Who We Are
Foundry Group is a venture capital firm focused on making early-stage technology investments, participating in select growth rounds, and identifying and supporting the next generation of venture fund managers.
Our passion is working alongside entrepreneurs to give birth to new technologies and to build those technologies into industry-leading companies. We also seek to leverage our experience and relationships as fund managers to help new and existing venture firms create industry leading investment businesses. We’re centrally located in Boulder, CO, but we invest in companies and funds across North America.
What We Do
We started Foundry Group in 2007 as true early-stage investors, making Seed and Series A investments to help promising entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. As our portfolio and network grew, so did the vision of Foundry Group. This led us to raise Foundry Group Select, a fund focused on growth stage investments in the existing Foundry Group portfolio. The success of both our early stage investment strategy combined with Foundry Group Select’s growth strategy, as well as personal investments we made in over fifty venture funds, led us to institutionalize this strategy and launch FG Next – a hybrid fund of funds and growth stage direct investment vehicle.
Regardless of the size of our initial investment, the size and structure of our funds allow us to continue to support our portfolio companies through their entire financing lifecycles. Our fund investments give us insight and access to a large number of venture-backed companies at varying stages.
In addition to providing the necessary venture capital, we are committed to leveraging our experience in starting and growing companies, our expertise in the technology industry, and our network of relationships to help outstanding entrepreneurs and venture fund managers turn great ideas into great companies.
How We Do It
We believe that success comes from building a collaborative and supportive relationship between Foundry Group and the entrepreneurs and venture fund managers in whom we invest. We look to invest in entrepreneurs and fund managers who share our values of openness, honesty and transparency: those who give first and support entrepreneurship in all its forms. Having walked the proverbial mile in their shoes, we understand where we can add value—such as helping build out a management team, thinking through strategic business development and growth opportunities, or providing advice on portfolio construction—and we aren’t afraid to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.
We think of fund managers as entrepreneurs as well. As venture capitalists with decades of experience, we are a resource for our fund managers as they come across the challenges and nuances of managing a portfolio. We are an anchor tenant in funds: serving, advising, providing insight, and helping fund managers think about capitalizing their own business.
Rest assured, we also know the difference between being value-added investors and being micro-managing investors. As venture capitalists, we believe our role is to identify, help build and support the team that will make our companies successful, not to run those companies ourselves.
We also believe that it is critical we maintain a direct relationship with our entrepreneurs and our fund managers. Foundry Group’s team structure, fund size, and investment process have been intentionally created and preserved to ensure this philosophy guides our interactions with all of our investments. Foundry is a collaborative organization and all investments are handled by the entire team, not an individual. It has been, is, and will always be this way.
Because of our active engagement with our companies, we typically will take a correspondingly substantial ownership position in our investments and will join as a member of the company’s board of directors.
Though we are happy to co-invest with other venture firms and institutions as part of a syndicate, we look to our own evaluation and interpretation of an opportunity and a company’s prospects to guide our investment decisions. As a result, we view ourselves as “syndication agnostic” and are entirely comfortable investing in a company as its sole investor, rather than seeking the validation of co-investors.
On the fund side, we are comfortable being a first commitment and will often serve as a member of a fund’s advisory board. Simply put, we aren’t afraid to put a stake in the ground for what we believe in, and we pride ourselves in making our own decisions instead of waiting for others.
What We Invest In
Unlike many venture capital firms that invest in certain geographic regions or specific technologies and sectors, Foundry Group’s investing activity is largely driven by a thematic approach. The themes we pursue tend to be horizontal in nature and are often driven by underlying technology protocols and standards or emerging market trends and customer needs. Rather than looking for short-term hits, we focus on themes that have the ability to drive a cycle of innovation (and hence provide multiple investment opportunities) over a period of five to ten years or more.
Examples of the investment themes we are currently pursuing include Human Computer Interaction, Protocol, AdHesive, Glue, Marketplace, and Distribution. As one might expect, we are always in the process of evaluating current themes and investigating new ones. That said, we don’t strictly limit our investing activities to our themes—great entrepreneurs with great ideas still count for a lot in our book. In fact, our thinking about these themes can be born from and evolve as a result of our investment in an entrepreneur at the leading edge.
Our FG Next strategy not only allows us to continue making direct investments in high-potential startups that fit within our themes but also scale up our ability to support venture firms and funds whose vision and values align with ours. Through this activity, we hope to spread the Foundry Group values and DNA further into the overall venture and startup ecosystem.
If you’re interested in learning more, we have a blog post dedicated to the topic of What Is ‘Thematic Investing?’. You can keep abreast of the specific themes we’re currently investing in or are thinking about by checking out our Themes page. You can also get a sense of how our thematic approach translates into specific investments through taking a look at our Portfolio Companies.