While discussing the startup industry with a friend, we ran through the subject of venture capital and how critical it is to supporting that new idea everyone will be crazy about a few years from now.
It gave me the idea to approach this post from a different angle. Instead of profiling a startup, this blog will be dedicated to a company that makes startups financially feasible. Specifically, Madrona Venture Group.
To be fair, venture capital funds generally keep a low profile, so not having heard of them isn’t unexpected. The specific company was founded in 1995, and is based in Seattle, WA.
They focus primarily on early-stage investments, helping newly created startups in the Pacific Northwest grow. Their past history is impressive too, with an early funding of Amazon sticking out as a high point, along with thirty other businesses to their name.
They aren’t short of capital either. As recently as 2012, and in the midst of a recession the company raised $300 million, the largest amount they’ve gathered since their inception just under two decades ago.
Madrona has a diverse portfolio. From consumer internet, and digital media, to software services. Here are a few companies they’ve sponsored that have struck my interest.
- Placed: This location panel allows users to log into the app, and display where they are at any given time. The service offers valuable data to marketers, and insight into visited areas in order to improve anything from advertisement, to business movement based on human tracking. Knowing where the world moves is key to understanding how to reach out to it.
- Buddy TV: This site offers TV viewers the opportunity to stay up to date with their favorite programs, and also provides a valuable platform for them to connect with one another, exchanging information about whatever it is they’re watching. With almost a million iOS downloads, and high ratings among its users, Buddy TV looks poised to continue growing as a hot spot for TV viewers.
- Bag, Borrow, or Steal: I don’t usually profile fashion accessory companies, but hey, this concept is cool. They might not need publicity from me either, having already been featured in The New York Times along with the Sex and the City movie. The firm allows its customers to buy, rent, or sell accessories such as purses or shoes. So, next time you really need that Chanel bag for a night out, but might not have the cash on hand to buy it yourself, you know where to turn.
What I personally find interesting is its business plan, investing in new ideas poised to break out in the future is a risky technique, but one that can pay off down the road. It’s what drives me, and so many others to be passionate about the industry. Startups innovate, change markets, and alter the way we view the world around us. While Madrona might be one of thousands following this path, it certainly looks poised to continue developing the big names of tomorrow.