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Best of Bootstrapping: How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck

Posted on Friday, Jun 21st 2019

Cedric’s story is a textbook case study of the kind of entrepreneur we want to see emerge and grow in every corner of the world: a solo entrepreneur who is a developer and a product guy capable of getting to validation while holding onto a day job. Today, FormAssembly CEO Cedric Savarese has almost 50 employees spread around the world, and while it maintains a small office of fewer than 10 people in Indiana, the bulk of the company has scaled as a virtual workforce. Excellent model, and I encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to read this carefully.

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?

Cedric Savarese: I was born in France and expatriated to the US. I grew up in a small town not so far from Paris.

Sramana Mitra: Were you educated in Paris?

Cedric Savarese: Yes. I did my university degree in Paris.

Sramana Mitra: What did you train in?

Cedric Savarese: I studied Computer Science. I have, roughly, the equivalent of a Masters degree in Computer Science.

Sramana Mitra: When did you finish your education?

Cedric Savarese: Around 1997.

Sramana Mitra: The Internet was in full swing at this point. What did you do when you came out of school?

Cedric Savarese: I worked as an IT engineer for a smaller company. We were in the information space. We were doing press reviews for Fortune 500 type companies. I helped set up the IT infrastructure and software.

Sramana Mitra: This went on for how long?

Cedric Savarese: That went on until 2001 when I worked for a startup that was started by my boss at that time. He had decided to do a startup. It was right in the heart of the first dot-com boom. We worked on something similar to what I’m doing right now. We were doing a lot of consumer surveys.

The whole idea behind this was to ask people to fill out surveys about their consumer habits. What kind of toothpaste were they using? Were they thinking of buying a car in the next six months. Then we turn around and sell that information to businesses. In exchange for filling out surveys, they could win prizes.

Sramana Mitra: How long did this go on?

Cedric Savarese: That went on for about a year. The company folded. I left and worked as a contractor for a large multinational.

Sramana Mitra: Then how long before you started this company?

Cedric Savarese: It took a few more years. I started this company in 2006. I worked for that multinational for about a year. Then I moved to the United States. In the States, I worked in higher education for a few more years.

Sramana Mitra: Doing what?

Cedric Savarese: Doing web development.

Sramana Mitra: What year did you start this company?

Cedric Savarese: I started in 2006.

Our conversation continues here.

This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping

. Bootstrapping to an Exit
. Why is Bootstrapping Important?
. How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently?
. Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings
. Excess is NOT Required for Success
. Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later
. Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies
. The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit
. Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping
. Bootstrapping to Unicorns
. Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million
. Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue
. Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million
. Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy
. How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million
. Bootstrapping with a Paycheck
. How CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan
. Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses
. How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million
. Bootstrapping with Services
. How The Intern Group CEO David Lloyd Bootstrapped to $13 Million
. How Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha Bootstrapped from Indiana
. How SmartBuyGlasses CEO David Menning Bootstrapped to $50 Million
. Death by Overfunding
. How RainmakerForce CEO Mack Sundaram Bootstrapped Decisively to $5 Million+
. How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck
. TimeSlips CEO Mitch Russo Bootstrapped to Exit with Sage
. The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance
. BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering
. Tremend CEO Marius Hanganu Bootstraps from Romania
. Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez Bootstraps to $10 Million
. SproutLoud CEO Bootstraps to $30 Million from Florida
. Tuft & Needle CEO Bootstraps to Over $100 Million
. Co-founders Bootstrap Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK
. Ownership Matters
. Vainu Co-founder Mikko Honkanen Bootstraps from Finland
. Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado
. Power2Motivate CEO Bootstraps to $80M from Canada
. Financial DNA CEO Bootstraps to $10M+ from Australia
. Big Barker CEO Bootstraps a Niche E-commerce Brand
. PrecisionLender CEO Bootstraps to Over $10M from North Carolina
. Master Bootstrappers with Over $1B in Exits
. Ultra Mobile Founder Bootstraps to Over $100 Million
. Bootstrapping a Two-Sided Marketplace to $10M
. Can You Bootstrap a Virtual Company to Over $5 Million?
. Capital Efficient Entrepreneurs Turn $1M into $80M
. Discussing the Journey Through Failure to Success
. From a Small Town to $12 Million
. Bootstrapping to Y Combinator and $10 Million Series A
. Bootstrapping a Marketplace to Over $10 Million
. Freightwise Bootstraps to $33 Million
. Bootstraps First to $5M ARR, Raises $10M Later
. Bootstraps in Europe, Raises Money and Goes Global in the US
. English Major Bootstraps a Tech Company
. Bootstraps with a Paycheck to $15M from Tennessee
. Queue-It Bootstraps from Denmark to the US
. Bootstrapping A Virtual Company To $25M
. ActiveCampaign CEO Bootstraps Using Services to $40M
. Alteryx Bootstrapped with Services to a Public Unicorn
. Inspyrus Bootstraps Using Services to an Awesome Business Model
. CEO Bootstraps Using Services to Millions from Russia
. Wiredrive CEO Bootstraps Using Services to $10M
. Scaling to Over $10M by Bootstrapping Using Services
. Bootstraps Using Services from Poland to a US SaaS Company
. ButcherBox CEO Bootstraps a Perishable Meat Business to Significant Scale
. Waveform CEO Bootstraps to $8M
. Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship from Estonia
. From Laid-off Engineer to Successful Startup CEO
. Imagine Easy Solutions CEO Bootstraps to Exit
. BannerBuzz CEO Bootstraps to $35M
. Bootstrapping a Virtual Company to Scale
. Bootstrapping Using Services from Wisconsin
. Best Tactic for B2B Startups
. Bootstrapping by Piggybacking from Romania
. Bootstrap First, Then Scale with VC Funds
. Bootstrap to +$10M First, Raise Money Later
. Madwire CEO Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later to $120M
. Bootstrap Using Services First, Raise Money Later

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