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Best of Bootstrapping: Master Bootstrappers with Over $1B in Exits

Posted on Friday, Oct 11th 2019

There’s a GIGANTIC myth in the startup ecosystem. Go BIG or Go HOME! Raise GOBS of venture capital. Otherwise, you can’t build anything big. It’s GIGANTIC BS!

Watch this inspiring 2 minute 09 second video and learn how the Turakhia brothers have created over a billion dollars of personal wealth through significant exits without raising any venture capital:

Capital efficient ventures often end up creating a lot more money for entrepreneurs.

Bhavin Turakhia, CEO of Directi and Flock, and his brother Divyank have bootstrapped Directi, a portfolio of Internet businesses over the last ~20 years. In 2014, they had their first $160 million exit. In 2016, they had a second $900 million exit. It’s a very interesting story of masterful business acumen and disciplined fundamentals-driven execution. Not a penny of external financing involved, by the way.

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?

Bhavin Turakhia: I was born and raised in Mumbai. My parents are originally from there. I went to school there. In many ways, the seeds for my entrepreneurship career were largely sown there. I remember in 1989, I was in the sixth grade when the school installed their very first computer room. I’m talking about a time when there was no Internet. There was no Windows. It was just GWBasic and MS-DOS. It was love at first sight.

I had always been passionate about science, math, physics, and logical reasoning. This was a very natural extension. Programming became my biggest passion. I would spend several hours each day after school in the computer room. I would just spend all my time there. My father, who in many ways deserves credit for our success, instilled in us the value of reading a lot early on. We used to devour tons of different books.

In those three to four years, I went through about 40 to 50 programming books. I would teach the students in school advanced programming for several months. I became really passionate about computer science back then. Since then, one of my favorite genres is biographies. In many ways, the entrepreneurship bug also bit me back then. In early school days, from the time I was 10, I was fairly certain that I wanted to start my own company and that I wanted to do it in the tech space. That’s a quick background.

Sramana Mitra: Where did you do all your college?

Bhavin Turakhia: All in Mumbai. I had the goal of taking up Computer Science. Along the way, I decided that it wasn’t for me. I went through all the engineering curriculum and most of the stuff they were teaching, I had already done that on my own. I had already learned all of that and gone significantly beyond that. Then I switched from science to commerce.

My brother and I started our first business together. We were already doing consulting and setting up people’s networks in high school. We were enterprising and doing small amount of business. When I started my undergraduate, I started down the path of setting up businesses.

Sramana Mitra: What time-frame are we talking? What year did you finish high school?

Bhavin Turakhia: In 1994, I finished school. From 1995 to 1996, I was in high school. Then from 1996 to 1999, I did my undergraduate degree. My younger brother is two years younger so he was two years behind me.

Sramana Mitra: We are talking late 90’s. The Internet has happened but in India, it’s still very nascent and very little.

Bhavin Turakhia: Right after school when we were in high school, that’s when Internet, for the first time, became commercially available. Between 1994 to 1996, there was one ISP in the entire country. It was a government-owned company. They would sell Internet connectivity. That was just about the beginning. I used to have the 2,400 modems that would make funny sounds and would get disconnected every five minutes.

Our conversations continue 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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