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Bootstrapping to $20 Million with Intelligent Financial Engineering: Tim Hentschel, CEO of Hotelplanner.com (Part 7)

Posted on Tuesday, May 19th 2015

Sramana Mitra: Given that the market is $45 billion, there’s obviously a huge amount of head room to build a larger business here. Could you have grown a lot faster? Are there levers that you could push? I’m not saying that you should grow faster. I’m asking out of intellectual curiosity.

Tim Hentschel: There definitely is. If you gave me capital, I can spend it really quickly. You’re spending unlimited amounts of money when you’re trying to educate consumers especially on a worldwide basis. We’ve still got bootstrapping roots and are growing organically. It reflects in the growth that we continue to see.

We just surpassed two million registered group coordinators. That’s a good metric. We hit our first million in 2013. It only took us two years to hit our second million. We have a 70% net promoter score. As the number of people using us and liking us gets bigger, the word of mouth grows exponentially. We’re just hitting our stride.

We believe that we’ll be one of the primary distribution channels for the majority of that $45 billion market in the next five to ten years. Can we get there quicker if we spend more money? Yes, definitely. Will that happen gradually over time? I think yes. We know that we’re in a highly defensible market position right now. We’re not in a huge rush to raise equity because we don’t have a major competitor we need to push out of the market.

Sramana Mitra: Excellent. It’s a great story.

Tim Hentschel: I read your blog and it is fascinating. You have a lot of in-depth information there.

Sramana Mitra: We do a very in-depth coverage of building businesses. We support bootstrapping very heavily and we love entrepreneurs who are doing these capital-efficient businesses. I personally don’t like a lot of these valuations without revenue kinds of businesses much. Your story is wonderful. I enjoyed listening to you.

Tim Hentschel: When I was reading the blog, I couldn’t agree more that people think that the only validation to your company is funding. I think that’s one of the nice things of crowdfunding now. It’s giving people a chance to go directly to consumers because the ultimate validation to a product are customers.

Sramana Mitra: Our philosophy is entrepreneurship equals customers, revenues, and profits. Investors and funding are optional.

Tim Hentschel: Exactly. So many people look at it from the funding aspect primarily. It’s just wrong because it’s actually the worst thing for you. If you don’t have a workable business model or don’t make a dollar into a dollar and ten, equity money is just going to accelerate that flaw.

I think it was year two when we really felt like we were making money. At that point, it was very relaxing and exciting because I knew that it’s all upwards from there. In the Internet world, you can always find a distribution channel that you can work with in your metrics.

Sramana Mitra: Great. I look forward to keeping in touch. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Bootstrapping to $20 Million with Intelligent Financial Engineering: Tim Hentschel, CEO of Hotelplanner.com
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