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Can You Bootstrap a Unicorn Startup?

Posted on Monday, Feb 27th 2017

On the Edge of a Tafoni Cliff

Let’s say you have a great idea for a startup and you have the ambition of building a billion dollar company — a Unicorn. Should you look for investors?

Or should you bootstrap this idea to profitability? Is it even possible to bootstrap a Unicorn startup? Has anyone ever bootstrapped one?

I suggest you start by bootstrapping your idea.

That would give you options: you can either bootstrap all the way, or bootstrap first, validate, raise money later. Investors tend to chase validated businesses.

Here is an example of a bootstrapped Unicorn in this 56 second video. Investors have chased this entrepreneur for years and years and years.

If you prefer to read instead of watching a video, read these two case studies. Both of these startups have become billion dollar market cap companies since the stories were captured.

Built To Enjoy: eClinicalWorks CEO Girish Navani

Unicorn in the Making: Veeam CEO Ratmir Timashev

Entrepreneurs, especially first time entrepreneurs, can learn a lot from such case studies.

We had Girish as a guest at our roundtable. Here is the video of that session:

We also had Ratmir as a guest at our roundtable. Here is the video of that session:

Another thing that could help is an experienced mentor who has seen many different Unicorn scenarios, a mentor who can anticipate what can go wrong and help you avert major break downs. Try to get an experienced mentor, if you can.

If you don’t have such a relationship, you can talk to me.

What matters is that you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have the ambition to build a Unicorn, you are willing to bootstrap it, and you have the tenacity to put in a lot of work.

To learn. To strategize. To execute.

Photo credit: Orin Zebest/


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