Brad Feld’s Colorado VC Firm Joins Massachusetts Crusade Against Non-Compete Agreements

7/9/09Follow @wroush

The directors of Foundry Group, a Boulder, CO-based venture firm, have signed on as supporters of the Alliance for Open Competition, a group lobbying to outlaw the use of non-compete clauses in employment agreements in Massachusetts and other states.

The alliance, founded last year by partners at Boston’s Spark Capital, argues that the non-compete clauses imposed by many Massachusetts employers stifle innovation by preventing entrepreneurs with good ideas from setting up new businesses that might be seen as competing with those of their former employers. Such agreements are unenforceable in California—a fact that may aggravate brain drain from New England to the West Coast, in the view of many people active in the local entrepreneurial scene.

Today Foundry managing directors Brad Feld, Seth Levine, Jason Mendelson, and Ryan McIntyre added their names to the list of venture capital partners supporting the alliance. Spark partner Bijan Sabet announced the additions in a Twitter post today.

But why would a Colorado firm care about non-compete clauses in Massachusetts? I pinged both Sabet and Feld today for answers.

In an e-mail, Feld explained: “Since we invest all over the US (including MA) we are motivated both by MA specific reasons as well as our strongly held beliefs that broad-based non-compete agreements are inhibitors of innovation.”

And as Sabet pointed out, Feld is a founding member of TechStars, a Colorado-born startup incubator program that recently opened a Boston branch. “So he cares about this state,” Sabet said.

Here’s a rundown of all VC partners who have now joined the Alliance for Competition:

Bijan Sabet, General Partner, Spark Capital
Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group
Dennis Miller, General Partner, Spark Capital
Gwill York, General Partner, Lighthouse Capital Partners
Jeff Fagnan, General Partner, Atlas Venture
Michael Feinstein, Managing Director, Sempre Management
Michael Greeley, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners
Mike Tyrell, General Partner, Venrock
Jason Mendelson Managing Director, Foundry Group
Paul Conway, General Partner, Spark Capital
Paul Maeder, General Partner, Highland Capital
Ryan McIntyre, Managing Director, Foundry Group
Santo Politi, General Partner, Spark Capital
Seth Levine, Managing Director, Foundry Group
Todd Dagres, General Partner, Spark Capital

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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