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Best of Bootstrapping: BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering

Posted on Friday, Jul 12th 2019

BioConnect CEO Rob Douglas has built a thriving founder-financed business from Toronto using very sophisticated strategic maneuvering. I just loved discussing the strategic nuances of this business. You’ll learn a LOT from reading this story.

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?

Rob Douglas: I’m a Canadian. I was born just outside of Toronto. I have grown up in and around the city of Toronto. I’m married. I have two kids. Both of them are in their 20’s. I have spent most of my entrepreneurial life primarily focused on markets outside of Canada. US and EMEA have been primary markets over my career.

Sramana Mitra: Where did you do your education?

Rob Douglas: In Canada. I did a Business undergraduate course at McMaster University. I have attended the Queen’s University for the executive program partway through my career.

Sramana Mitra: What year did you come out of school?

Rob Douglas: I came out in 1985.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do after you graduated?

Rob Douglas: I managed to successfully complete a very long interview cycle. It took five months. I joined IBM.

Sramana Mitra: How long did you stay at IBM?

Rob Douglas: I was there for 10 years. I started in sales and moved into sales management and other management roles before I stepped down and left.

Sramana Mitra: What year did you finish your IBM career?

Rob Douglas: 1995.

Sramana Mitra: The Internet is already starting to become hot. What happens next in your journey?

Rob Douglas: I was in my ninth year at IBM when I attended a three-day career workshop. The deliverable of the workshop was to come up with a one-page summary of your motivational statement. On one page was a clear blueprint of who I am. That blueprint was what caused me to take every step of the journey I have taken since that time.

It caused me to leave IBM and to put all of my focus on learning from high-growth enterprise class software companies. I wanted to learn and participate with the best that Silicon Valley could offer. I joined Oracle. Oracle was getting into the software applications business, transitioning away from a database-only company. I wanted to go learn what it takes to scale enterprise-class software companies.

Sramana Mitra: How long was the Oracle stint?

Rob Douglas: I was at Oracle for about three years. I’m driven by hyper-growth. I’m driven by wanting to make a contribution to this world. The next step on that journey was I found on Gartner Magic Quadrant a new emerging market called salesforce automation. There’s a company called Siebel Systems. I joined them when it was a very young company. I participated in the hyper growth of Siebel over about a three and a half year period.

Sramana Mitra: What years were you at Siebel?

Rob Douglas: I joined Siebel in about 1998 and left in approximately 2001. At the end of the 1900’s, Siebel was written up by Harvard as the fastest-growing tech company in the history of technology.

Sramana Mitra: Siebel was a very successful company. At our weekly roundtable, we had Bruce Cleveland who was one of the earliest Siebel executives.

Rob Douglas: Yes, I know Bruce.

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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