Every venture capital firm starts with people. In our case, Foundry Group consists of four experienced venture capitalists – Brad Feld, Seth Levine, Ryan McIntyre, and Jason Mendelson – who have been working together for the past eight years. We all met through our work at Mobius Venture Capital. Following is the story of what we have done and how we found each other.
Brad started his career as an entrepreneur in 1987 by creating a very creatively named company, Feld Technologies, with a partner in Boston. Feld Technologies was funded with ten bucks and was acquired in 1993 by a public company called AmeriData Technologies. While at AmeriData, Brad started making angel investments and was a seed investor in successful companies such as NetGenesis (IPO), Critical Path (IPO), and Harmonix (acquired by MTV.) In 1995 Brad moved to Boulder, Colorado, and shortly thereafter connected with the guys at Softbank who were aggressively investing in the first wave of Internet-related companies. Brad worked as an affiliate of Softbank until 1997 when – with three other partners – he co-founded the firm that became Mobius Venture Capital.
In 2000, Ryan McIntyre joined the Mobius California office. Ryan was one of the co-founders of Excite in 1993 and was involved in the very beginning of the first iteration of Internet search. Ryan left Excite in 1999 about a year after the Excite@Home merger was announced. While contemplating the next company to start, he ended up joining Mobius.
Shortly thereafter, Mobius recruited Jason Mendelson to join the firm as its general counsel. Jason started out life as a software consultant for Anderson Consulting, lost his mind, and decided to become a lawyer, joined Cooley’s California office, and found himself doing a lot of work for Mobius. Jason joined Mobius in 2000, took over all back office responsibility in 2004, and started making and managing investments at that time as well.
While Ryan and Jason both started in the VC business at the peak of the bubble (Ryan fondly describes this time period as “the point in the party where the kegs had run dry and the cops had just shown up”), Seth Levine joined Mobius on September 6, 2001. Brad met Seth through their close friend and colleague Mike Platt, a managing partner at Cooley’s Boulder office, demonstrating that lawyers can actually be useful for something (although we always liked Jason, even when he was a lawyer). Seth had just come off a stint running several divisions for FirstWorld Communications – a company that went public two days before the NASDAQ hit its peak in 2001.
As both entrepreneurs and investors, we have had vibrant and exciting careers, having worked actively to create companies through one of the most exciting times in recent history (1994 – 2000) and one of the most difficult times as well (2001 – 2003). While we have had both great success and dismal failure, we believe that the best years of our working careers are still ahead of us. As such, we have decided to embark on creating a new early-stage venture capital firm with the goal of creating many new important companies over the next 20 to 30 years.
One of the impetuses for the creation of Foundry Group and a fundamental tenet of our philosophy is our strong love of what we do. We believe that the great company creators of modern times deeply enjoyed their work and we – in the words of one of our wives – have found a special segment of the universe to live in where “our work is our play.” It may sound trite, but we really enjoy hanging out with each other and this personal dynamic makes the work even more fun.