Archive for the ‘Founders’ Category

The ten year entrepreneur

It’s easy to get lost in the celebration of high flying companies that quickly take an idea to market, scale and sell. It’s exciting, financially lucrative and makes for great reading. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a few companies like that in the Foundry portfolio (Zynga, AdMeld and Gist all went from idea to sale/IPO in a relatively short period of time). But the reality is that most companies take years (and years and years) to develop – the average time from company founding to exit event is now approaching 10 years. And in many respects, being a great entrepreneur isn’t about coming up with company ideas and executing against an initial product spec. Its really about the perseverance, dedication and stubbornness that is required to see a company from that point just after the initial exuberance of getting a product into market and having a few people use it, through the realization that building a scalable business is going to be really freaking hard (I called this period the “trough of disillusionment in a post years back), to the point where you (hopefully) have proved the skeptics wrong and despite the obstacles, mistakes and miscalculations find yourself with a real scale business.

Years 3-10 in a business are the real heart of entrepreneurship. Figuring out how to scale an organization, realizing that you need to bring in a set of managers above many of your initial key executives, playing with product market fit that you thought you’d already figured out 10 times, going through a downsizing of the business after you ran a bit too hot, having a co-founder leave, trying um-teen different sales and marketing ideas as you struggle to create a scalable sales model, all the while trying to make sure you don’t run out of money in the process. This is the meat of company building. And it’s hard. And messy. And rarely pretty.

So here’s to those entrepreneurs who are toiling away because they truly believe passionately in what they are doing and are going to make their idea a success whatever it takes. Building a business is crazy hard. You’d have to be half insane to even think about trying. So kudos to those who are out there toiling away at it. You are the real stars of the entrepreneurial world!

May 8th, 2013     Categories: Company Creation, Founders     Tags: , ,

Foundry Group Joins the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado

Foundry is pleased to announce that we’ve joined the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado.  EFFCO was created to encourage philanthropy from entrepreneurial companies in Colorado (there are chapters in many other major markets across the country).  By encouraging companies to donate a small percentage of their stock (in the form of a warrant that is only exercisable when the company is sold or goes public) EFFCO is both raising funds for local non-profits as well as encouraging companies to foster a culture of philanthropy early on in the life of their company. 

We’re strong supporters of the mission of EFFCO (in fact Brad was among the founding members of the CO chapter) and are happy to announce that we’ve donated 1% of our carried interest (the equivalent of 1% of our equity) to the Community Trust Endowed Fund of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County through EFFCO. 

I’d be happy to give you some more information if you’re interested in having your company become a member of EFFCO (email me directly).

May 7th, 2008     Categories: Company Creation, Founders, Life