Six tips for SaaS founders who don’t want VC money

Over the past decade, venture capital has become synonymous with entrepreneurship. Founders from around the world arrive in Silicon Valley with visions of record-setting A rounds and billion-dollar valuations. But what if you don’t have unicorn dreams – or you don’t want to pursue VC money?

Bootstrapping a SaaS company is not only possible – I believe it’s a saner, more sustainable way to build and scale a business. To be clear, bootstrapping isn’t always easy. It requires patience and focus, but the freedom to create a meaningful product, on your terms, is worth more than even the biggest VC check.

I started my company, JotForm, in 2006. We’ve grown steadily from a simple web tool into a product that serves more than 8 million users – without taking a dime in outside funding. We’re profitable in an industry with big-name competitors like Google.

Most importantly, I still love this company and its mission, and I want the same for my fellow entrepreneurs. If you’re a SaaS founder who’s wary of VC funding, here are my best bootstrapping tips.

Keep your day job

Success stories from founders who leap blindly into business without resources or relevant experience are compelling, but they’re the exception, not the rule. Working inside another organization can build your skills, your network, and even inspire great product ideas.

After finishing college with a computer science degree, I worked as a developer for a New York media company. The editors always needed custom web forms, which were tedious and time-consuming to build. I kept thinking, “There has to be a better way.”

That daily frustration led me to start JotForm – but I didn’t leave my job right away. I stayed with the media firm for five years and worked on my product on the side. By the time I was ready to go all-in, I had the confidence, experience and savings I needed.

Many of the world’s biggest companies began as side projects, including Twitter, Craigslist, Slack, Instagram, Trello, and a little venture called Apple. If your day job doesn’t pay enough to fund the early stages of your business, consider a side gig or consulting work. There are so many ways to set yourself up for success without the pressure of VC cash or selling a chunk of your business.

Know you’re not alone

The exact numbers shift every year, but data compiled by Fundable show that only 0.05 percent of U.S. startups are backed by VCs. Another 0.91 percent are funded by angel investors. The vast majority, at 57 percent, are funded by credit and personal loans, while 38 percent get funding from friends and family.

It may feel like most founders raise multi-million-dollar rounds, but that’s simply not the case. It’s also good to remember that securing VC money is complicated and time-consuming. You can spend months taking meetings and presenting the perfect deck – and still leave empty-handed. Be patient and stick to your own path.

Measure profits, not popularity

SaaS founders often emphasize vanity metrics, like user acquisitions and total downloads. These numbers can measure short-term popularity, but they don’t reveal how users and customers feel about your product – or your long-term potential.

Startups – TechCrunch

Acquihires: Founders like or no like?

Hi wise people of startups,

As the title says: As a founder, what's your take on your venture and team getting acquihired?

My situation one time was I really respected the team I was part of, but try as we might, our product was a flop. So, instead of keep trying solo, we got ourselves acquired into a larger venture in a related space. Everyone kept their jobs, and overall did OK. … but we still have s lingering "what if" feeling about it all.

I am curious about your personal take on these issues

a. Why would you get acqui-hired instead of just resigning and joining as an employee, chaqu'un pour soi, at different companies? Do you think financially an acquihire is a better option?

b. Why would the acquirer consider an acquihire over traditional recruitment? I get that they get a readymade bundle of talent in 1 go, but what if not everyone is a perfect fit for open roles?

c. Your own acquihire journeys, how did they come about? did you proactively seek an acquirer or did you get approached directly by the acquirer or through someone else?

.. any interesting anecdotes, horror stories? 😛

SO. Getting acquihired. You likey or no likey your acquihire experience?:)

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Hear from Black Female Founders, Latinx founders, StartOut and Socos Labs next week at TC Sessions: Justice 2021

We’re less than a week away from TC Sessions: Justice 2021, a deep, day-long exploration of diversity, inclusion and equity in tech. On Wednesday, March 3, leading experts, founders and social justice warriors will discuss topics ranging from systemic bias, essential workers’ rights and formerly incarcerated people to accountability in social media and funding for underrepresented communities. And that’s just for starters.

Pause for a cause: Tickets to this event are just $ 5 — we want as many diverse voices at the table as possible. Secure your seat at this event today and join this essential conversation.

In addition to panel discussions and workshops (you’ll find the agenda here), don’t miss the smaller breakout sessions where you’ll have more opportunity to ask questions and share specific challenges with our speakers, editors and each other.

The smaller breakouts at every TC Sessions — regardless of their focus — lend themselves to deeper conversations, as noted by Karin Maake, senior director of communications at FlashParking, who attended TC Sessions: Mobility.

I enjoyed the big marquee speakers, but it was the individual presentations where you really started to get into the meat of the conversation.

There’s no shortage of fascinating presentations, but be sure to leave room in your day to dig a little deeper into these breakout sessions waiting for you at TC Sessions: Justice 2021.

Black Female Unicorns in the Making: With all of the economic and racial disparities that have become so pronounced, this timely session will unpack the skills, tools and networks required along every stage of this journey. We will also share insights on what role policy, philanthropy and civic organizations might play in helping to address the systemic challenges, roadblocks and obstacles that have historically served as barriers. Brought to you by Black Female Founders.

Latinx Founders Leading with Inclusion: Hear from Latinx founders who are leading with inclusion through diverse teams and/or supporting a diverse mission. Inclusion is a part of their DNA. Featuring William Falcon (Grid.ai), Fanny Grande and Nelson Grande (Avenida), Martha Hernandez (madeBOS), Jesse Martinez (Latinx Startup Alliance) and Federico Von Son (SOMOS). Brought to you by Latinx Founders Alliance.

The Impact of Out LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs: StartOut and Socos Lab are excited to speak at TechCrunch Justice, and cover the Inclusion Impact Indexes. Its first iteration; the StartOut Pride Economic Impact Index, quantifies the economic value of under-utilized LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. The project looks at entrepreneurs’ economic impact in terms of job creation, patents, financings and exits in the U.S. Our agenda will be a brief introduction, a demo of the index and its current findings, and a Q&A discussion with the publishers of the index. Featuring Sarah Burgaud and Jessica Chin Foo (StartOut), and Dr. Vivienne Ming (Socos Labs). Brought to you by StartOut.

TC Include Founders Pitch Feedback Session: Join us for a pitch feedback session open to all startups exhibiting at TC Sessions: Justice 2021 moderated by TechCrunch staff.

Add your voice to the essential conversations taking place on March 3. Reserve your seat today and learn how to build a more diverse and just tech industry at TC Sessions: Justice 2021.

Startups – TechCrunch

Meet the LatinX Startup Alliance and Startout founders from TC Include at TC Sessions: Justice 2021 – TechCrunch

Meet the LatinX Startup Alliance and Startout founders from TC Include at TC Sessions: Justice 2021  TechCrunch
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

From food delivery to housing: Former Favor founders raise millions for Sunroom Rentals

Real estate tech startup Sunroom Rentals, which leases units on behalf of property managers and apartment owners, has raised $ 11 million in a Series A round of funding led by Gigafund.

Ben Doherty and Zachary Maurais, former founders of the delivery app Favor, launched Sunroom in May 2018 with the mission of “boosting the profitability” of mid-size property managers and apartment owners by giving them a way to outsource their leasing operations.

The pair sold Favor to Texas grocer H-E-B in 2018 and soon after shifted their focus on building out Sunroom. The Austin-based company has developed an app that it says gives renters a way to tour, apply for and lease a unit “entirely online.” COVID-19 has led to more renters wanting virtual ways to explore and secure rental units. Mobile-first, Maurais noted, is particularly appealing to millennials and Gen Zers.

“Personally, we love to create products that fulfill consumer’s most basic needs,” said Maurais, the company’s president. “With food under our belt, we decided to focus on housing.”

While one might wonder what the parallels between food delivery and housing might be beyond fulfilling consumers’ needs, CEO Doherty said the rental market in 2021 looks a lot like the food delivery market in 2013.

“In 2013, Grubhub had successfully put many restaurant menus online, but most of the transactions and delivery process was still offline,” he told TechCrunch. “We’re in a similar position with the rental market, as the majority of rental listings are online, but touring, applying or leasing units is still done offline.”

Since its launch, Sunroom Rentals has signed more than 2,000 leases and had over 100,000 renters sign up for its services in fast-growing Austin, where it focused its initial efforts.

“According to the U.S. Census, that represents roughly 10% of renters in the greater Austin metro,” Maurais said. “Instead of going shallow and wide nationally, we decided to go deep in markets, in an effort to gain network effects, which was a strategy that worked well for us at Favor.”

Sunroom Rentals claims that it’s leasing units five days faster than the market average. This benefits property managers, Doherty said, because they can grow quicker “while improving leasing performance.”

Looking ahead, the company will use the funding to expand across Texas, including in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. It will also invest in its partner portal, which aims to give owners and property managers a way to view real-time data on leasing performance.

Sunroom Rentals currently has 18 employees with the goal of more than doubling its headcount this year. It’s in particular looking to hire across its engineering, product and sales departments.

As mentioned above, Gigafund led the Series A financing, which included participation from NextGen Venture Partners, Calpoly Ventures and a slew of angel investors, including Gokul Rajaram (Google & Square) and Homeward’s Tim Heyl, among others. Existing backers include Founders Fund Seed, Draper Associates, Boost VC and Capital Factory (among many others). The round marked Sunroom’s first “priced” round, meaning the first time it’s given up stock.

Jonathan Basset, managing partner at NextGen Venture Partners, believes Sunroom was essentially in the right place at the right time and “on trend with touchless leasing even before COVID hit.”

“I watched them build a profitable consumer marketplace in a competitive market with Favor and was impressed with them as operators,” he said. “These businesses have a surprising amount of similarities and I’m confident they can rise to the challenge.

Last week, TechCrunch reported on the raise of another startup operating in this increasingly crowded space. Seattle-based Knock — a company that has developed tools to give property management companies a competitive edge — raised $ 20 million in a growth funding round led by Fifth Wall Ventures.

Knock’s goal is to provide CRM tools to modernize front office operations for these companies so they can do things like offer virtual tours and communicate with renters via text, email or social media from “a single conversation screen.” For renters, it offers an easier way to communicate and engage with landlords.

Maurais said the two differ in that Knock is a CRM built for leasing agents with a SAAS model where as Sunroom is a marketplace, where renters match, tour and apply with partnered properties.

“Sunroom also provides a suite of leasing & analytics software to its partners and generates both transactional and subscription revenues,” he added.

Startups – TechCrunch

EU-Startups Podcast / Episode 15: The status quo and future of sextech – with the founders of Emjoy and Beducated

From banishing taboos, to improving mental wellbeing and health education, perceptions of the sextech industry are changing. Offering evermore inclusive and holistic products, the European sextech startups of today are heading into unknown, but promising, territory. It is not just the general public that are reaching into their pockets in support either. Investments into European…

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The post EU-Startups Podcast / Episode 15: The status quo and future of sextech – with the founders of Emjoy and Beducated first appeared on EU-Startups.

EU-Startups

Co founders agreement – milestone or time based vesting?

I'm starting a new company and signing a co founders agreement.

I feel a 4 year time based vesting is too much and I would just want to vest as soon as we hit half a million dollars on revenue ( in my head the business is now zero risk and growth stage and I have earned my sweat)

I also feel no need for a cliff since we have already both put in 6 months of work without pay and developed the product.

What am I missing?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Men Aren’t the Thing Holding Female Founders Back — What’s Really Holding Women Back in Startups?

From a female founder who’s worked with thousands of aspiring women in business…and hundreds of male entrepreneurs, too.

Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

The Makers Summit 2021: What Product Secrets You Will Learn From Indian Unicorn And Soonicorn Founders – Inc42 Media

The Makers Summit 2021: What Product Secrets You Will Learn From Indian Unicorn And Soonicorn Founders  Inc42 Media
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News