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 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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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 . HighQ was Bootstrapped Using Services from London . Ingenious Med was Bootstrapped with a Paycheck from Atlanta . Bootstrapped VistaVu to $10M from Canada . OnSIP CEO Mike Oeth Bootstrapped in Pennsylvania . Pramata Founder Bootstrapped in Minnesota . Conversocial was Bootstrapped Using Services from London . Zephyr Health Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later . iText was Bootstrapped from Belgium . CTO Bootstrapped InteliSecure Using Services from Colorado . Bootstrapping Evariant Using Services . Dave Elkington Bootstrapped Billion Dollar Unicorn InsideSales.com Using Services from Utah . PMG Founders Bootstrapped Using Services from Atlanta . Ensighten Founder Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later . 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Bay Dynamics Co-founders Bootstrapped Using Services . Building an AI Software Company from Dallas . RJMetrics Co-founders Bootstrapped First, Raised $22M Later . Bootstrapping Niche E-Commerce Business BuyAutoParts to Exit . TemplateMonster was Bootstrapped to $15 Million . Bootstrapping Edge Hosting to $18 Million . Bootstrapping, Fund Raising and Exiting with Sefaira . Bootstrapping IdeaScale to $5M from Scratch . Bootstrapping to $10M from Finland . Happy Grasshopper CEO Dan Stewart Bootstrapped to Inflection . Bootstrapping Gravity Pro Using Services . Founder Builds Multiple Bootstrapped Education Software Companies . Bootstrapping to $10M from Australia, Raising $25M from the US . Bootstrapped Y Soft to $30M from the Czech Republic . Bootstrapped from Belarus, Raised Money from Silicon Valley . Bootstrapped SproutLoud to $30M from Florida . Bootstrapped 2600Hz Using Services . A Serial Bootstrapping Entrepreneur’s Journey . 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Bootstrapped and Later Raised Money from Oregon . Bootstrapping Evenica by Piggybacking . Bootstrapping a Vertical CRM Product using Services . Bootstrapping Using Services from Helsinki, Finland . Solo Entrepreneur Bootstraps First, Raises Money Later in Utah . Art.com Co-founder on Bootstrapping First, Raising $30M Later . Bootstrapping to Exit . Why is Bootstrapping So Important? . How Can You Play the Low-Probability Game of Start-up Funding Intelligently? . Don’t Go to VCs as Beggars – Go as Kings! . Excess is NOT a Requirement for Success . Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later . More Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies . The Buy Side of Bootstrap to Exit Startups . Blitzscaling versus Bootstrapping . Bootstrapped Unicorns . Bootstrapped from Arizona to $10M . Bootstrapping Under30Experiences to $5M . Bootstrapping Algo.ai with Services from Michigan . Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Startups . Bootstrapping a Niche E-commerce Company to $20M . Bootstrap Using Services . Bootstrapping The Intern Group to $13M . Bootstrapping OnBoard from the US Midwest . Bootstrapping SmartBuyGlasses to $50M . Startup Deaths by Overfunding . Bootstrapping RainmakerForce Decisively to $5M+ . Bootstrapping a Virtual Company with a Paycheck . The Entrepreneur - VC Compensation Disbalance