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Best of Bootstrapping: Bootstrapping with Services to $20 Million

Posted on Friday, Nov 20th 2020

VisiQuate CEO Brian Robertson is a serial bootstrapper. In fact, he always bootstraps using services. Terrific entrepreneur to learn from.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of background did you have?

Brian Robertson: I’m from Northern California. We’re not in the heart of Silicon Valley, but up in Sonoma County. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but I was only there for two weeks. My dad was in the Navy. His family was from the Midwest and we were there for a short period.

We settled in Northern California when I was two or three years old. Other than college and some early career work, this is definitely home for me. I live in Santa Rosa, California. It’s also where our corporate headquarters is. I’m on the Russian River Valley side for the wine enthusiasts out there. It’s a good area.

It’s turned out to be a very good spot for business too, because we host a lot of leadership summits, client summits, and user groups. Every time I ask our clients, “We don’t always have to do this in Sonoma County. Would you like to go to Hilton Head or do something in Nashville?” When they fill out the comment cards, it always comes back to Sonoma County. 

Sramana Mitra: What did you do for education?

Brian Robertson: I went to San Diego State University and California State University, Stanislaus, in the Central Valley. That story is a unique one. Maybe it’s not unique considering how schools are impacted. I did most of my studies at San Diego State. I could get my final finance course.

I have a bachelor in Finance, Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance. I needed three classes and it would take me a few years at San Diego State even though I was in my senior year.

I was home for a family reunion where we had people in the Central Valley. They were a part of the CSU system and they had the same classes, so I finished at California State. I would say it was great, because I had family in the area and I met friends.

I immediately finished my bachelor’s work and got my master’s at Saint Mary’s College out here in Moraga, California, in health service administration. Some of the people that I was working with at the time were going through that program. Historically, it created a lot of hospital administrators, but at that time, it focused on managing care and capitation. A lot of things were happening in healthcare, and they broadened it so that it was a diverse curriculum around all things healthcare. 

Sramana Mitra: What year are talking about when you finished your masters?

Brian Robertson: 1995. 

Sramana Mitra: What happens when you came out of school?

Brian Robertson: When I came out of school, I was fortunate enough to work for a company that also supported my going to school. I worked full time and I did their nights and weekends program. I stayed on with them for a year after graduation.

In the program at Saint Mary’s, I met a CFO who was working for a large medical group in Northern California. They were acquiring multiple billing systems and they had to blend a lot of operational procedures and cultures. I took a job with them early on. I did that for a little while.

I decided that I didn’t want to be a nine-to-five worker. I created my own consulting company early on in my career called Impact Receivables Group. VisiQuate is my third company and Impact Receivables Group was my first one. I did revenue cycle consulting in healthcare. 

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
. Bootstrapping Using Services to $12M
. Bootstrapping an Ad Tech Company from Paris
. Bootstrapping a 100% Virtual Company from Ireland
. MiQ CEO Bootstraps with Services from London
. Bootstrapping to $8M During the Covid Crisis
. Bootstrapping a Marketplace from Brazil
. Bootstrapping Using Services from Sweden
. What Should Startups Do To Raise Seed Capital in 2021?
. EdTech Unicorn Bootstrapped First from Canada
. Coalition Technologies Co-founders Bootstrap to $10M
. Bootstrapping a Virtual Company to $10M from Atlanta
. Bootstrapping a SaaS Company with a Paycheck and Scaling
. Bootstrapping with Services to $20 Million

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