And In Between These Funding News, A Note To Bootstrappers

Bootstrappers : You got to do what you got to do
Bootstrappers : You got to do what you got to do

In the last 50 days, 75 Indian startups have raised funding (as compared to ~90 in entire of 2012). Where are we going with this? Well, ofcourse more funding is DEFINITELY good for the ecosystem.

But then, there are a set of entrepreneurs who are bootstrapping and are losing voice in this entire funding coverage.

As a bootstrapper, things are probably getting tougher for you – you are finding it difficult to hire. After all, people just equate funding with validation (and no funding = no existence).

It’s as good as deciding to stay single in the marriage market – people will assume that something is wrong with you!

As a bootstrapper, here is what I gotta say to you.

Bootstrappers : You got to do what you got to do
Bootstrappers : You got to do what you got to do

Keep your head down and do what needs to be done. You got to do what you got to do.

Your road is stretched. It will take a while to get there. Unless you have hit a goldmine (of customer revenues), you will find it all the more challenging to grow the team (and revenue).

But if you have a time horizon of 15 years (read : Startups: Let’s Rewrite Your Business Plan!), things will fall in place. They will.

What Bootstrapping Means To You

Is bootstrapping cool? Is it cool to say ‘hey! I have not raised any funding from anybody. I own the entire shit’. Yes it does (?).

But that’s not the way it is meant to be. Bootstrapping isn’t supposed to be cool. Bootstrapping is tough. Bootstrapping means that your runway is not just shorter, but also you have very little fuel.

To some, it helps stay focused (there is no money to play around with – so better build a rocket that won’t explode). To some, it brings a lot of fear factor as well (especially when you know that your competitor has raised a massive round and is underpricing to win your customers). And that’s just okay.

Bootstrapping also translates to massive freedom. A freedom where you don’t have to report to any board of director, any investor [read : What exactly makes Entrepreneurship so hard].

The caveat is whether you really need this freedom, i.e. are you really doing things / experimenting with models? Is that a part of a massive growth plan? If yes, then that’s the way to go. Some companies/founder/categories need time to settle in – excess money ruins creativity. And that’s where bootstrapping is useful – helps define the model. 

What are your thoughts (esp if you are a bootstrapper)?

What am I trying to say? Bootstrapping isn’t anything to be celebrated. It’s a decision you have taken (which is similar to your decision to wear blue jeans today to work). You live with it. But let’s not try to justify your decision. That kills the purpose.

An important advice : Please don’t be in a state of denial (that funding isn’t a good thing). You have decided to not raise money. Your compeition will anyways raise a massive round – so don’t bitch.

Whatever it is, always remember : You got to do what you got to do!