Ray Rothrock

Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

Planet Labs — New Age Earth Science and Data Company

In Energy, Technology, Venture Capital on December 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

I just invested in Planet Labs.  See the press release.  This team has a vision of changing how the earth is observed with a huge fleet of small satellites that will sense the earth daily. The data they collect will become available essentially to everyone.  This is very exciting for a lot of reasons.  First, things change quickly on the planet and this requires data to comprehend, and not just the weather.  Second — as the climate changes more and more these sorts of observations will become increasingly valuable to the NGOs and the governments of the world that  have policies with teeth.  Third — there is a whole bunch of new companies that will emerge from this data and its use.  Oh yes, the oil and gas, the ag, the tech that currently consume about $1.5 billion per year of “mapping” data are sure to be customers of Planet Labs.  But I’m talking about a whole new generation of digital natives who will figure out never-before new ways of using this data in valuable applications serving it to you, me and every person with a smartphone or feed.  This is very exciting.  As a boy having watched Armstrong and Aldrin walk on the moon the first time, an idea like this has finally arrived.  Space will no longer be the domain of governments.  It’s for you and me.  Thanks Yuri for stepping up and leading this investment.  Thanks Will, Robbie and Chris for founding the company and letting me invest in your vision.

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CloudFlare Raises a Big Round of Capital

In Technology, Venture Capital on December 17, 2013 at 9:22 am

See the story linked here.  CloudFlare, a Venrock deal in which I led a Series A financing a few years ago, is, as they say, rocking and rolling.  In the new age of everything digital and the long tail, while still long but now substantial in terms of Internet traffic, CloudFlare offers amazing benefits to website owners of all sizes, shapes, and purposes.  The benefits are many including security, performance, analytics, and business continuity.  But I’ll let the rest of the world tell the story.  I’ll just say that Matthew Prince and Michelle Zatlyn are an exceptional founding team and thoughtful leaders.  I base this conclusion on the fifty plus teams with whom I have worked over the past 25 years as a venture capitalist.  As for me, I’m glad they shook my hand when I offered them an investment.  As one of my mentors used to say, “when you find a deal that seems to just go and go and go without much assistance, just stand back and marvel” — which in the case of CloudFlare is very true.  It’s up and to the right for CloudFlare.