Last week I had the opportunity to meet-up with Bryce and the Indie.vc team during their quarterly retreat in Atlanta. I’ve been a fan of their approach since they launched, but hadn’t gotten a deep dive into their model until then.
In a nutshell, the Indie approach is to give a founder options. If they push hard for a year or two and realize the potential of this business is limited, the founder has the option to run it as a lifestyle, cashflow business. If, on the other hand, it’s a high-growth opportunity that needs growth capital then the founder has the option to raise venture capital.
So the founder can decide when to raise venture capital and on better terms when they do.
This model is such a breath of fresh air for me because the vast majority of founders in Atlanta (my home) believe there is only one path - the venture path - and cities like Atlanta lack early stage capital, so many of these founders are walking in a dessert with a bad roadmap.
Coincidentally, as I was deciding my blog post for this week, I ran across this podcast from a very successful & thoughtful founder. He bootstrapped for a long time and then took on venture-capital even thought he didn’t need to…his business was profitable and growing quickly.
Some of his thoughts are...
- He waited for an investor who agreed with his terms (eg not giving up a board seat).
- He’s a “maker.” The process is the rewarding part for him. After 10 years of building startups on his own, he wanted to do something new and bigger.
- Having more capital is freeing. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff any more.
- Going from maker to manager has been a big shift for him.
- The stakes are a little higher now because there are more employees who he wants to treat well. He doesn’t feel investor pressure as much. He said, “who you do a deal with changes everything.”
- It’s changed his perspective on how large the business can be, so he can have a bigger impact.
The ways that startups are conceived, validated, grown & funded are changing rapidly. If you are an early-stage founder I’d encourage you to investigate all the possibilities and make sure they are aligned with your personal style and goals for the business.
Sidenote: Here’s a video on bootstrapping a unicorn outside of silicon valley.
Get Right to the Lesson
I’d recommend listening to the entire thing, but to get right to the point go to minute 2:03 of this podcast.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
Josh Pigford (@Shpigford), founder of Baremetrics (@Baremetrics)
Bryce Roberts (@bryce) of Indie.vc (@indievc)
Nima Elyassi-Rad (@nima3rad) of Indie.vc (@indievc)
Please let me and others know what you think about this topic
Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or let's discuss publicly at @davempayne.