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Best of Bootstrapping: PrecisionLender CEO Bootstraps to Over $10M from North Carolina

Posted on Friday, Oct 4th 2019

CEO Carl Ryden and his co-founders have bootstrapped Precision Lender to over $10 million from North Carolina. This is a superb story, including how the company has formulated an AI agent, Andi.

Sramana Mitra: 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?

Carl Ryden: I was born in North Carolina. I grew up in eastern North Carolina in a little town called Goldsboro. Folks don’t know where that is. It’s about halfway between Raleigh and the coast. For folks who do know, I would later confess that I’m not really from Goldsboro. I’m from an area of a county that’s closest to Goldsboro, deep in the rural part of North Carolina.

I started working with computers when I was about 10 years old. I grew up in a single-parent household. Early in my life, we were not well off. I was a free-lunch kid at school. I had a knack and a gift for science and math. I was lucky enough to be admitted to a school here in North Carolina called the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, which is a public residential high school. I went there. I met an amazing set of people and the smartest folks I’ve ever been around in my life. It was a whole new world for me.

That changed the trajectory of my life. I ended up going to NC State for undergrad in Electrical Engineering. While I was there, I got a part-time job. I needed to pay the rent. I applied to Jiffy Lube, K-Mart, and IBM. Jiffy Lube never called back. K-Mart said they’d pay me minimum wage, which at that time was $4.25 an hour. I had to wear a K-Mart tie and go through two days of training. I accepted it.

The next day, IBM called me and said, “We’d like you to work on our programming for our manufacturing line. We’ll pay you $11 an hour.” It was a job I would work at nights and weekends. I got pulled over to a group at IBM. There was a guy there who had gone to the senior management at IBM and told them to make a notebook computer, which didn’t exist at that time. They told him, “We just spent a billion dollars to build this luggable suitcase thing.”

He ignored them and started putting folks in the corner of the warehouse to build it. Because I was an hourly employee, I could be snuck through the budget without much notice. We built the first notebook computer IBM ever created, which was called the PS Note and later turned into the Thinkpad brand. That guy who was my third-line manager was Tim Cook, who’s now the CEO of Apple.

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 Algo.ai 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

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