May 16 2012

The future of your past (our investment in Mocavo)

It’s funny how things have a way of working out. I wrote recently of our experience with SEOMoz – from initial meeting a few years ago to finally investing in them earlier this month. Today we announced our investment in Mocavo – a genealogy search platform that provides users with the best tools available to find information on their ancestors. More specifics on the business in a minute but the year long journey from TechStars to Foundry investment is worth noting.

I first met Mocavo at the start of last year’s TechStars Boulder. I liked founder Cliff Shaw a lot and appreciated (although at the time didn’t share) his passion for genealogy. When he asked me to mentor them through the program I thought it was a pretty safe bet. “Sure thing Cliff,” I said at the time, “there’s zero chance that I’d invest in a genealogy site, but it would be fun to work together!” Through the summer I held to that party line.  Cliff and I kept meeting regularly even after TechStars (Cliff knows my soft spot for sushi and would regularly invite me to the Mocavo offices for brainstorming sessions with the team over take-out). But over the winter the lightbulb went off on what a big idea Mocavo really is. I had known that genealogy is a huge (and growing) market but was beginning to realize just how novel the tools that Mocavo is bringing to the market are. And the pent up demand in genealogy circles for better access to content, better tools for sharing this content and better ways to bring offline content (the majority of historical content still resides offline). And how passionate genealogists are about their pursuit of family history and as a result how much time, effort and money they spend in their pursuit.

Launched in March of 2011 (although their paid features only launched a few months ago), Mocavo has seen great growth in visitors to its site, searches on its platform and information indexed in its search engine. The company isn’t out to replace existing genealogical tools – it’s here to augment those tools and provide an overlay social experience that is natural to genealogy. I couldn’t be more excited to be working with the Mocavo team (along with Cliff, I’ve gotten to know Richard, Andy, Ryan really well over the last year).

Welcome to the future of your past!