One request from last year’s SaaStr Annual was to add even more content for bootstrapped (vs venture funded) startups.  We have!  We’d like to think 100% of SaaStr content and speakers applies to bootstrapped startups just as well as any other type — but there are differences.  So a few sessions to highlight:

  • Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics.  Ryan bootstrapped Qualtrics all the way to a $1 billion+ valuation and even when he did raise for the first time after $1b, none of it was primary, traditional capital.   You will love the story and Ryan is a terrific champion of bootstrapping.
  • Tom Klein, CMO of Mailchimp.  One of everyone’s favorite bootstrapped unicorns.  How do you build a real marketing plan without buckets of venture capital?  Can it be done?  Yes it can!  We’ll learn from Tom.
  • Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp.  Another of our favorite tools we all use.  OK yes Basecamp raised some money eventually, but very little.  We’ll still call it bootstrapping.
  • Amy Pressman, President and Co-Founder of Medallia.  Pre-IPO Medallia went over a decade before raising any venture capital.  They did it by selling high, and selling well, and selling with conviction.  We’ll learn how to sell big deals without raising big bucks from Amy!

  • Brad Hoover, CEO of Grammarly.  Grammarly didn’t raise a dime of venture capital until their recent $110m+ round.  How did they do it?  I don’t know, but as customers ourselves, we will be in the audience!
  • Mike Cannon-Brookes, CEO of Atlassian.  Enough said.  Again, when Atlassian finally did raise, it was secondary capital, and after the company was well past $60m+ in ARR.
  • Therese Tucker, CEO of BlackLineBlackLine IPO’d last year with a splash, and Therese bootstrapped the company from founding all the way until 2013, when it finally raised some private equity money to buy out some shareholders.  It wasn’t easy.  She’s tell us how she did it.

  • Tom Hale, COO of SurveyMonkey.  SurveyMonkey did eventually raise money after a decade, but it achieved escape velocity without ever having raising a nickel.  How did they then use capital to scale after that?  We’ll find out from one of the masters, Tom Hale.
  • Julios Avalos, CBO of Github.  Yes, eventually, Github raised hundreds of millions.  But it got to critical mass without taking in any venture capital.  Let’s learn.
  • Mike McDerment, CEO of FreshbooksMike waited a decade before raising any venture capital.  He’s share the pros and cons and what he learned scaling one of the early SaaS 2.0 pioneers.


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