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These Startups Are Selling Vinyl Records, Graphic Novels, and Indian Food Via Text Message

Bloomberg 4/14/16 – Back in the day, vinyl geeks schlepped to a record store or flea market and spent hours going through bins of dusty albums. ReplyYes is a whole lot easier.  

The Seattle startup sends a daily text message suggesting a vinyl recommendation determined by an algorithm. You want? Reply yes. In about six days the album arrives in the mail. That’s it.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Amazon and Microsoft Make Seattle the Cloud Capital of the World–and a Great Place for Startups

Inc. 4/20/16 – Seattle is the world’s cloud capital — and not just because of its overcast winter weather. During a panel at this month’s iCONIC event in Seattle, Julie Sandler, principal at Madrona Venture Group, said that the area was the world’s cloud capital, with two of the industry’s biggest players, Amazon and Microsoft, in residence.

I’m always eager to learn more about the cloud — and also about the Seattle area, which has been my home for the past year and a half. So I followed up with Sandler to ask what (besides the presence of the two big cloud players) makes Seattle the cloud capital, and what that means to entrepreneurs.

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POSTED IN: Opinions

7 Portland tech companies that are ready to fly

Portland Business Journal 4/1/16 – We are excited to be invested in the Portland startup economy and great to see Cedexis and Opal Labs featured in the Portland Business Journals’ write up on seven up and coming companies.  Subscription required. 

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Enterprise security startup Icebrg raises $10M to help companies fend off hackers

Geekwire 3/29/16 – Icebrg, a Seattle-based enterprise security startup, has raised $10 million to help fuel growth for its platform that helps companies prevent hackers from compromising their networks.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Seattle Developers Roll The Dice On Virtual Reality’s Success As New Headsets Arrive

KPLU 3/28/16 – This is a big week for virtual reality, as Facebook starts shipping out the new $600 Oculus Rift to people who pre-ordered it. Later this week, Microsoft will start sending out an early version of its HoloLens augmented-reality device to developers to try out.

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POSTED IN: Madrona News, Opinions

Commentary: From Angel to VC – Five Thing I Learned in the first 100 days

By S. Somaseager

Over the last 10 years, I had been doing — or should I say dabbling in — angel investing. With time and some hard knocks, I ended up with a simple philosophy.

If I liked the founder(s) and thought they had the execution capability and they wanted me to invest, I would. It is hard to spend any meaningful amount of time on this when you have a full-time job — and I had what I call a more than a full-time job at Microsoft during this time. So, it was more like spending an hour or two with the founders and either you invest or you don’t.

When I joined Madrona Venture Group in November 2015, I was excited to spend more time digging into the new startups and possible investments that had taken so little of my time in the last ten years.

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POSTED IN: Madrona News, Opinions

How the Algorithm Economy and Containers are Changing the Way We Build and Deploy Apps Today

In the age of Big Data, algorithms give companies a competitive advantage. Today’s most important technology companies all have algorithmic intelligence built into the core of their product: Google Search, Facebook News Feed, Amazon’s and Netflix’s recommendation engines.

“Data is inherently dumb,” Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research, said in The Internet of Things Will Give Rise To The Algorithm Economy. “It doesn’t actually do anything unless you know how to use it.”

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POSTED IN: Opinions

Focus on What You Can Control

The following is an excerpt from a memo that Madrona shared with our investors as we plan for the year ahead and provides guidance to venture backed companies about what they should expect from their investors, especially with current market conditions.  

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POSTED IN: Madrona News

What Twitch and eSports can teach us about building successful media companies

By Daniel Li

This opinion piece appeared in Venture Beat and on Medium

From a 2011 spinoff of Justin.tv to a $1 billion acquisition by Amazon in 2014, Twitch has taken over eSports viewing and led the growth of the broader live-streaming market. At the time of the acquisition, many people outside of gaming and media had never heard of Twitch and were surprised that Amazon would pay $1 billion for it.

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POSTED IN: Opinions

McIlwain and DeVore Share their Thoughts on the Seattle Startup Scene

Will a new crop of Seattle startups rise to world domination? Will virtual or augmented reality applications create the next powerhouse tech company?

Those are two of the overriding hopes and ambitions emerging from the Seattle segment of my informal cross-country survey of leading investors as I seek to unearth core investment themes and premises as we dive into 2016.

POSTED IN: Opinions

Alberg and Li on Driverless Cars and Ride Sharing as Part of Seattle’s Transportation Solution

By Tom Alberg and Daniel Li

This opinion piece appeared in the Seattle Times 

Only a few years ago, driverless cars were a pipe dream. Because of technological challenges and regulatory obstacles, experts believed that driverless cars would not be feasible for decades in the future, if at all. Nevertheless, in a surprisingly short period of time, we’ve observed rapid innovations which are bringing driver assisted and autonomous vehicles to our roads today. In fact, Google just brought their autonomous car test program to Kirkland.

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POSTED IN: Opinions

Top angels pump $9M into Amperity, a new marketing startup from Derek Slager and Kabir Shahani of Appature

Geekwire 2/5/2016 – Kabir Shahani and Derek Slager already have one big success under their belts, selling Seattle-based healthcare marketing startup Appature to IMS Health in 2013 for a significant return.

Now, the entrepreneurial duo is hoping to do it again. This time, just on a bigger scale.

Shahani and Slager recently formed a new marketing technology startup called Amperity, and they just pulled in $9 million in funding to get the young company off the ground, GeekWire has learned.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

David & Ben’s ‘Acquired’ Podcast Dissects What Went Right – New Episode Available

David Rosenthal of Madrona and Ben Gilbert of Pioneer Square Labs team up every two weeks or so to eat some food and talk about acquisitions.  These can so easily go wrong.  This podcast is about the ones that mainly went right – the “The 1+1=3 deals” as the authors say on their site.  Why did these go right? What were the elements of success?  And they are only 30 minutes!  Perfect.  The newest episode looks at YouTube (and includes a link to the original internal investment memo from funders, Sequoia) 

Get the podcast from iTunes or from Acquired.  

We sat down and asked a couple questions about the podcast and the response so far.  Read on for fun insight and a good restaurant recommendation. 

How did you get the idea for Acquired? 

The idea was Ben’s— he had wanted to do a podcast for a while, and thought a theme around analyzing tech acquisitions would be a good mix of unique, focused and atomized-enough content that we could keep it going with fresh and interesting material. So far we’ve been very happy with how it’s working, and we have a few fun ideas in the works riffing on the theme— acquisitions that DIDN’T happen, “real-time” analysis when a big one gets announced, more special guests, etc. 

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POSTED IN: Opinions

Julie Sandler Joins the 2016 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars

Madrona Venture Group Investor is Recognized for both Business and Civic Leadership

 

February 2, 2016 – Madrona Venture Group announced today that Julie Sandler has been selected to be a member of the Presidential Leadership Scholars class of 2016. 

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POSTED IN: Madrona News, Press Release

Booster Fuels, Which Fills Up Your Car While You’re Working, Raises $9M Series A Round

TechCrunch 1/28/16 – Even if you’re living in one of the few states where pumping your own gas is illegal, driving to the gas station to fill up is probably not your favorite chore. Booster Fuels wants to take the hassle out of fillups. The company partners with large businesses and then offers on-demand fuel service on their corporate campuses. As much as I hate writing these words, it’s basically “Uber for gas.”

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POSTED IN: Madrona News, Portfolio Company News

Portland’s Cedexis raises $22M for web performance analytics platform

Geekwire 1/26/16 – Cedexis just raised a substantial investment round to continue helping companies deliver optimal end user experiences with websites, mobile apps and streaming video.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

The tiny chip that could power big changes in how you shop

The Washington Post 1/20/16 – NEW YORK — Next time you’re at the mall, take a closer look at the paper price tag dangling from the clothes you take into the dressing room.

If you hold the tag up to a light, you might see a dark, salt-grain-sized speck in it. Or, if you run your thumb over the tag, you might feel an almost imperceptible bump.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

YOU CAN’T USE A DRONE TO FILM YOURSELF SKIING BUT THESE EX-GOOGLERS WILL DO IT FOR YOU

Fast Company 1/18/16 – Cape Productions has the exclusive buy-in from ski resorts to offer customers drone footage, and it’s because of its commitment to safety.

Talk about being on stage. I’m lying in at least a foot of fresh powder from the snowstorm overnight, frantically trying to re-attach the ski that went flying when I face-planted. There’s almost no one around, but my every move is being watched, and filmed in HD, by a drone hovering just overhead.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Madrona Appoints Technology Leader, Bill Richter, Venture Partner

Seattle, WA, January 8, 2016 – Madrona Venture Group, an early-stage venture capital firm, announced today that Bill Richter has joined the firm as a Venture Partner. Richter, with nearly 20 years of experience in the technology industry, was most recently the President of the Isilon Storage Division of EMC. As Venture Partner, Bill will help identify new investments and provide strategic and operational advice to Madrona portfolio companies.

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POSTED IN: Madrona News, Press Release

Introducing the Seattle Technology Universe 2015

Today we are proud to introduce the Seattle Technology Universe map.  This map, the result of hundreds of hours of research, discussion, and associated work, has been a true community effort spearheaded by Madrona and the WTIA.  Along with sponsors the University of Washington, Cooley, Davis Wright Tremaine, Perkins Coie, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, many people who have been deeply involved with startups in the region for years added their time to help sift through the data and offer commentary, suggestions, and a lot of reminiscing. 

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POSTED IN: Madrona News