How hard is to build SaaS from zero to $100k MRR without investors?

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JASON LEMKIN

I think my learning is three-fold.

First, it depends on the team. Most of the SaaS unicorns have been built on at least some venture capital … but a number haven’t. Atlassian ($5b market cap), Qualtrics (private unicorn), etc. have gotten there without it.

The real question is How Lean Can You Be.

Second, most bootstrapped SaaS companies grow slower in the earlier days without capital to boost them to Initial Traction and Scale. Atlassian and Qualtrics took an extra 3–4 years to get to Initial Traction and Scale vs. some of their peers.

But …

Third, once any SaaS company hits $8-$10m in ARR … they all grow at the same rate.

So if you can suck it up, and somehow, with a super-lean team, get to $10m ARR … then that’s another great way to get there. Especially in a less competitive space, where a little extra time getting there isn’t the end of the world.

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Published on May 29, 2016
  • Nada

    It probably depends on whether or not you count yourself as an investor, and what value you can personally add to the mix. Then it’s only about how much you have saved up to get you to any sort of revenue. If you wish to remain bootstrapped, you could then do an A/R type loan (NOT FACTORING), to help you make shorter term investments in growth. In the second company I started with the same co-founder, we had a reasonable amount of savings. However, our personal investment might be look at as being a self-Angel (given the amount put in prior to first profit).

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