FUNDS WITH BENEFITS

FUNDS WITH BENEFITS

WE HAVE AN

EXPERIENCED TEAM

WITH A PROVEN

TRACK RECORD

WE HAVE AN EXPERIENCED TEAM WITH A PROVEN TRACK RECORD

WE HAVE A

FORMULA TO

TURN GOOD IDEAS

INTO GREAT PRODUCTS

WE HAVE A FORMULA TO TURN GOOD IDEAS INTO GREAT PRODUCTS

WE ARE A SEED FUND BACKED BY THE SORENSON GROUP

WE ARE A SEED FUND BACKED BY THE SORENSON GROUP

WE WORK WITH

A NUMBER OF

CONCEPTS AT

DIFFERENT STAGES

OF LIFE

WE WORK WITH A NUMBER OF CONCEPTS AT DIFFERENT STAGES OF LIFE

WE'RE PLUGGED

IN TO THE

START UP

COMMUNITY

WE'RE PLUGGED IN TO THE START UP COMMUNITY

IF YOU'VE GOT A GREAT IDEA, GET IN TOUCH AND SEE IF WE CAN MAKE YOUR VISION A REALITY

IF YOU'VE GOT A GREAT IDEA, GET IN TOUCH AND SEE IF WE CAN MAKE YOUR VISION A REALITY

- Read Less

At Sorenson Foundry we create, fund, and support tech startups. Our sphere of expertise is centered around online media, broadcast, advertising, and emerging technologies. We develop internal ideas as well as Seed funding external start-ups. However, unlike traditional Seed funds we don't just stump up the cash. We provide technical, creative, and business development resources. Through our relationships, we enable strategic industry connections and offer legal expertise to fast-track strong concepts.

We believe there are three key components to bringing a new business concept to market:


Experience - Sorenson Foundry has a full-time core team of start-up specialists and is lead by an executive team with a lucrative track record. Read More.

Framework - We follow a proven process to quickly validate (or invalidate!) new business ideas through a series of measurable experiments. Ideas that prove most promising are fast-tracked through our various resource and funding avenues for further growth and commercialization. Read More.

Resource - Sorenson Foundry provides both financial and human resources to accelerate concept developments. In addition to providing Seed level funding directly, our Sorenson parent group includes both Series A and Growth Investment Funds which provide an extremely smooth investment pathway as concepts mature. Read More.

Sorenson Foundry is led by a team of successful entrepreneurs, who have created, sold and floated several companies. In total they have returned over $1b back to shareholders, including one of the most lucrative private equity deals in Utah history.

As part of Sorenson Media we're able to leverage numerous relationships, including strategic international agreements with major Networks, Advertisers and Consumer Electronics Manufacturers. We also have access to a number of different funding options.


Jim Sorenson

Jim Sorenson

Chairman

Jim is a renowned entrepreneur, business leader, and social investor and has built multiple highly successful companies in industries ranging from technology and life sciences to real estate and private equity investment. Jim is the founder and former CEO of Sorenson Media and Sorenson Communications, with the latter sold in one of the most lucrative private equity deals in Utah history.

Marcus Liassides

Marcus Liassides

CEO

Currently also CEO of Sorenson Media. Marcus has served as an executive in the digital video and television advertising industries for 15 years. Marcus founded Inuk Networks, which was acquired by Move Networks in 2009. Marcus was later appointed CEO of Move Networks, which provided online video solutions to clients like ESPN, ABC, Comcast, and Fox. Marcus most recently served as President & CEO of Xumo.

Dai Evans

Dai Evans

Partner and CTO

Dai has almost 20 years at the leading edge of online media and digital advertising, with a specific focus on OTT services and smart devices. Prior to creating the Sorenson Foundry he was CTO of Xumo, a company focused on delivering video and advertising solutions through internet-connected TVs. He has also held executive technical positions at Move Networks, Blockbuster and Yes Television.

Steve Hafen

Steve Hafen

Partner and COO

Steve has 20 years of progressive executive leadership in multiple industries. The past few years, Steve has orchestrated personal strategic investments in several small companies through seed funding and services rendered. Prior to that, Steve was President and CEO of Devcon Security Holdings, where he led a successful transaction process, selling the business to ADT Corporation for nearly $150 million.

Greg Woodward

Greg Woodward

CFO

Greg has over 15 years of financial and operational leadership experience. Greg has served as CFO and COO at Pluralsight where he played an integral role in sustained triple digit growth, oversaw eight acquisitions totaling nearly $200 million in combined transactional value and raised nearly $300 million in capital.

An important part of Sorenson Foundry is the Formula, which is a framework of strategies, techniques, tools and methodologies that we have refined over the years to support the creation of successful start-ups. Building upon Lean and Customer driven principles, the Formula is structured around small, iterative and measurable experiments.

"Formula: a method or procedure for achieving something"

- Oxford English Dictionary

The evolution of a concept to a business is basically a series of these small experiments, contained within larger gated stages. The Formula isn't a rigid process, but it does provide a path with numerous validation points. From this we can learn, adapt and fail early if needs be.

Sorenson Foundry is a Seed Fund backed by the Sorenson Group which has been investing for over 20 years and has returned over $5B back to investors. 
However, the Foundry goes a step beyond traditional seed funds and can invest not just capitol but also highly experienced human resource to accelerate early stage concepts.
Concepts that thrive within the Foundry then have great access to venture and growth funds under the Sorenson umbrella, giving start-ups the ability to grow without distraction.

Saveit

Saveit combines TV advertising with coupons, allowing an offer to be displayed in conjunction with a TV commercial and be collected directly using the TV remote or Saveit App. www.saveit.deals

SparkTV

SparkTV delivers free broadcast TV to any device, anywhere. It seamlessly combines 1st and 2nd screen experiences, whilst leveraging the latest technical advances with ATSC3.0 and 360 content.

Squeeze360VR

Sorenson Squeeze 360VR is an enhancement to Sorenson Media's award winning encoding services, adding a complete workflow for delivery of 360 degree streaming content.

Occam

Occam Audience Research combines the latest recognition technologies with a unique panellist offering, giving advertisers and brands comprehensive insights into consumer activity.

Yarn

Yarn helps users remember, record and share memories, bringing together our advertising experience and relationships with family history services.

Smarts

Smarts is a home automation solution that utilises the TV to provide an easy to install, certified and intuitive consumer experience.

The Success of Failure

Dai Evans. 20 May 2016

Fail Fast, Fail Often has become somewhat of a mantra of late with startups and innovation in general. At the Sorenson Foundry we adopt a similar philosophy of Fail Early, but given the possible misinterpretation and negative connotations, it is something that needs explanation.

"If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again"

There is still some debate on where this saying originated, but as an overarching principle it is a good start. Most successful entrepreneurs have a collection of failures behind them, but they keep going and ultimately succeed. As an illustration there is a great story about Thomas Edison supposedly taking a 1,000 attempts at the first working light bulb prototype. When asked by a reporter: "How did it feel to fail a 1,000 times?", he responded: “I didn't fail 1,000 times, the light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

This is more about mental attitude and perseverance, since the issue of repeating the same mistakes over and over should be fairly obvious. A possibly more accurate quote is given by Maverick (the cowboy):

"If at first you don’t succeed, try something else"

Whilst a bit simplistic, the principle here is that if something fails, accept that failure. Learn from that failure. Make improvements. Try something else. Carry on.

This is the essence of the Lean build-measure-learn philosophy, but it also comes back to attitude. People don't like to fail. We have a genetic predisposition against it. In the worse case this results in us either hiding failure or denying it, perpetuating the problem and going down a rabbit hole. The key is being able to recognise and acknowledge when things aren't going right.

The other issue with our aversion to failure is being too scared to take a risk in the first place. The prevailing wind is that great success depends on great risk, so it logically follows that small success depends on small risk. As such there is always risk, it is just a matter of scale... and with this risk there will always inevitably be some failures.

You'll often hear entrepreneurs say that they've learnt more from their failures than their successes. I'm not so sure if that is strictly true. I've got my fair share of failures behind me (trying to steer Blockbuster towards streaming services being towards the top) and whilst I have learnt from each, I wouldn't say I've necessary learnt more from a business perspective than the successes. What I did learn though is resilience. The ability to accept risk and the failure that sometimes follows. The ability to learn from that failure and adapt.

This is an attitude that is fundamental to any startup, and as a little side thought, I believe there is also a geographical and cultural bias towards this attitude. Operating out of both Cardiff and Salt Lake City, the Sorenson Foundry is active in the startup communities of both Wales and Utah. Both have a similar population (around 3m), a similar number of universities, similar GDP and a similar pool of talent. Utah, however, has a far higher number of technology start-ups than Wales. Why? Actually there are a number of reasons (which I'll address in another article) and this is by no means towards the top, but there is definitely a difference in mentality. Wales has less entrepreneurs that are prepared to take that risk.

Having accepted that risk and the inevitable failures, we're now back to failing early. The misinterpretation here is to think that we're somehow advocating or glorifying mistakes and errors. We're not. We're aiming for success, but we must identify problems as soon as possible and adapt. If we can't adapt or the cost to adapt is too high, we either need to wait until the given market matures or shelve it. The key is being analytical and not to throw good money after bad. Maybe an even better quote to summarise this all up is by W. C. Fields

"If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it"




The Holy Trinity

Dai Evans. 12 May 2016

It is commonly accepted that most startups don’t fail because they lack a technical product, they fail because they lack the customers who want their product and a viable financial model. IDEO's human-centered design does a good job of representing this challenge by viewing solutions through the lenses of Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability. The aim being to create products that live at the intersection of the three.



  • Desirability - What do people desire?
  • Feasibility - What is technically feasible?
  • Viability - What can be financially viable?

If we're honest with ourselves we haven't always got this balance right. We've always had a very strong technical background, but this has sometimes slanted us towards building stuff that was cool or clever, rather than something the market actually needed. To mitigate this we now build our teams around three leads representing Design, Business and Technology. All have equal voice and whilst discussions have been known to get heated, between them it ensures the balance is maintained.



This balance also extents our our internal processes. What we refer to as the Formula is a framework of strategies, techniques, tools and methodologies that we have refined over the years, but importantly it includes a blend of Lean, Customer Driven Development and Agile. Each of which supports one of the three key aspects of any concept.



The "Holy Trinity" of Business, Design and Technology is at the core of everything the Foundry does, from the way we think and validate, to the way we structure teams and work... and even our logo. It is our fundamental belief.

Our offices

Sorenson Foundry is an international company with offices in Salt Lake City US and Cardiff UK. Sorenson Foundry core team is based Cardiff.

Salt Lake Office

Sorenson Media, Inc.
25 East Scenic Pointe Drive
Suite 100
Draper, Utah 84020
(801) 501-8650

Cardiff Office

Sorenson Media Ltd
2nd Floor, 5-7 Cathedral Road
Cardiff
CF11 9RH
02920 198092

New York City Office

404 5th Ave
4th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Amsterdam Office

Barbara Strozzilaan 201
1083 HN Amsterdam
The Netherlands