Monday, April 24, 2006
Interview with Brad Feld, Mobius Venture Capital
Our interview this morning is with Brad Feld, Managing Director at Mobius Venture Capital (www.mobiusvc.com), a venture capital firm that has made investments locally in NewsGator, StillSecure, and Rally Software. Brad's an outspoken and vocal supporter of entrpreneurs, and also served as Entrepreneur in Residence at the Kauffman Foundation Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. He also has his own blog at (www.feld.com). We caught up with Brad to hear a bit about how the venture capital industry views the startup environment here in the Rockies.
Techrockies: It seems like the startup environment here has started to warm up here in the last few six months or so. What's your opinion on where the venture market is nowadays in terms of Colorado and other Rocky Mountain startups?
Brad Feld: I think the venture market is currently in solid shape. For the next two years, there is plenty of capacity among the local funds to make new investments and many of the existing VC-backed companies are maturing nicely. Several of the existing funds will be raising new funds this year and next and - assuming that goes well - there will continue to be a solid supply of capital in the market. Early stage / angel backed companies are also seeing nice activity, especially with some of the recently liquidity events in the market such as Crocs and @Last that rewarded several angels very nicely.
Techrockies: Are there any companies or investments you've made in the region which you think are doing particularly well?
BF: Three of my local investments - NewsGator (www.newsgator.com), StillSecure (www.stillsecure.com), and Rally Software (www.rallydev.com) are growing very quickly and doing great. Each of them is participating in a different trend that has tons of momentum. NewsGator provides software for reading RSS feeds, StillSecure provides a suite of advanced network security products, and Rally provides an Agile software development lifecycle tool using a SaaS (Software as a Service) model.
Techrockies: Is there anything you think would be useful to help take the Colorado startup environment to the next level?
BF: The Colorado State Government could actually pretend to give a s**t about education and do something to provide a much healthier K-12 environment in the state. This is the seed corn of entrepreneurship and Colorado doesn't just eat it, it poisons it.
Techrockies: What areas is Mobius looking to invest in nowadays?
BF: I'm a software investor - I'm game for anything that looks like software, especially if it's sold or delivered via the Internet. Most of my investments are business facing, although I'm perfectly happy to invest in infrastructure and consumer facing stuff.
Techrockies: What advice would you give entrepreneurs who are interested in successfully pitching a business plan or idea to you?
BF: Be concise, to the point, and explain in the first 60 seconds what you do and why I should care.
Techrockies: You've gotten quite a bit into blogging lately, and seem to be one of "the" celebrity VC bloggers--even among the Bay Area VC crowd. Do you find your visibility is helping to drive you good deals?
BF: A lot of interesting stuff has come from blogging. I'm endlessly fascinated by the new people I meet and a number of the interactions have lead to some sort of relationship (deal, customer, acquisition, partnership). It's definitely been worth the time from that measure alone.
Techrockies: Finally, as someone who has seen his share of good, bad, and great companies--what advice would you give to entrepreneurs on how to make their businesses successful?
BF: Pick something you are passionate about and then put everything you've got into it.