We are happy to announce the closing of our seventh fund, Foundry Group Next 2018. The $750 million fund combines all of our prior fund strategies – our early stage, early growth, and partner fund investments – into a single fund. For historical reference, our early-stage funds (FG 2007, FG 2010, FG 2013, and FG 2016) are all $225 million in size. Our first early growth fund raised in 2013, Foundry Group Select, is also $225m in size. In 2016, when we raised Foundry Group Next, we approximately doubled the size of that fund to $500 million since 30% of it was going to be invested in partner funds and 70% in early growth. So, at the beginning of 2016, we effectively raised $725 million (FG 2016 and Foundry Group Next). Foundry Group Next 2018 is simply the combination of those two funds rounded up slightly. Our strategy is unchanged Continue reading "Announcing Foundry Group Next 2018"
Our friends at High Alpha just announced their new High Alpha Studio and High Alpha Capital fund. We are proud to be partnered with them across both efforts. When we make an investment, whether into a company or into a fund, we always start with the people. First and foremost, we have to believe that the people we are backing are good humans, and that, taken together, they form a team that is greater than the sum of the parts. We want to invest in teams that have a positive impact on their companies, portfolios, and broader communities. Next, we need to see a compelling strategy that maps well to the strengths of the team. There are a number of different winning approaches in venture, but not all teams are equally well-suited to execute a given strategy. Specifically, we don’t think that there are many teams that are well-suited Continue reading "Our Investment in High Alpha"
We welcome Wave Capital to our Partner Fund portfolio. Based in San Francisco, Wave was launched last year by Sara Adler, Riley Newman, and David Rosenthal. Wave specializes in companies creating marketplaces and invests in companies at their earliest stages, as they build their teams, find product market fit, and work towards their Series A. Leveraging their Bay Area roots and deep Silicon Valley networks, the Wave team is targeting top talent spinning out of major tech companies like Airbnb, where Riley built and led the Data Science team and Sara launched the Corporate Development program. They will also target marketplace startups in Seattle, where David spent over six years investing in early stage companies at Madrona Venture Group. Wave’s focus on marketplaces was immediately intriguing to us, given our own marketplace investment theme. We initially met David through our co-investment with Madrona in the dog care marketplace, Rover, Continue reading "Our Investment in Wave Capital"
We’re pleased to announce that Foundry Group portfolio company MakeTime has been acquired by Xometry. This acquisition brings together the country’s two top manufacturing network businesses and creates the largest on-demand manufacturing platform in the United States. As part of the transaction, Foundry Group Next led a $25 million round of financing for the newly combined company. Almaz Capital, BMW’s iVentures, GE Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Maryland Venture Fund also participated in the round. We first invested in MakeTime in 2016, having followed the company and the on-demand manufacturing market closely for over a year prior to that. Driven by fragmentation in the $80 billion market for on-demand manufacturing, the thesis behind MakeTime was to bring order to the often opaque and manual process of finding parts manufacturers. Much of this market is driven by small and medium sized manufacturers – there are approximately 190,000 manufacturers with fewer than Continue reading "Xometry Acquires MakeTime"
We are pleased to announce that Foundry Group has made a Series A investment in Section.io. Based in Boulder, CO and Sydney, Australia, Section.io is building a modular, API-driven reverse-proxy layer to provide web engineers with greater flexibility, transparency, and control over advanced edge compute for delivery of their web applications. Section.io was founded in Sydney, Australia by Daniel Bartholomew and Stewart McGrath, who became frustrated with the rigid “black box” approach of legacy Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), and the misalignment of those CDNs with modern DevOps principles. Stewart and Daniel recognized CDNs were not able to adapt to quickly enough to keep pace with modern software development practices. Section.io believes there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to what software an engineer should choose for their application edge, or indeed on how many endpoints or where that application edge should exist. Continue reading "Our Investment in Section.io"
As we build out our Partner Fund portfolio, we look for opportunities to strengthen existing relationships in our ecosystem. We’ve known the Arthur Ventures team for several years and were thrilled to welcome them to the Foundry Group family earlier this year. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Arthur Ventures invests in fast-growing, scalable, enterprise software companies outside of Silicon Valley. They’re often the first institutional investor for portfolio companies, writing a substantial initial check at Seed or Series A. We initially met the Arthur Ventures team through our co-investment in Leadpages. As we spent time getting to know them, we were impressed by their passion for partnering with incredible “Outside the Valley” founders and by their overall hustle. They are not afraid to fly all over North America to connect with great founders and their responsiveness is absolutely incredible They’re thoughtful about portfolio construction and are disciplined and data-driven in their Continue reading "Our Investment in Arthur Ventures"
Today, Foundry Group was recognized for creating the most positive impact for our workers based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab. Honorees are featured on B the Change, the digital Medium publication produced by B Lab, at bthechange.com/bestfortheworld. Foundry Group announced its’ certification as a B Corp over two years ago – B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency measured by the B Impact Assessment (BIA). We joined a growing community of more than 2,400+ Certified B Corps from 50+ countries and over 130+ industries working together toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business The Best For Workers list includes businesses that earned a Workers score in the top 10 percent of more than 2,400 Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment. The assessment Continue reading "Foundry Group – Best for the World for Workers"
Today, Splunk announced they are acquiring VictorOps. We invested in VictorOps’ Seed round back in 2012 and it has been our privilege to work with co-founders Todd Vernon, Bryce Ambraziunas, Dan Jones, and the rest of the excellent VictorOps team over the past five years. We’ve invested in Todd as a co-founder/CTO/CEO three times now: back in the late 90s where he was the CTO of Raindance Communications, as the CEO/founder of Sovrn (formerly Lijit), and as the CEO/founder of VictorOps. Obviously, we are big fans of Todd and his tenacity and persistence in building companies over the years. VictorOps was built on the vision of empowering DevOps teams by integrating on-call management with centralized system monitoring information, automated escalation, and real-time communication. This would massively enhance the situational awareness of the operations and development teams within an organization, and therefore drastically reduce system downtime and time-to-resolution of incidents. Their Continue reading "Victory for VictorOps and Splunk!"
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"
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"
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"
(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"
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"
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"
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"
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. 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"
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"
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"