Posted on Friday, Apr 3rd 2020
ButcherBox CEO Mike Salguero shares a fascinating story of a
subscription service for high-quality meat being delivered to consumer homes.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were
you born, raised, and in what kind of background? Mike Salguero: I
was born in Paraguay. I’m the youngest of four kids. My parents divorced when I
was six months old, and my mom moved up to western Massachusetts with her four
children. Sramana Mitra: I
went to Smith College, so I lived in Northampton. Mike Salguero: I
actually grew up in Williamsburg. Sramana Mitra: Why did she move there? Mike Salguero: My
mother’s father was Colombian. Her mother was from western Massachusetts. When
she got divorced, the only place where she had any sort of family was with her
mother’s parents. Sramana Mitra: Then what happened? How was your upbringing? What kind of things did you do that
leads up to this story? Mike Salguero: I
always had hard work instilled in me. I didn’t really have an allowance. I had
a paper route when I was 10 years old. I was always taught the value of working
hard and thinking creatively.
I went to boarding school for high school. Then I came to
Boston for school and have never left. In college, I studied in Mongolia. It
was my first foray into people who pasture-raise animals.
From there, I got into some entrepreneurial stuff right
away. I started selling these anti-George Bush t-shirts in 2004. We sold 17,000
T-shirts in four months. I just had this amazing experience of creating this
idea from scratch and breathing life into the brand and growing it.
That one experience just completely changed my goals and
what I wanted to accomplish in my life. I always assumed that the
entrepreneurial path would be the way to go. The experience of watching people
consume what I created was so cool. I focused on being an entrepreneur.
I did take a short detour. I spent three years working for
the man in a real estate company. I was getting my MBA at night. I was just
waiting and preparing for the moment when I could go out on my own.
I left the real estate gig in 2008 and started my first
company, which was called Custommade.com. It was a marketplace that connected
crafts people, mostly jewelers and furniture makers, to consumers. People would
go on and say, “I’m looking for a custom engagement ring.” They would get bids
from various makers and craftspeople. Then they would hire through the
Sramana Mitra: How did you get that started? Was that bootstrapped? Mike Salguero: My
co-founder and I bought the website off of the owner for $140,000. At that
time, we fronted $5,000 as a deposit to go into due diligence. Then we ran
around town with a logo and cellphone and raised money to be able to purchase
the website. Right away, we were non-bootstrapped. Sramana Mitra: How much did you raise? Mike Salguero: In
that round, we raised $500,000. A year later, we raised $1.2 million. Another
year later, we raised $1.9 million. Sramana Mitra: Who were these people who gave you $500,000 to buy this website? Why did they
give that money to you? Mike Salguero: The initial group was mostly clients of my co-founder. They were wealthy real
estate people. Sramana Mitra: These were people who knew you. Mike Salguero: Yes, this was right around the time when the economy was collapsing and Bernie
Madoff had just run off with a bunch of people’s money. Our pitch was something
like, “You can either leave your money in the stock market and lose 40%, or you
can give it to us.” A year later, we raised some more. After we had done two
rounds, then we had the real venture round.
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 . 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 . 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