Posted on Monday, Apr 19th 2021
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Dean A. Stoecker is Executive Chairman and founding partner of Alteryx, a leading software developer and a pioneer of agile business intelligence technology with analytics. We had this conversation in 2012 when Dean was CEO. 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: 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: 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 . 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 . 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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