Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Long & Winding Roda (Group) in Berkeley -- A Trip Back to Memory Lane

I am writing this from the San Diego airport -- ready to take the Southwest bus to Oakland -- a jaunt I took for several years when I was CEO of IP video chat leader SightSpeed. SightSpeed -- which was acquired by Logitech in late 2008 -- was backed by Berkeley-based venture capital firm The Roda Group. Roda is essentially Roger Strauch (hence the "Ro" in Roda) and Dan Miller (hence the "da"). And, the bonded name represents a personal and professional bond the two have had for years -- many many years -- back to college.

Never heard of Roda? Well, you should get to know them. Their track record and overall slugging percentage as VCs is second to none. They have had massive wins with companies like Ask Jeeves -- and they have had many other significant wins with companies like SightSpeed. And, their latest victory is with bio-based/algae/renewable oil pioneer Solazyme, which just recently went public at a healthy premium to all Roda investors (the company is currently trading at about a $1.4 billion market cap). Roger and Dan also are great guys -- smart, very smart. Successful, very successful. Great mentors, great entrepreneurs, and great and generous philanthropists who give both their time and their money.

I will meet with Dan and the entire Roda team later this morning -- including Saralynn Nusbaum and Janine DeHart who help make it all possible. I will return to the offices on Parker street in Berkeley. And, I will visit the place that I called my professional home for about 3 years -- which I have not visited for about that same period of time that I have been running Sorenson Media.

A trip back to Parker Street (memory lane) in Berkeley ... will be fun.