How does a little company with most of its engineering in Denmark compete with Box and Dropbox? Read the story of Soonr.
Sramana Mitra: What is the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey? Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What’s the back story of the entrepreneurship story?
Steven Boye: I’m a US-Danish citizen. I was born in 1962 in Denmark. My mother is American. I always had strong ties with Europe and America. I graduated as an engineer in electronics. I started in entrepreneurship shortly after that.
Sramana Mitra: Where did you do your studies? >>>
The Lean Startup methodology has created a frenzy to pivot. Entrepreneurs seek instant gratification, and when they don’t get it, they rush to pivot. The market is strewn with false negativities as a result, because entrepreneurs don’t have the patience to stay with a concept, develop it, and sell it.
ADARA is a counter-example that pivoted, but to an idea that took a lot of lengthy selling to gain ground.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background? >>>
Chuck has bootstrapped a security company using services all the way up to $35 million and has recently raised private equity capital to develop a platform product.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where did you grow up? What kind of background leads up to this story?
Chuck Bloomquist: I was born in El Paso, Texas. I spent most of my youth living in the Pacific Basin. After we moved out of Texas, we moved to Wake Island. Then, we went to Hawaii and lived there for a year or so. Then, we moved up to Alaska and the UK. I came back to Texas for college. I then migrated to Colorado.
Sramana Mitra: After college, you graduated to Colorado? >>>
I am quite bullish on SaaS solutions for the SMB market. Here’s one that is doing well.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s go back to the very beginning. Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Brandon Levey: I was born and raised in Michigan. My family has a long history of entrepreneurship—from my great grandparents to my dad and his siblings. I started driving to work with my dad when I was five years old. He would pay me $5 a day to just sit with him on certain weekdays to visit clients. I started working in his sheet metal shop on Saturdays when I was nine. I wasn’t allowed to use all of the tools because I was only nine. I started working full-time for him over the summers between eighth grade and ninth grade. I worked as a commercial installer. Before I could drive, he would drop me off and pick me up at six at night. He made sure that others didn’t treat me like the boss’ son, which was nice. >>>
We’re always impressed by entrepreneurs who manage to build sizeable companies without outside capital. Read how Cleverbridge has maneuvered to $40 million in revenue and doesn’t want to deal with venture capital and private equity.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of background?
Christian Blume: I was born in Cologne, Germany. I moved over to the US when I was seven years old. I stayed for two years in Detroit. Then, I moved back to Germany again for a couple of years. When I was 15, I moved to London and did my International Baccalaureate over there. Then I moved back to Germany again and did my apprenticeship as a car mechanic. I then went to study Economics and went to an asset management company based out of Frankfurt, which was addressing high net worth individuals who needed investment opportunities. >>>
Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint, usually! Persistence pays, as Henry’s story beautifully illustrates!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your story. Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of circumstances? What is the backstory to the Limeade story?
Henry Albrecht: I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. I’m the youngest of four boys. I think that probably says a lot about my personality, competitiveness, and desire to be heard. I had two wonderful parents who embodied the Midwestern work ethic. My dad was raised on a farm in Iowa. He was the man of the family at age 10 when his father passed away. He was driving a tractor before he could reach the pedals. He brought that into the way that we were raised, which was to work hard and be successful. As the youngest, I was always trying to beat my older brothers even though they beat me a lot more often than I beat them. >>>
Yet another case study of a services company successfully bootstrapping a product, then raising Venture Capital!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s begin at the beginning of your personal story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What’s the back story of your entrepreneurial story?
Bill Moschella: I was born and raised in Connecticut. I attended college at Berklee and eventually got my degree. What I was passionate about all of my life was music. I went to music school and graduated with a music degree. I left college playing music in a band and opened up a recording studio. I never really had a job. I was always playing music. I was running bands. I found that I had a passion for the engineering side of music so I opened up a recording studio. I took all the money that I saved up from gigs. >>>
The tried and true 1M/1M theme of Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later rings through Dave Elkington’s story. He used services to bootstrap a Unicorn that has since raised close to $140 million in VC funding. Revenue has scaled 100% year on year the last few years.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised, and in what kind of circumstances?
Dave Elkington: I grew up in Utah. I went to school here. My parents are both school teachers and worked for the state and federal government. It was a little bit atypical. My dad was a rancher growing up in Idaho. My mom is from Canada. When people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them I wanted to be a millionaire. They would ask why. I’d be like, “Not for the money, but purely for the sake of accomplishment of being able to do that.” I went to school locally. My education is a little bit eclectic. I have an undergraduate degree in Philosophy. I also have minors in Hebrew, Japanese History, and Business. I also studied, for about a year, in Israel. I decided I wanted to go get some >>>
Adding to our roster of Bootstrapping Using Services case studies, here’s PMG from Atlanta.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your personal journey. Tell us a bit about where you come from, where you were born and raised, and in what kind of background.
Robert Castles: I was born in Columbia, South Carolina. I spent the first half of my life there through to college. I have always been interested in technology as early as I can remember. When I was 11 years old, I begged my father for a Radio Shack Color Computer so that I could take it home and learn how to program. This is while all my friends were looking for baseball mitts, which I also like. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for that computer, which I got.
My dad then helped me get a job at 15 to write software for a small insurance company. I helped them out. They had a bunch of bad data and my job was to fix their data. I enjoyed that very much. It was a great opportunity. That set my life path moving forward. >>>
Josh March first built a digital marketing agency around social media before identifying the product opportunity for Conversocial.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your personal story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised, and in what kind of background?
Joshua March: I grew up in a relatively small town in England, a few hours outside of London. It’s called Malvern, Worcestershire. It’s famous for classical music composer Elgar. It has beautiful hills and countryside. It’s a lovely place to grow up but not completely exciting from a business perspective or the perspective of a 16-year-old.
I studied an undergrad law degree at college. I really wanted to be a barrister, which is a type of lawyer in England. That really attracted me. My family were lawyers and I was very interested in it. I didn’t really know anything particular about business. Entrepreneurship wasn’t part of my experience growing up. I went to college at Durham University. I was thinking I was on a pretty clear career path. >>>