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Best of Bootstrapping: Alteryx Bootstrapped with Services to a Public Unicorn

Posted on Friday, Feb 21st 2020

Bootstrapping with Services is a tried and true strategy, including for building Unicorns. In our 2012 story, Alteryx CEO Dean Stoecker talks about raising a Series A with $10 million in the bank. Today, Alteryx is a $10+ billion market cap public company. Dean bootstrapped with services early on, and then raised VC money.

Dean A. Stoecker is chairman, CEO and founding partner of Alteryx, a leading software developer and a pioneer of agile business intelligence technology with analytics. Prior to Alteryx, Dean led business development efforts for Integration Technologies, a systems integrator, where he helped develop technology that automated the selection of cellular tower locations for telecommunications clients like AT&T. He also helped develop the first geo-coding engine tied to Experian’s real estate mainframe system, and he built a sophisticated flood certificate engine for a leading insurer. Dean also served as Vice President of sales at Strategic Mapping, and in various sales and strategic roles at Donnelly Marketing Information Services.

Sramana Mitra: Dean, let’s start at the beginning of your personal story. What is the context for your entrepreneurial journey? Where are you from?

Dean Stoecker: I grew up in a family business in Colorado. I would sit around the table every day and hear about the trials and excitements of owning a business. I went to school at the University of Colorado. I had the opportunity to travel the world through a program called Semester at Sea. That was where I got the idea that I wanted to have my own business. After I graduated, I moved to California and got involved in the information business.

I used to sell data printed on decks of cards. That was frustrating because I knew the value of content when it became ubiquitous. I quickly got into the software business because I knew it would democratize content and make it more readily accessible. Over the years, I upped the ante and kept trying to provide more sophisticated software at the places where I worked. After a couple of fruitless years trying to effect change, I struck out on my own.

My two business partners and co-founders also came from family-owned businesses. They were well aware of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into entrepreneurship. One of them was a woman whom I had worked with for several years. We complemented each other’s skills, and we knew that we would work well together. Our CTO Ned Harding was someone we found by fate. He had just left the company that I was contemplating joining. We saw eye to eye.

When you build partnerships, you take a great deal of care and time making sure you are on the same page in terms of growing a business and the ethics involved in getting there. We spent months getting to know each other to make sure we had the right team. We formed our LLC in 1997 and made money every single year.

Sramana Mitra: When you registered your LLC in 1997, what was the company vision?

Dean Stoecker: The original business plan was not a far shift from where we are today. Everything was an application service provider model, and now it is called a SaaS model. We set out to build tools that would allow customers to engage in strategic applications and conduct tactical execution against those strategies. There are so many pieces and parts to it. The fear of starting a business had set in place. We had overhead costs, so we started out as system integrators. We sold our services because we knew that it would help guide our efforts in terms of developing our products.

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
. 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
. RushOrderTees CEO Bootstraps to $23M
. Bootstrapping with Freemium and Free Trials to $13M
. Bootstrapping, Pivoting, Gaining Liquidity, Scaling to $100M+
. Bootstrapping with Affiliate Marketing
. Bootstrap to Exit, Bootstrap Again, Then Raise VC Money

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