By guest authors Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold
This is the fifteenth interview in our series on financing for entrepreneurs. I am talking to Brad Feld, managing director of Foundry Group , venture capital firm focused on making investments in early-stage information technology, Internet, and software startups, based in Boulder, Colorado.
Irina: Hi, Brad. Let’s start with your background.
Brad: Sure. Today, I am one of the four partners in a venture capital firm called Foundry Group, which is a software Internet investor that is based in Boulder. We have a $225 million fund out of which we invest. We invest all around the United States. About a third of our investments are in California, a third are in Colorado, and a third everywhere else in the country.
Prior to this I was the founder of a venture capital firm called the Mobius Venture Capital. I was one of the four original partners. My partners and I at Foundry group continue to run all the old Mobius investments.
Prior to that, I was an entrepreneur. I started a company in 1987 that was self-funded. My partner and I put up $10 because that’s all we had. We built a successful business that we sold to a public company in 1993 that was a software-related company. And for two periods of time, 1994 to 1996 and then 2006 to 2007, I made a lot of angel investments with my own money. The period from 1994 to 1996 was prior to starting Mobius, and 2006 and 2007 was prior to starting Foundry Group.
Irina: So, Foundry Group started in 2007?
Brad: Yes, we raised our first fund in the fall of 2007.
Irina: How do you feel about seed investing?
Brad: We are very active seed investors. Probably 25% of our investments would fit in the category of being a seed investment.
We define that as investing in one or two people, sometimes three people, who simply have an idea and haven’t started anything yet. Seed investment from us, typically, is $250,000 at the low end to maybe $1 million at the high end. We’re happy to make seed investments by ourselves, and we also do seed investments with co-investors, other angel investors, or venture investors.
When we think about our seed investments specifically, we’re typically investing over the life of a company, somewhere between $5 million and $15 million. But we are very comfortable starting at the seed level, or we’ve had companies where we invested as much as $8 million in the first round of the financing that we’ve done.