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.
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
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.
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 More »» . 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 . 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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 . 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Discussing the Evolution of the Indian Startup Industry with Sasha Mirchandani, Kae Capital . Lean Company Bootstraps to $7M . Saatva Co-founder Bootstrapped a $25M E-Commerce Company . Looking at Terms with Heidi Roizen of Threshold Ventures . ADDA Co-founder CEO Bootstrapped with a Paycheck in India . Duda Co-founders Bootstrap with Paychecks . The Importance of Building Value with Shomit Ghose, Onset Ventures . Get Real Health Founder Bootstrapped Using Services . Bootstrapping Unique Vintage Using a Paycheck . Discussing E-commerce Startup Trends with Daniel Gulati, Forecast Fund . Bootstrapping a Digital Startup with a Paycheck . Discussing Seed Stages with Amir Banifatemi of K5 Ventures . Bootstrapping Avelead Using Services from Atlanta . Founder Bootstrapped a Big Data Company Using Services . Discussing Future Unicorns with Warren Weiss, Foundation Capital . Founder Bootstrapped Axosoft with a Paycheck . Raised a Series A with $10 Million in the Bank . 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Bootstrapping Using Services and Scaling Using Content Marketing . Bootstrapped from London, Went Public and Scaled to $450M . Bootstrapped Credit Card Processing Business Payscape . Bootstrapped TEOCO to $175M with Services . InRule Was Bootstrapped Using Services