Foundry Group Premiers Documentary Film About Secret Lives of Venture Capitalists

Today, Foundry Group, a venture capital firm investing in seed and early stage US-based technology companies, premiered a documentary film illustrating through complex metaphors and stunning montages the secret lives of venture capitalists which has been rarely seen or understood, until now.  Set amidst a backdrop of a highly competitive investment environment, the film follows four venture capitalists as they explore the intense relationships between themselves and the entrepreneurs in which they invest. While these relationships are critical to the long-term health of the start-up ecosystem, the VCs chose to communicate only through song and interpretative dance.

The film, entitled “I’m a VC”, is an in-depth, hard-hitting, and emotionally charged look into the human struggle of four venture capitalists trying to make the world a better place. Starring Foundry Group Managing Directors Seth Levine, Ryan McIntyre, Brad Feld, and Jason Mendelson, the film gives insight into the difficult issues venture capitalists face every day, making decisions that impact the lives of many, but perhaps most importantly, their own.  The film leaves no stone unturned and delves into topics that few understand, such as determining lunch selections, competing with friends and family for deal flow, and feeling insecure about their choice of college education.

In speaking about the challenges of getting into character, Seth Levine struggled to find his words, “It was particularly hard for me to admit on camera that I had not attended Stanford, Harvard or MIT,” says Levine. “It has always made me feel a bit inadequate as a venture capitalist.  But I’m working through it.  Playing this role and spending three months growing a beard for it really shouts to the world that I can do anything!”

The film is incredibly timely, as it provides a transparent look into how early-stage VCs are dealing with increasing valuations and intense competition that comes with investing in new startups. McIntyre noted “Seeing my seven year old son pitch his company at a $20 million pre-money valuation to me was tough to take.  I thought I would at least get a family discount.”  Ultimately, Foundry Group lost the deal to a west coast-based VC firm who offered a much higher price and allowed McIntyre’s son to take some money off the table in the financing, enabling him to purchase the entire Lego Star Wars product line and a 64GB 3G iPad 2.

The film was sponsored by the new book “Venture Deals:  Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist” written by Feld and Mendelson.

“I am honored to have our book associated with such an important piece of American film making,” said Feld. “I was thrilled that I could find time to play this role between all my other speaking engagements and marathons. And don’t forget to buy my other book - Do More Faster.

When Mendelson (who wrote and directed the film) was asked why the video was produced, he initially refused to comment, citing attorney / client privilege, but then had a change of heart and offered the following:   “It’s been a decade since the balance of power shifted permanently from VCs to entrepreneurs and few people noticed.  This film is a wake up call to the start-up ecosystem.  VCs have real problems.  We have feelings, too.”

The film was shot on location over a two day period in downtown Boulder in June of 2011.  The vision came together after months of writing, composing, and choreography in Mendelson’s home studio, but remarkably with no rehearsals whatsoever.  The cast was just that talented.

***** No entrepreneurs were harmed in the making of this film.*****

30 Comments
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  • http://devblog.ailon.org Alan Mendelevich

    VC funded boy band.

  • http://is.linkedin.com/in/balakamallakharan Bala

    Brilliant…

  • Jayson

    I hope I never see you guys in the shower together again….

    Good work!!

  • http://twitter.com/ManiBodhi Toby Ruckert

    Too good :) I loved Seth’s quote for personal reasons, but Jason’s final sentence reminds me of the movie Notting Hill when Julia Roberts tells Hugh Grant that she is also just a woman, not only a famous actress. We’re all human. Sometimes we’re on this side, sometimes on that side of the table.

  • juliejulie

    Dang it. Now I gotta come up with an idea to pitch to you…

  • Will Price

    Well done, guys. Loved it!

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  • http://www.mikefolden.com Mike Folden

    This is awesome. VC’s are bringing sexy back!

  • http://twitter.com/pug Ef Rodriguez

    So much amazing. I feel like I owe you money for having glimpsed such beautiful purity. :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6107542 Jim Lop

    we’ll meet under the term sheets. haha 

  • Michael Godwin

    Nice… now I know what Arrogant Bastard Ale feels like coming out my nose!  That was awesome.

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  • Gururaj S.

    Nice lyrics, good acting. Will you post the text of the same please? Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/rolandreynolds Roland Reynolds

    This is fantastic! You guys do everything in a first rate, big, big way–investing, music videos, books and more.  Very proud of the Foundry Group and all that it stands for.  Especially the ability to inject some humility and humor into a business which isn’t known for either!

  • http://twitter.com/rolandreynolds Roland Reynolds

    This is fantastic! You guys do everything in a first rate, big, big way–investing, music videos, books and more.  Very proud of the Foundry Group and all that it stands for.  Especially the ability to inject some humility and humor into a business which isn’t known for either!

  • http://twitter.com/TravelShark TravelShark

    Clever.  Love the Boulder allusions, dance moves, script, and what Foundry is doing in Boulder.  And yet, with the unemployment rate at 9.1%, people losing their homes, lifetime “entrepreneurs” (who would never call themselves that) watching their retail and manufacturing businesses crash under the weight of the times, this makes me a little queasy. And yep, I know the portfolio companies create jobs
    here, and pay taxes (when there are profits…).

    I arrived at my Boulder office this morning and, first thing, a guy who was riding his bike in the pouring rain walked into our travel startup and asked if he could “drop off a resume.”  Seemed like a nice guy; his pants showed he’d done some painting in his time, and clearly he needed work.

    Most days – during which I enjoy the extraordinary privilege of working in a well-funded startup and trying to make positive change in my sector — I want to have this guy and the millions of “guys” like him in mind.  He calls forth my humility and perspective.  Somewhere in all that is my 24-hour-later reaction to this.

    • Anonymous

      And not just “guys” need work – or do good work – or deserve focus, as well, but also the many women in the entrepreneurial sector, even on the VC side.

    • Anonymous

      And not just “guys” need work – or do good work – or deserve focus, as well, but also the many women in the entrepreneurial sector, even on the VC side.

  • Mark

    Interesting and almost original.  Here’s another one:  http://blog.al.com/tuscaloosa/2011/08/ua_sorority_girls_get_crunk_wi.html

  • Dan K

    Definitely wearing a purple suit to my next pitch meeting.

  • Jamesrhee_7

    Lol what about $45- + $20,000 in one poker session?

  • Anonymous

    What a bunch of self importunated dip shits in love w/ themselves.  Love hurts and this leaves me w/ a very angry headache.

    Am I the only one who finds this nonsense a bit over self congratulatory.

    Get over yourselves.  You are some lucky guys, deal with it it.

    • http://www.startupboyo.com/ RichardF

      I think they are just taking the piss out of themselves JLM, that’s all.

    • Wolverine friend

      Possibly you miss the joke(s) and surely you don’t know the guys; they’re just a group of smart people who love what they’re doing and haven’t let success lure them into starching or stuffing their shirts. In person, they’re funny, self-effacing and short.

  • http://www.startupboyo.com/ RichardF

    “I’m a VC, who are you” – Love it.  I think Union Square need to make a rap version.

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  • http://twitter.com/aliciacastillo Alicia Castillo Holl

    Love it!  when you are ready to get one with the ladies, send me a note :-)… or we should come up with one to match. 

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