Bootstrapping · Networking

Are there any Bay Area groups for startups who plan to grow on revenue rather than capital?

Elizabeth Charnock CEO at Chenope

October 1st, 2014

If your plan is to build up a real, profitable business and then determine what to do with it (e.g. take capital, sell it, continue with organic growth,) you face a very different set of issues than if you go the standard venture route. For example, finding local bank that will provide a not insanely expensive receivables-based line of credit without a personal guarantee. Or accountants who will give a reasonable price for filing tax returns in multiple states (since state tax obligations accrue with revenue, not just payroll.) Or perversely a landlord who wants to rent to you, even if you have a 8-figure, profitable business. And so on.

I started and ran a company in the Bay Area for 12 years this way, but during all this time I rarely found others who were pursuing this path. I am just starting another such venture, and want to take the opportunity to re-evaluate my prior choices. So I am wondering if there are groups of like-minded people out there that I was just too busy to see before. Any pointers greatly appreciated.


October 2nd, 2014

I'm following similar path right now.
I agree - many fresh startups are chasing VC/Angel money, rather than chasing customers, pre-sales and organic growth. The Bay Area offers a lot of capital, but these days you don't need much to start a new venture - depending on the industry.

I'm running weekly Solo Entrepreneurs Standup - East Bay. And we mostly do networking with entrepreneurs who are bootstraping and lifestyle revenue before scaling.

In comparison to "build fast - sell fast", this is a slower growth path, and it's not for everybody.
But it feels like you spend more time with your target customers (rather than VCs), learn from them, iterate faster and go deeper.

If you don't want to be influenced/controlled by VCs/Angels - this is a good path. Besides, most of the time they would not be interested in ventures that are not targeting "hot" trends. For example, you probably don't want to talk to VCs if you want to build order automation systems for plumbers or maids.

I'd be interested to participate in any further discussion.

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

October 2nd, 2014

This FD:Discus thread talks about this