TOMORROW night, on Tuesday October 6, 2015 at 630pm I will moderate a panel on this subject for the IEEE Entrepreneurs’ Network (ENET) at the group’s Waltham location: Constant Contact, 1601 Trepalo Rd., 1st Floor, InnoLoft, Waltham, Massachusetts (Exit 28, I-95/Route 128).
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. 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, the 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. Also, 74% have financed their growth over the past three years largely through cash flow from operations. 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.
Apple, Google and HP all began in garages with free rent and we will hear from three experienced CEOs who have also built their business using bootstrapping techniques without VC or angel investment until they achieved important milestones and were well on their away. In some cases, they progressed all the way through to a successful acquisition exit without external funding.
Joanne Lang, Founder Colliders Accelerator, AboutOne, DivvyDo and Board Adviser to Flex-IT
One of Forbes Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch, Founder of Colliders Accelerator, AboutOne (the world’s only Family Management Cloud Platform) and a board adviser to Flex-IT (an “Uber for Tech contractors”), Joanne Lang writes and speaks regularly on topics including entrepreneurship, fundraising, business development, networking, and leveraging technology to simplify life and prepare for the future. She was featured in Microsoft’s documentary, CTRL+ALT+COMPETE. She’s a 2014 SmartCEO Voltage Award finalist, A Dell Founders Club Entrepreneur, and blogs for Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Women 2.0, and Region’s Business. Joanne was named one of Forbes Top Ten Female Entrepreneurs to Watch, and Philadelphia Magazine’s 20 Coolest Start-Ups Oct 2013. With the support of AWE [www.phillyawe.org] and Gartner, Joanne recently founded Colliders Accelerator, which offers a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs’ or large corporate innovation teams to receive the education, templates and contacts they need to refine and launch their business ideas.
Craig Bloem, Founder and CEO, LogoMix, Inc., www.logomix.com
Craig is an experienced serial entrepreneur focused on marketing and product strategy. He has over 10 years experience in marketing, business development and product management for developing internet businesses. From 2009 to 2011 her was co-Founder and CEO of Performable, a marketing software platform for businesses looking to optimize their marketing, sales and customer service efforts. Performable was acquired by Hubspot for a reported $20 million. Then, in 2011, Craig launched LogoMix to provide small businesses with easy-to-use tools to design and purchase identity products including logos, business cards, pens, polo shirts and other promotional products. Bootstrapped from the get-go, LogoMix has successfully scaled to reach more than 300,000 customers worldwide, and 25 million global users. Craig will relate his best techniques in successfully bootstrapping his companies. Craig is a graduate of Ithaca College, with a BS, Marketing and Management.
Dr. Neil Goldfine, Founder, JENTEK Sensors, Inc., http://www.jenteksensors.com
Dr. Neil Goldfine is the founder, president and chief engineer of JENTEK Sensors, Inc., an Engineering Science company with award winning products for non-destructive testing and structural health monitoring used on a wide variety of industrial, commercial, and government applications. For JENTEK, SBIR grants provided financial resources and infrastructure that have been critical to the company’s growth. The company now employs 27 and the SBIR programs have been credited with allowing the company to grow to critical mass in 10 years rather than 30 years. The program also allowed JENTEK direct access to DoD customers and their defined needs which has also been important to the company’s success. Neil will speak on the SBIR programs and related benefits to bootstrapping companies. Neil has a Ph.D. MIT (1990), M.S. MIT (1985) B.S.E.E. University of Penn, B.S.M.E. University of Penn. (1981), and also has to his credit over 50 patents, numerous publications and technical awards
Hopefully, these presentations on bootstrapping your startup company will be helpful to entrepreneurs in small and early stage companies I represent. Hope to see you at ENET’s Waltham meeting place, Constant Contact tomorrow night at 630pm!
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I remain active in ENET, a Waltham and Boston /Cambridge based group that aids entrepreneurs, small and early stage companies, and people who invest or work in those companies. I have been on the ENET Board since 2002, and served as Chairman since 2009, just re-elected in May to my fourth 2-year term as ENET Chair. During the period of my leadership, ENET’s annual program has grown from 10 meetings per year to 19 planned for 2015-16: 10 meetings in Waltham, 4 in Boston, 5 in Kendall Square Cambridge, plus our annual cruise of Boston Harbor to end the program year. Each meeting has three or more speakers on a subject of interest to entrepreneurs and company founders, in life science, tech and other areas of New England’s innovation economy.
On September 1, 2015, I was meeting organizer and moderator for the kick-off meeting to ENET’s 25th year. For that meeting in Waltham, our subject was “Giants of the Startup Community, Founders who made it Big, tell what’s Important”. It was a great evening for ENET where our founders of startup companies heard stories of entrepreneurial challenges, surprises, disappointments, victories and triumphs.
Our Speakers that evening were –
- Diane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, marketer and author. She is currently CEO of Startup Institute, https://www.startupinstitute.com/
Startup Institute is dedicated to helping people transform their careers and find jobs they love. Via SI’s programs, people gain the skills, mindset and networks to succeed in the exciting startup world. Since its inception only 2 years ago, over 1,000 students have gone through Startup Institute programs, in Boston, New York, London, Chicago & Berlin. She is also Chairman of C Space (formerly Communispace), www.cspace.com/ , where she was CEO for 13 years. A leading customer collaboration agency, Communispace was sold to Omnicom in 2011 and now has over 500 employees, and offices in over a dozen countries. Diane also co-authored the book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage, a Business Week best-seller, now published in 11 languages. Diane has received many honors, including the Most Admired CEO award and Boston Power 50 award from the Boston Business Journal, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year (National Finalist).
- Anthony DiPaolo is CEO, of Work ‘N Gear, a workwear and healthcare fashion retailer. http://www.workngear.com
Tony is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with over 30 years of experience in retail, manufacturing, product development, product sourcing and domestic and international sales. His company, Work ‘N Gear, is the largest retail chain in the United States specializing in the work apparel and footwear industry. Work ‘N Gear operates 40 retail stores throughout the Northeast and Midwest. In 1990, Tony acquired Herman Survivors from Stride Rite Corporation and increased sales from $8 million to $50 million before selling the company to Walmart in 2001. In 2002, Tony purchased Work ‘N Gear, which was in bankruptcy.
- Venkat Kolluri is co-founder of Chitika http://www.chitika.com and has served as President & CEO since the company’s inception.
Venkat oversees all of Chitika’s operations, including its strategic direction and product planning, as well as corporate development. Venkat also co-founded new, local, mobile, advertising company, Cidewalk, which was awarded “Recognition of Positive Impact on the Neighborhood and Local Economy”, by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2015. In 2009, Chitika won the Red Herring award as a Top 100 Global Finalist and in 2010 the DPAC Award as Finalist for Best Mobile Advertising Network Innovation. In 2011, Venkat received from TiE Boston the Crystal Award for a Charter Member who built his company from the ground up. In 2013, Chitika was named among the “Healthiest Employers” and received the Public Private Partnership award from the Westborough EDC. In 2014, named Website Magazine’s “Top 50 Digital Ad Brands to Know”. And in 2015, Venkat was nominated for the ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award..
I also arranged ENET’s last meeting of the 2014-2015 program year, our annual Sunset Networking Cruise of Boston Harbor on July 16, 2015. This cruise, our “EntrepreneurShip 2015” was also be joined by our partners MDG – Medical Development Group, IEEE Women In Engineering (WIE) and the EntreTech Forum. This was the 13th ENET summer networking cruise that I’ve arranged. 151 attended on a lovely evening with good food and company and great views of the sights of Boston Harbor and even Boston Light at the outer edge of the Harbor.
Also during the now ending 2014 – 2015 ENET program year, I organized and moderated three ENET meetings.
- April 21, 2015 – Building and Using Board of Directors and Boards of Advisors , that featured Jack Derby, Jean Hammond and Travis Conners (substitute for Jay Habegger who was called away on a family matter).
- February 3, 2015 – Founder Agreements and Stock Vesting – Building a Team, Protecting yourself, Managing expectations, , that featured Kartik Shah, Gail Hoffman, and me as third speaker (to substitute for Harry Glorikian who was called away for last minute Board meeting), with my co-organizer Stacey Arbetter as moderator.
- September 2, 2014 – “Entrepreneur Success Stories”, which featured successful entrepreneurs from different fields – high tech, consumer and life sciences. The three presentations for this 2014-2015 kickoff meeting were taped and you can view the tapes if you wish on the links below.
Additionally, in prior years, I’ve moderated and/or spoken at a number of ENET panel presentations, including presentations on the following subjects:
- “Raising Money from CrowdFunding” , May 2014 (moderator),
- ““Co-Founders and Core Team – finding them, protecting yourself, managing expectations”. February 2014 (moderator & speaker)
- “Ready, Set, Launch. Knowing when you’re ready & How to start a company” , September 2013 (moderator),
- “Online Finance and Crowd Funding” , April 2013 (moderator),
- “Bootstrapping 101: Alternative Ways to fund a Startup without an Angel or VC”, November 2012 (moderator)
- “Seed and Angel Financing” , October 2012 (moderator),
- “Getting Stuff for Free”, April 2012 (moderator),
- “Transforming Your Idea into a Successful Company”, September 2011 (speaker and moderator),
- “Get Going! Launching a Successful Business”, September 2010 (moderator),
- “Licensing Technology”, February 2010 (moderator),
- How to Select and Retain Management for your Startup Company”, February 8, 2008 (speaker and moderator)
- “Getting Initial Money to go from Nothing to Something”, October 2007 (speaker and moderator)
- “Strategic Alliances and Partnerships: to build, finance, and develop early stage companies”, November 2006 (speaker and moderator)
- “Building Boards of Advisors and Boards of Directors”, March 2006 (moderator)
- “Protecting Your Intellectual Property”, January 2006 (speaker)