6 bootstrapping strategies from CEOs who made it to $100M ARR

In the world of tech startups, bootstrapping has a special cachet. Bootstrapped companies that make it big—say, to $100M ARR—without relying on venture capital or angel investors are looked on with something like awe. (Note that relying is the key word here--some boostrappers may take VC money, but only after they don’t truly need it.)

The founders of such companies are the Yodas of the tech startup world, full of hard-won wisdom and quotable advice. They know what it takes to grow a company to profitability the hard way. Here are some concrete strategies the founders of MailChimp, Atlassian, and Tableau have used to maximize their margins and grow without VC.

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How to tell if an investor is a bad fit

Pitching investors and knocking on doors for growth capital is an all-consuming process. Not only does it require countless coffee meetings, tedious pitch deck revisions, and many hours away from running your business, but you’re in a vulnerable and emotional position. You need capital, and your business can only survive for so long without it.

While it’s tempting to want to partner with the first investors who says “Yes,” it’s critical to partner with the right investor. After all, these are people who you’ll be working with for at least the next five to seven years.

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5 ways to survive startup fundraising

Launching a business is hard, but fundraising may be the most brutal part of the process. Investors are cutthroat-hard on the startups they evaluate. Like customers, they’re looking for you to solve their problems. But unlike customers, they’re on the hook for writing a massive check. And they’re skittish and beyond critical in their search for confidence in their investment.

To top it off, fundraising sucks up massive amounts of your time. It puts you in a spin cycle where you’re running from one meeting to the next. You’re putting in hours of grueling work and blowing through your workday—and when all is said and done, your efforts may lead you nowhere.

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5 problems with traditional fundraising—and 1 solution

Raising capital is hard, even if your startup has high profit margins and strong growth. In the best-case scenario, you secure financing after a months-long marathon of wooing investors, talking to banks, and collating reams of paperwork. But more likely, your months of work will leave you empty-handed—even if you have concrete numbers to back up your business’s trajectory.

Competition for funding is intense—less than 1% of American companies ever receive VC funding. Even traditional bank loans, considered by many entrepreneurs a fallback option, are hard to get for companies working with intangible assets like software.

Here are five problems with raising capital the old-school way, and one solution that’s starting to gain traction among tech startups.

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Webinar recap: two ways to skip a VC round with alternative funding

On April 4th, Boast Capital hosted a webinar featuring their CEO, Lloyed Lobo, and Lighter Capital CEO BJ Lackland. They discussed how entrepreneurs can skip a round of VC funding—thus preserving equity and ownership—using two methods of alternative financing.

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BJ Lackland on getting the backing that best fits your startup

If you’re trying to raise money for your business, there are now many alternatives to VC funding, particularly for smaller tech companies. Our CEO BJ Lackland wrote a guest post on VentureBeat called "Smarter funding: How to get the backing that best fits your startup."

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Proving your startup’s growth potential

Fundraising is one of the toughest tasks you'll take on as a startup founder and entrepreneur. One way to make it easier is to line up the key components you need to tell a good story about your company's growth. Growth metrics are key to a successful pitch and story.

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How to open the door to capital: Lighter Capital’s guide for tech startups

You’re about to go knocking on doors to raise capital for your growing tech company, but do you know how to maximize your chances to unlock the deal you want?

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How to use financial projections to tell your growth story

All potential investors want to know where your business is headed and how their investment is going to help you get there. That’s why it’s important to present a set of attractive and realistic financial projections when raising capital.

When creating financial projections, approach it like you are telling a growth story about your business. Then back up the story by showing numbers and analysis through your financial statements. The individual income, expense and investment components come together through financial statements and metrics to illustrate where you’re going and what it will take to get there.

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From service to product company: hear from the experts on how to do it successfully

Our team just got back from Dreamforce 15 in San Francisco. At the conference, our CEO BJ Lackland participated in a session with Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross. Jason is the Partner of Storm Ventures, and founder of SaaStr. Aaron Ross is the author and Co-Founder of Predictable Revenue. Their discussion focused around funding and scaling SaaS businesses, and how to successfully transition from a service company to a product company.

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