Bootstrapping 101: Building without a VC or Angel: Nov.5, 2013

Bootstrapping 101: Alternative Ways to build a Startup without an Angel or VC:  November 5, 2013 

Next month, on Tuesday November 5, 2013 at 7pm, , the IEEE Entrepreneurs’ Network (ENET) will present a panel on this subject for at the group’s new Waltham location:  Constant Contact, 1601 Trepalo Rd., 3rd Floor, The Great Room, Waltham, Massachusetts (Exit 28, I-95/Route 128).   Below is the article on this presentation based on the article I wrote for publication in the IEEE Reflector.


Entrepreneurs often think that the only way to grow their business is to raise capital from VCs or angel investors.  While outside capital can fuel growth, it also carries a considerable cost in terms of time expended, loss of equity and loss of control which can and often is avoided by most entrepreneurs. Surveys indicate that for the year ended, 2011, of the 543,000 new business created in the U.S., only 29,626 (that is, only 5%) received VC or angel investor funding at the seed or early stage startup phase. And for many companies lack of VC or angel investment did not impede growth. In August 2012, Inc. Magazine published its list of the 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the U.S., and 77% of the founders of those companies set up using only their own personal savings, with two thirds needing less than $100,000 to get started.  And while 34% stated that access to external capital has been essential for growth, 42% have not utilized external funding in developing their business. 74% have financed their growth over the past three years largely through cash flow from operations. Apple, Google and HP all began in garages with free rent. So, how do you do it?  In a word – Bootstrapping.  That is – using your own resources and effectively managing your cash flow to internally generate the funds that you need to operate your startup business.

Our speakers include an attorney who will show you how to leverage funding from the SBIR program and two experienced CEOs who have also built their business by bootstrapping without VC or angel investment until they achieved important milestones and were well on their away, and one case which leveraged a strategic partnership all the way through to the successful acquisition exit.

Speakers for the ENET event “Bootstapping 101” on November 5, 2013 are:

  • Nick Dougherty is the CEO and co-founder of Verbal Applications Inc.,
  • Jesse Erlich is a Partner at Burns & Levinson, LLP, in Boston.
  • Foster Hinshaw, CEO and Founder, Dataupia,
  • Michael S. Chester, President, International Manufacturing Consultants, – moderator

For more information on, or to register for, this November 5, 2013 ENET event, LINK:


This should be a great night for ENET!  I moderated a panel on this subject for ENET in November 2012 with the following speakers –

  • Karl Büttner, Chief Mentorship Officer, with the startup accelerator program and competition Mass Challenge,  ,
  • Barry Morris, CEO, NuoDB Inc.,, a 21st century database that addresses the challenge of web-scale applications for the cloud.
  • Erica Zidel, founder and CEO of Sitting Around, , an online community that makes it easy for parents to find and coordinate babysitting co-ops in their neighborhoods.


If you would like to see slides from our speakers that night last year, LINK:


Hopefully, this year’s ENET evening on “Bootstrapping 101”  will also be quite helpful to entrepreneurs in small and early stage companies I represent.  Hope to see you at our new ENET meeting place, Constant Contact on November 5!


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Additionally, in preparation for this meeting, you can also see my slides from an ENET presentation several years ago where I moderated and spoke – “Getting Initial Funding – Taking Your Company From Zero To Something. My presentation discussed:

  • Non-VC cash sources:  loans, SBIR-STTR, Mass. & local agency programs.
  • Commercial sources of revenue from customers, suppliers, from strategic alliances and product and application licensing,
  • Bootstrapping strategies to manage cash flow, delay payments, avoid fixed commitments to preserve cash in the company.
  • Non-cash and thrifty techniques to add value to the enterprise, including cost effective ways to build management, build a board, gain technology and protect with IP “on a shoestring”,  and
  • Tending to the needs of founders including maintaining outside revenue streams to again make cash go as far as possible.   


For my slides, LINK:


Also, I earlier wrote an article published in Mass High Tech that discusses use of SBIR and STTR grants, requirements and strategy, “Federal Grants are an Overlooked Source for Bootstrapping Startups.”


For my Mass High Tech article, LINK:


If you are entrepreneur or engaged in a startup or early stage company and need assistance of legal representation on contracts, initial funding or other matters,  please let me know.


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