Posts Tagged ‘Trada’

Trada Update

tradaCompanies rarely grow in a straight line (or the fabled exponential one). Building a business isn’t about getting from point A to point D by passing through points B and C. There are fits and starts. Amazing discoveries and heart wrenching realizations. Huge highs and low lows.

Trada – which has built a large crowdsourced marketplace for search optimization – has been through its version of this crazy growth curve over the past 5 years. We’ve learned a ton and along the way have delighted a large number of customers. But we’re having one of those non-linear moments at the business and came to the realization that we needed to shrink to grow. So we took the harsh medicine and significantly cut back the Trada staff. The result was a business that has real revenue and customers, is growing and bringing on new business, is continuing to build and innovate product and is profitable.

I bring this up because it’s been falsely reported in a few media outlets (and on Twitter) that Trada is shutting down (purposely not linkning here – any reporter who can’t even perform the most basic due diligence on a story doesn’t deserve the extra traffic). Trada is not shutting down. The move the company made last Friday was bold, dramatic and painful. But it was the best thing for the business and its customers. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a business retrench (Gnip, for example, cut back to 6 people a few years ago before profitably growing back to 80 and counting).

As I’ve said before, building a company is often a 10 year + journey. We have plenty of distance to go still at Trada.

November 20th, 2013     Categories: Foundry Companies     Tags: , , , ,

Introducing Codespace – shared (free!) office space in Boulder for geeking out

One of the many things that makes Boulder a great city for start-ups is its incredibly collaborative environment (see posts on my love of Boulder here and here). From the willingness of mentors to help out TechStars companies, to collaborative efforts around recruiting great talent to our city, I’m constantly amazed at how many people are working to make Boulder an amazing place for businesses to thrive.

Today there’s another new initiative launching to help young tech companies in our community – Trada is opening CodeSpace, a free co-working space dedicated to startup developers and software engineers. CodeSpace will be located in Trada’s downtown Boulder offices and will have over 2000 sq ft of space dedicated to the effort.

While there are many places where non-technical entrepreneurs can meet up in Boulder to discuss their startups, there are few places where software developers can camp out for the day, week or month and work together on a project. We wanted to add this environment to the mix of coffee shops, traditional co-working spaces, and rented offices in Boulder. And in CodeSpace you don’t even have to buy coffee to camp out there (in fact the coffee is on Trada!).

But you do need to apply. There are spots for three dev teams (1-4 people each) for semi-permanent space as well as come-as-you-are dev and co-working space (with whiteboards, internet, access to caffeinated beverages, etc).

To start, CodeSpace will be open 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. The program will run through the summer with the expectation that it will extend/expand in the fall as we learn what works best.

To apply for one of the 3 dedicated co-working spaces please visit

July 5th, 2011     Categories: Boulder, Company Creation     Tags: ,

Join the search revolution! Introducing: Trada

image While search marketing is already a huge business, more and more companies each day are discovering the advantages of advertising directly to customers through search engines. Companies like that they can directly measure the impact of their spending – from the clicks they are generating all the way through the products they are selling as a result of those site visits and that they can quickly and easily scale up their spending on what’s working in their search campaigns. With different ad groups, ad copy and landing pages, search marketers can customize their campaigns to fit their business needs.

If there’s a downside to search, however, it’s that effectively managing search campaigns is extremely difficult. Even if you confine your efforts solely to Google the complexities of creating ad groups, generating keywords, pricing each keyword, creating deep links into your product catalogue, managing spend variants by day, figuring out broad match vs. phrase match vs exact match vs negative match, etc are daunting.

One of the ironies of search is that while technology of search itself is in many ways disaggregating the relationship between marketers and consumers (and bringing them directly together), the business of search itself isn’t something that can easily be disaggregated by technology in the same way.  Search is simply not something that lends itself well to machine automation. And while there are a few software platforms available for managing search campaigns (mostly focused on the high end of the market spending > $100k/month on search) these packages are primarily designed for people who are already search experts. It’s almost impossible to take search knowledge and put it into an algorithm. As a result, companies that lack this expertise are at a huge disadvantage in the search game (this is true of many agencies as well who use search marketing as a lead-in to offer other more lucrative services).

Today we’re launching Trada. And fundamentally changing the game in search marketing.

Trada has been working in stealth mode for the last 18 months to build a system that harnesses the power of a “crowd” of search experts to work on behalf of advertisers. The Trada system easily allows advertisers to upload campaign information and connect with hundreds of search experts. It’s not a referral site – the Trada experts work together, through the Trada platform, to create the broadest possible campaign for each advertiser. These experts get paid only for generating clicks and/or conversions for Trada advertisers (depending on whether a campaign is in pay per click or pay per action mode). We work in the middle to enable these campaigns and make our margin based on our search experts’ ability to beat your pre-determined CPC or CPA rates.

The company opened its system to a small group of advertisers in January 2009 as it worked out the specifics of the platform. Trada has served over 70 customers in that time period. The average campaign in the Trada system has over 100 ads (most proposed by Trada optimizers), 6,200 keywords and an average of more than 20 optimizers working on behalf of each advertiser. If you’re working in search marketing, these numbers blow you away. Advertisers can currently run campaigns – through a single Trada interface – on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

This company is near and dear to my heart, as I’ve been with CEO Niel Robertson and the rest of the Trada team from the very start of the business (and together with them am a co-founder of the company; read Niel’s post launching the company on the Trada blog). I’ve known Niel for almost 10 years now and one of our goals with Trada has been to step away from the traditional VC/CEO relationship. We’ve done that over the last 18 months of the business and developed an unusually close partnership – the initial result of which you see today. There’s a ton more to come with Trada. Stay tuned!

Learn more about the search revolution at

March 18th, 2010     Categories: Foundry Companies, stealth     Tags: , ,

Are you a PPC expert? Read on…

One of our portfolio companies (a heretofore stealthy one at that) is looking for Pay Per Click stars (Google AdWords Qualified or SEMPO Institute training preferred) to join their crowdsourced PPC marketplace. If you’re a PPC marketing expert click here to find out more and sign up.

Lots more on Trada (which we haven’t yet been talking about broadly) in the coming months as they really start to open up.

August 27th, 2009     Categories: Foundry Companies     Tags: ,