New Tech Meetup: meet Brad Feld

| Feb 4, 2009

This is a brief report on the Boulder Denver New Technology Meetup held February 3 2009.

Meet Brad Feld. First of all, I feel like I got to know Brad Feld and his thinking a lot better, as I walked in near the end of one Q&A with him before the Boulder Denver New Technology Meetup began, and he also submitted to another Q&A to end the Meetup. Brad is a rare combination of razor-sharp techie mind (7 years at MIT), a wit, and a super-nice guy too.

Brad Feld’s advice (given in the meeting-wrap-up Q&A) was to “ignore the VCs” and proceed with getting your brainchild up and running. Now, that’s encouraging in an era of picky VCs and teetering economy. Just make sure, he said, that yours isn’t a “derivative idea” such as “the 17th video sharing site.” I also loved his encouraging comment: “Don’t underestimate the unintended consequences of just showing up.” What’s his methodology in picking companies to invest in at Foundry Group, his VC firm? Key criteria: a theme that appeals, and can spawn a wide range of offshoots that make it more like a mini-industry; and, oh yes, the people involved.

Company presentations. The presentation by Surveygizmo was fascinating (I’d discovered, and started their online survey platform, them a while ago). I think TapTapCards, a platform for sending snailmail postcards from iPhones and other devices, also has a winner. I’m a little less enthused, and slightly confused, about Spyderlynk and Fitwise Training, but both look promising. (For a more detailed, less opinionated summary of the evening’s presentations, check out RockyRadar.)

Whirlwind girl. I also enjoyed some comments during the meeting from a dynamic you-go-girl whirlwind known as Heather Paulsons, a Microsoft alumna, new to Boulder but bringing a welcome burst of energy. She didn’t take long after hitting town to write an insightful piece about the tech-company incubator Techstars and some of the companies it has spawned.

Congrats to New Tech meetup as they grow and grow (can that room at the CU Law School hold more people?) and, Feb. 17, host their first spinoff meeting in Denver. And Brad Feld was only kidding when he quipped, in answer to a question, “Where’s Denver?” Wasn’t he?