Trends #0019 โ€” Bootstrap Funds

๐Ÿ” Problem

Startup founders struggle to find smart, aligned advisors. And sometimes capital.

Venture capital funds provide capital and advice. But they expect billion dollar exits.

๐Ÿ’ก Solution

Bootstrap funds can thrive without billion-dollar exits.

VCs depend on outliers. They are known to invest pre-revenue, pre-product or even pre-idea. Most of these investments fail or break even.

Bootstrap funds lower risk by investing in startups post-revenue. They offer an option to non-unicorns.

๐Ÿ Players

Bootstrap Funds

Portfolio Companies


๐Ÿ”ฎ Predictions

  • Bootstrap funds will invest in newsletterscommunities and coursesPodfund invests in podcasts.
  • The quality of advisor networks will make (or break) bootstrap funds. Founders pay more (for capital) to access to these experts.
  • Funds will use APIs to vet financials and spend more time vetting teams.

โ˜๏ธ Opportunities

โ˜๏ธ Guest Insights

Based on insights from LATKA: Top SaaS Companies โ€” โ€œWhat VCs say about bootstrapped companies.โ€œ

โ€œYouโ€™re growing too slow!โ€ (Growth)

PlusThis โ€œonlyโ€ grew from $1.98m in 2018 to $2.18m in 2019. VCs wanted more growth.

โ€œYou have too many big competitors.โ€ (Fragmentation)

QuestionPro is โ€œjustโ€ a survey tool for B2B companies. They have no real moat and major competitors like $8b Qualtrics. The founder doesnโ€™t seem to mind. The company broke $25m in revenues and $3m in cash profits in 2019.

โ€œYou do too much professional services.โ€ (Scalability) was passed over by the VC world because 50% of their revenue is โ€œlow marginโ€ professional services. What folks seem to miss is that customers who pay extra for services tend to stick longer! The company is doing $2m per year, 50% pure SaaS and 50% productized services. 

๐Ÿ˜  Haters

โ€œBootstrap funds?! Thatโ€™s an oxymoron.โ€
Whatโ€™s life without a little cognitive dissonance? Roll with it.

โ€œThese companies have traction. They should not give up equity.โ€
Some founders beg to differ. They can find cheaper, non-dilutive capital but opt for bootstrap funds instead.

โ€œGiving founders equity in the fund is stupid.โ€
Is it? Investors hedge risk but founders donโ€™t. This makes them more likely to help your portfolio companies. Syndicates may be a better option for founders. See Opportunities in angel investing.

๐Ÿ”— Links

  1. General Partner of Earnest Capital โ€” Tyler Tringas explains why bootstrap and venture models are necessary.
  2. Bootstrapping Your Startup to Acquisition โ€” Einar Vollset explains why TinySeed is bullish on B2B SaaS.
  3. Trends #0018 โ€” Angel Investing โ€” A look at venture scale startups. Invert to learn.
  4. The Alternative Funding Options For SaaS Start-ups Cheat Sheet โ€” Geoff Roberts shares non-traditional ways to raise capital.

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