Going Gator

Last week I left the ranks of the under-employed to join Denver-based Newsgator, the widely acknowledged leader in consumer and enterprise RSS solutions. I will take the newly minted title of VP Corporate Development and continue to be based here in the Valley.

What most people don’t realize is that Newsgator is actually a lot more than a provider of RSS client apps, they have 3 lines of business. In addition to popular client apps like FeedDemon, NetNewsWire and an online service, the company offers a full portfolio of enterprise server products, and a really interesting media syndication business.

All of these building blocks add up to the prototypical enterprise 2.0 software provider, which I would define beyond the ideological angle of e2.0, to be products that enable workers with timely and relevant information when they need it and the capability to act on it collaboratively or in straight line process manner.

Newsgator has a number of existing relationships that provide a good foundation for me to build on, including a premier position with Microsoft, Intel’s Suite Two, and Thomson, among others. As I scan the horizon I see a rich landscape of opportunities to work with across a spectrum of traditional enterprise and consumer offerings, and exciting possibilities with many of the startups that I follow and get really excited about.

When I left Teqlo I talked with my wife about what attributes I wanted to find in my next opportunity and no matter how long it took I wouldn’t settle for anything less. It goes without saying that all of us want to work with smart people, but I wanted something more in that I wanted to work with the people who I believed are the best at what they do, work well together, and I wanted to continue to work on projects that were intellectually interesting to me.

I looked at a lot of companies, large and small, as well as a return to venture capital and in the end opted for Newsgator because there’s a lot “there” and, simply put, I wanted to be part of the leadership team J.B. Holston has put together.

After a number of trips out to Denver to work with the team I watched closely how the individuals worked together, how decisions were made, and what the values of the company are, but the clincher was the minimal amount of ego that the company and the individuals carry with them. It was pretty cool to watch a bunch of competent people work together with mutual respect and doing so with the success of the company being the pre-eminent goal.

Working with this investor syndicate was another big plus in my decision process. Many of you don’t need an introduction to Brad Feld, who is an active investor in this company, but for me this was a chance to finally do something together. Brad and I had danced to the same band on a number of occasions when I was with SAP Ventures but never found the opportunity to dance together, a disappointment for me when I left that fund. Masthead Ventures is a lesser known investor in this company, lesser known if you are not a VC in which case you no doubt know this to be a respected firm with a solid track record.

I would define my near term objectives as follows:

  1. Establishing presence in the Valley. What this means is simply elevating the awareness of the company locally and ensuring that entrepreneurs, investors, and other influencers know that this company is a lot broader than RSS client apps.
  2. Strategic partnership management is clearly something I have on my plate. There are number of existing relationships that require stewardship, but also new opportunities that need to be realized.
  3. Contribute to product and solution marketing where appropriate to help move from being RSS to Enterprise 2.0.

Needless to say, I am really excited about this opportunity and will be posting more about my experiences. I am also committed to devoting more energy to blogging now that summer is over. In retrospect I know now that I really needed some time off to recharge my batteries, rediscover what excites me, and most importantly, be a full time parent again. It’s been a great summer for me and like all the kids going back to school after Labor Day, I too am heading back into the breech. It’s gonna be a fun ride.

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