Editor's note: Colorado has enticed all sorts of pioneers since its Wild West beginnings. We’re excited to highlight a handful of these trailblazers - the intrepid entrepreneurs, aspiring micro-brewers and ambitious thought leaders - who have helped create the adventurous and innovative culture the Centennial State is known for. Today, we hear from Brad Feld, Managing Partner at Foundry Group, a venture capital firm based in Boulder, Colorado. Join us next Wednesday for a Hangout on Air with Brad and fellow Techstars co-founder David Cohen to learn more about technology in the startup world.

What prompted you to start Foundry Group?
My partners and I started Foundry Group in 2007. We had previously worked together at Mobius Venture Capital and learned an enormous amount, both good and bad, from that experience. We built Foundry Group on a very clear strategy which included a set of deeply held beliefs centered around the power of networks and what we call “business love.” We treat each other with the utmost respect and truly like each other, and that attitude spills over to how we treat entrepreneurs and other investors. The firm is based in Boulder, Colorado but we’re national investors: 33% of our investments are in Colorado, 33% are in California, and the rest are made to organizations across the U.S.

When and why did Foundry Group decide to use Google Apps?
We switched to Google Apps in 2010 after spending the three years prior with a traditional environment grounded in Microsoft Outlook, Office and Exchange, with dedicated in-office servers. We had a heterogeneous computing environment -- some Macs and some PCs -- and the Mac users were definitely second class citizens with the Microsoft apps, while everyone suffered from disruptive email or server issues at least once a month. Meanwhile, we were using Gmail at home, and as most of our computing activities shifted to being Web-based, it was a natural evolution for us to go Google. As more Macs infiltrated our small 12-person office and the vast majority of the companies we invested in were on Google Apps, we felt incredibly anachronistic using a non-Google Apps environment. Switching was the obvious and smart decision.

How does Foundry Group use Google Apps?
Google Apps allows us to have truly continuous communication. We are incredibly aggressive Gmail users and are comfortable with the endless flow of internal email given the way conversation views work. In 2010, this was transformative for us, since we travel a lot and the ability to jump on any device from anywhere was infinitely more satisfying than the “sync my Microsoft email, connect to a VPN to access to files and wait as things grind away” experience we had gotten used to.

Does Google Apps cultivate a certain company culture?
We have an open culture and Google Apps plays a big role in maintaining transparency. Rather than meeting daily, for example, we run our entire business over one lunch on Mondays, and we use a single page on Google Sites to keep track of all the topics we discuss.

What are the most surprising benefits you've seen with Google Apps?
The continuous improvement of the actual products has been a great magic trick. We regularly discover a new Google Apps feature that quickly gets incorporated into everything we do. We each use various add-ins -- both to Chrome and specific apps -- and have found the third-party extension around the Google Apps infrastructure to be incredible. Several of the companies we’ve invested in, including Yesware and Spanning, are direct participants in this ecosystem, and it’s pretty awesome to see how it evolves.