One of the favorite times for me in the life of a company is when it finds its sweet spot and really turns on the juice. Over the past year, we’ve had a number of our Boulder-based investments find this magic moment, including Trada and SendGrid. The most recent Boulder-based company to really hit its stride is Gnip.

Gnip started around 2008 and is a testament to our belief at Foundry Group that it often takes several years for a brand new company to really find its mojo. While Gnip was building a business based on the idea that led to its creation, like most firms breaking new ground it had its share of bumps along the way.

The first version of the product was based on an architectural approach that didn’t aptly satisfy all players in the ecosystem and wasn’t flexible enough. This led to a reset of the business, including a layoff of almost half the team (who were quickly absorbed into a number of other local Boulder companies, including several that we funded) and a different approach to the product. This approach worked much better, but by this point one of the co-founders was frustrated with the customer dynamics (all business-facing) and decided to leave to start a new consumer-facing business (he left on good terms, we are still good friends, and he’s much happier today).


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One of the favorite times for me in the life of a company is when it finds its sweet spot and really turns on the juice. Over the past year, we’ve had a number of our Boulder-based investments find this magic moment, including Trada and SendGrid. The most recent Boulder-based company to really hit its stride is Gnip.

Gnip started around 2008 and is a testament to our belief at Foundry Group that it often takes several years for a brand new company to really find its mojo. While Gnip was building a business based on the idea that led to its creation, like most firms breaking new ground it had its share of bumps along the way.

The first version of the product was based on an architectural approach that didn’t aptly satisfy all players in the ecosystem and wasn’t flexible enough. This led to a reset of the business, including a layoff of almost half the team (who were quickly absorbed into a number of other local Boulder companies, including several that we funded) and a different approach to the product. This approach worked much better, but by this point one of the co-founders was frustrated with the customer dynamics (all business-facing) and decided to leave to start a new consumer-facing business (he left on good terms, we are still good friends, and he’s much happier today).

At this point, the other co-founder, Jud Valeski, stepped up to be the CEO. Jud is an extremely experienced CTO/technical product manager and developer, but had never been a CEO. The investors in Gnip committed to supporting Jud in any way he needed and he’s done a spectacular job of building the product, growing the team, negotiating several significant deals including the first Twitter data resyndication deal, and unleashing a very compelling set of products on the world. His one-year CEO anniversary is approaching, and things are going great.

The beginning of 2011 was pleasantly insane. Gnip added customers at rate that any investor would be proud of, was executing flawlessly on the product and operations side as it scaled up, and posted month over month growth numbers that put it in the “they are killing it” category. Oh, and they hired as fast as they can find great people; across the spectrum (business, sales, and engineering).

I’m super proud of Jud and the team he’s built at Gnip. I expect we’ll look back and see how Gnip went from a highly product development-focused company to a company that was firing on all cylinders. Chalk up another substantial software/Internet company for Boulder.

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