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Blogosphere on Bootstrapping: Luke Timmerman

Posted on Saturday, Jan 23rd 2010

I have asked a number of reputed bloggers to send me their self-curated best posts on the topic of bootstrapping. Over the next few weeks, I will showcase some of what they have been sending me. We start with Luke Timmerman at Xconomy : Alder Rises From Ashes of Layoffs to Become Seattle Biotech Force:

The company, which is developing an antibody for rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, struck a deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb that brought in $85 million in upfront cash, as well as milestone payments that could be worth more than $1 billion over time. Alder’s lead antibody drug has completed a clinical trial of 120 patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

That’s impressive for any startup biotech, but it’s astonishing for a company that had zero support from venture capitalists in its first 20 months, and was essentially bootstrapped by the founders. Altogether, Alder’s four co-founders ran up $1 million of expenses from their personal savings, time, and credit cards to launch their company on its current trajectory. None of those four guys took a dime in salary for those initial 20 months, until the first big venture round arrived in August 2005.

At the roundtables, I keep telling entrepreneurs to bootstrap the early stages even if they raise money subsequently. In EJ2, this topic has been discussed at length. Luke’s story of Alder is another interesting case study of an exciting company that has bootstrapped effectively, and illustrates how bootstrapping and venture capital can happily coexist. That they are not mutually exclusive.

This segment is a part in the series : Blogosphere on Bootstrapping

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