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Best of Bootstrapping: Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado

Posted on Friday, Sep 6th 2019

Love and startups go hand in hand for AdCellerant Co-founders Brock Berry and Shelby Carlson, who are helping media companies generate seven-figure revenue streams.

Sramana Mitra: Whoever wants to start, let’s start at the very beginning of your personal journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Brock Berry: Thanks for having us. I’m the Founder and CEO of AdCellerant. I’m from Indiana where I grew up and spent the first 23 years of my life before I was compelled to move to Colorado where the weather is a little friendlier and there were a few more work opportunities.

I’ve been in Colorado now for 15 years and had several roles and responsibilities, including roles at the Denver Post and Media News Group. Most recently before AdCellerant, I was the SVP of Sales and Operations for an advertising and technology company called Adtaxi.

Sramana Mitra: What about you Shelby?

Shelby Carlson: I was actually born in Rhode Island. I also journeyed to Colorado with my family pretty early on. I went to Colorado State University. I’ve never left Colorado because it’s just fantastic here. I started my career dabbling in entrepreneurship.

I always found a hole that I thought needed to be filled. I had a couple of businesses prior to AdCellerant. I was actually working for the Denver Post selling advertising. Brock and I with two other partners started AdCellerant two and a half years ago.

Sramana Mitra: How did you meet?

Shelby Carlson: We both met at the Denver Post as colleagues and are now husband and wife.

Sramana Mitra: We actually have done several articles on couple entrepreneurs. It’s a series called Love and Startups. Tell me a bit about what triggered AdCellerant. What was going on in the industry? What did you see as the gap and what did you want to build when you started?

Brock Berry: When we both worked at Media News Group, we were helping run the technology for an advertising company called Adtaxi. Eight years ago, programmatic advertising was emerging rapidly, but most people were not very used to leveraging it to accomplish their goals in marketing. In the first three and a half years, we grew from zero to a business that was doing about $75 million a year with 86 employees. That growth rate was tremendous and really exciting.

Sramana Mitra: What period of time did you experience that growth rate in?

Brock Berry: We started in July of 2011. At that time, it was nine months old. It had done $700,000 in its first 10 months. In 2012, we took it from a million dollars to $25 million. Then we took it to $50 million in 2013. Then we were on track for about $75 million in 2014. That’s the path that we’re on.

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
. Wonderful Bootstrap with a Paycheck Story

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