David Smooke

@DavidSmooke

What Venture Capitalists Can Bring to Product Development

Foundry’s Brad Feld #Connect17 Interview (6/8)

A Venture Capitalist can provide a lot more than just $$$

David Smooke: Where’s the most common area that you’re working with your investments? Where do people find the most value outside the money, in working with you?

Brad Feld: I’m a product guy. I tend to be pretty engaged in product and product strategy. As the investor, and finance guy I tend to be very involved in any financing or merger acquisition, sale activity.

David Smooke: Yeah.

Brad Feld: At a lot of companies I’m an investor, and buy lots of other companies so there’s plenty of that action.

David Smooke: Is there any product detail at FullContact that you’re especially proud of your contributions?

Brad Feld: I would say … When I describe my involvement in product, it’s not at a code level, it’s product at a product definition level. I think one of the hidden gems of that FullContact has built is the chrome plugin. It’s popular amongst people that know about it.

I find it to be just this magical little piece of software. That’s essentially an add on to what’s going on, but it dramatically enhances your experience within Gmail. It’s almost a perfect instantiation of the kind of data that FullContact has available to it. Sort of in your face. That’s one that I’m really proud of.

The other is the continuous API layer, and the evolution of the API layer. And the view of how to think about what we’re doing, and making that a full 360 view of your customer. Essentially, the 360 view of a contact available via an API, empowering that across every consumer and business application that exists. That part of the vision, which Bart drives, I find particularly compelling.

David Smooke: Yeah, I was talking to one of the product managers here. We were talking about possibly doing a Hacker Noon Hackathon with FullContact.

Brad Feld: That’d be awesome.

David Smooke: Yeah, it seems like pushing the API, and get a lot more companies to build on it, it seems like a pretty high priority for the company. It’s already a substantial company, but how could it take a leap?

Brad Feld: That’s our primary growth.

David Smooke: Yeah.

Brad Feld: Yeah, that’s a primary growth factor. If you look at other companies, an easy one to point at in our portfolio that we’re investors in that’s analogous is SendGrid. The growth and acceleration of SendGriding that contents, and building off the API. At Twilio, which I’m not a direct investor in, but I’m an indirect investor in through some venture funds as well as Techstars that’s an investor in it. Same kind of thing.

David Smooke: Yeah.

Brad Feld: Understanding of the power of this grew at the API layer, that everybody whose building any sort of application can benefit from, leverage, and the power that the company can build from there.

Read The Rest of Foundry’s Brad Feld #Connect17 Interview

  1. Writer / Publisher Relations on Medium
  2. Who’s a Venture Capitalist’s Customer?
  3. The Venture Capitalist’s Writing Process
  4. The Venture Capitalist at His Investment’s First Conference
  5. How Brad Feld Realized He Was a Venture Capitalist
  6. What Venture Capitalists Can Bring to Product Development
  7. The Nearly 30 Year Quest To Solve The Business Address Book Problem
  8. How Venture Capitalists Market Their Stories
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