Our Investment in Gist

by Seth Levine

Today, Gist has announced that Foundry Group has led its $6.5m Series A financing. We are delighted to be investors in a company that we think has a shot at solving “the inbox problem” that we’ve been thinking about and living with for a long time.

If you follow our themes, you know that Email and the Implicit Web are two of our favorites. Email is a long running theme of ours dating back to 1996 when we invested in Email Publishing (the company that we believe was the first known email service provider.) Over the years we’ve invested in a number of successful email related companies, including Postini, Critical Path, and Return Path.

We’ve continued to hunt for additional email-related investments. As the social web emerged, we developed a strongly held belief that your email inbox is a key source of your implied social network. With the rapid rise of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, there are now other social networks that have been created, but they still all build on and link to the implied social network that comes from your inbox.

We started talking to Gist’s CEO TA McCann last fall around the Defrag Conference. We saw an early demo of Gist, dove in and started playing with it. Gist wasn’t yet raising a financing so we had plenty of time to get to know the company and the team. We’ve looked at many other companies doing things in and around the inbox so we had plenty of points of comparison. As we got to know Gist better, we realized that in addition to being in the sweet spot of our Email theme, it was also right in the middle of our Implicit Web theme. We call this a special bonus double theme investment.

Brad will be joining the Gist board which is now our second Foundry Group investment in Seattle (the other one is Smith & Tinker); we look forward to spending more time in the Pacific Northwest.