mbps. Despite providing a critical piece of infrastructure for companies of all types, business ISPs  have been slow to evolve and adapt to modern business practices.  Companies looking for service  have traditionally faced a lack of transparency, bundled packages, inconsistent connectivity, and inferior customer service. Pilot takes away these pain points, replacing them with an internet service experience that works with business customers, not against them. Pilot leverages a pre-existing, untapped and extensive fiber infrastructure in the enterprise market – something we at Foundry know well. Years ago we invested in and worked with (and Continue reading "Our Investment in Pilot"

Our Investment in Boundless

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Venture Capital 2016, L.P. has completed its initial investment in Boundless as part of a $3.5 million financing. Based in Seattle, Boundless helps families navigate the legal immigration system with confidence. Boundless was spun-out from Pioneer Square Labs in April. Boundless was co-founded by CEO Xiao Wang, a Chinese immigrant who previously held strategic roles at Amazon and the New York City Department of Education; President Doug Rand, a serial entrepreneur and former Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship in the Obama White House; and CTO Serdar Sutay, a Turkish immigrant who led engineering teams at Microsoft and Chef. The company’s first product dramatically simplifies the application process for a marriage-based green card, which provides a legal path to employment, travel, and ultimately U.S. citizenship. Boundless’ web-based application translates forms and instructions into easily understood questions, helping couples complete their green card Continue reading "Our Investment in Boundless"

Our Investment in The Pro’s Closet

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Venture Capital 2016, L.P. has completed its initial investment in The Pro’s Closet (“TPC”) as part of a $9M financing. TPC, based in Boulder, CO, is the world’s largest seller of pre-owned bicycles and bicycle parts. The cycling market is large and expanding rapidly. But as bicycles become more sophisticated and expensive, a gap has opened up in the market for used bicycles. TPC’s platform solves the pain points that sellers and buyers of used bikes experience. For sellers TPC offers the quickest and easiest way to turn their used bike into cash – often to be used to purchase a new (or newer) bike. TPC also works with bicycle shops and manufacturers helping to reduce the sticker shock of new bikes by offering a trade in program for a customer’s old bike. TPC also works with bike manufacturers to help them Continue reading "Our Investment in The Pro’s Closet"

Our Investment In Taunt

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Venture Capital 2016, L.P. has completed its initial investment in Taunt as part of a $1.75 million financing. Based in Seattle, Taunt is a social competition platform for eSports fans. Fans communicate and compete to show off their game knowledge, earning bragging rights in the community. The really cool part: it’s all in real-time, so you can see stats and call events as they’re unfolding live. Taunt is the latest spin-out from Pioneer Square Labs. Ben Gilbert and the gang at PSL have been taking different stabs internally at the esports market since the moment they started two years ago. With Taunt, we believe that they have discovered a unique angle and a really fun approach. There are a number of similarities to the original thesis behind our investment in Zynga in 2007 – building game mechanics around social interactions online Continue reading "Our Investment In Taunt"

Our Investment In Impact Health

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Venture Capital 2016, L.P. has completed its initial investment in Impact Health as part of a $13M financing.  Impact Health is based in Los Angeles, CA and is building an online platform designed to take the confusion out of buying and using health insurance in the individual market. The Impact Health platform serves as both an advisor and an advocate to consumers in the individual health care markets and fits in our distribution theme. Their platform walks consumers through a simple set of questions to help them make informed and tailored decisions about buying a health plan. They also act as a “healthcare concierge”  to consumers who are struggling to understand the coverage their existing plan provides. The complexity of these markets combined with the detailed and ever changing nuances of the plans offered make both choosing a plan and understanding what Continue reading "Our Investment In Impact Health"

Our Investment in Misty Robotics

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Venture Capital 2016, L.P. has completed its initial investment in Misty Robotics as part of its spinout from Sphero followed by an $11.5 million financing. Based in Boulder, CO, Misty Robotics, Inc. is building a robot for everyone with the goal of providing autonomous robots for every home and office. These robots will be seen and treated as our friends, our teammates, and a part of our families, interacting with humans in entertaining and friendly ways that have only been seen before in science fiction. Misty Robotics was previously the autonomous robotics division of Sphero. The team behind Misty has been working on a home robot for the past 18 months. Given the rapid growth of Sphero’s consumer and toy robot products, the Sphero board and leadership team decided that it made sense to have a separate company focus on the Continue reading "Our Investment in Misty Robotics"