Therese Tucker, Founder and CEO of BlackLine, is a very successful female entrepreneur who followed our core philosophy of bootstrap first, raise money later. When I first met her in 2009, her company was in the $10 million revenue range. Subsequently, it has continued to grow at 50% CAGR year over year, and Therese raised private equity funding in 2013 to take liquidity for herself and her team. With annual recurring revenue in the $65 million range, and continued growth at 50%, $100 million revenue is not far in the horizon. And with that, the company’s valuation will easily touch unicorn levels.
In case you missed it, you can listen to the recording here:
During this week’s roundtable, our guest was Heidi Jannenga, Co-founder and President at WebPT, yet another scrappy entrepreneur who managed to bootstrap to over $1M ARR and THEN raised the first million in angel funding. Wonderful story!
As for pitches, up first Abhishek Chatrani from Chennai, India, pitched StreakHelmet, a smart helmet company that wants to prevent deaths caused by people riding without protection on two-wheelers in India. Noble cause, smart concept.
Next Sidharth Vijayan from San Francisco, CA, pitched Walleee, a personal finance management app focused on helping consumers save for specific personal agendas like travel, high-ticker purchases, milestone experiences, etc. Interesting idea. Very early stage.
Susan Mason, General Partner at Aligned Ventures, talks about the dysfunctions of the broader venture capital model, and what her firm is doing to address those. Excellent conversation, please listen.
Heidi Roizen, Operating Partner at DFJ, discusses her important article, “How to Build a Unicorn From Scratch – and Walk Away with Nothing,” and imparts crucial lessons to entrepreneurs on how to look at terms in a venture financing situation.
Heidi and her co-founder have bootstrapped WebPT to significant traction, then raised a small angel round. 2016 revenue was $40 million. The company has sold 51% stake to private equity and the founders have already experienced significant liquidity. Excellent story of a female entrepreneur who doesn’t make excuses. She just executes.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Heidi Jannenga: I was born in Texas to two immigrant parents. My dad immigrated from Austria and my mom is a first-generation American born in Hawaii. She’s Japanese. We moved to Winter Park, Florida when I was six years old. I was a multi-sport athlete in high school. I ended up playing basketball in college at UC Davis in Northern California. I injured my knee in my junior year. >>>
Ann Winblad, Co-founder of Hummer Winblad, is one of the most successful women VCs in our industry, and as I mentioned in my introduction, I have never heard her whining about bias against women. One of the most encouraging things she discussed today is how her firm is sourcing interesting ventures from all over the world, not just Silicon Valley. Mulesoft, one of their hot portfolio companies, had its CEO based in Malta, originally!
There is a myth in the startup eco-system that women entrepreneurs do not build billion dollar companies.
This is a MYTH.
Watch this inspiring 1 minute 33 second video of how Therese Tucker did build one:
In case you missed it, you can listen to this roundtable here:
During this week’s roundtable, our guest was Janet Kosloff, Co-Founder and CEO, InCrowd. Janet has bootstrapped her company, then raised about $2.5 million in funding and will hit $10 million in revenue in 2016. She shared insights from her journey.
As for the pitches, first up was Andy Williams from Nairobi, Kenya, pitching Nobeah, a marketplace for African entrepreneurs to connect with VCs, angels, impact investors, etc. It feels like a social good type of agenda, which is not always consistent with investor returns, so the core focus of the marketplace needs to be defined more precisely.
Then, Manisha Kad from Pune, India, pitched Saadh. Manisha’s core competency is embedded system software development, especially in the domain of sensors. She needs to focus her service business in that domain very precisely, and learn the methodology of how to build a business.