Dear SaaStr: What is the most inspiring bootstrapped SaaS out there?
Atlassian is worth $40B today, pretty darn impressive.
The founders owned 78% at IPO. Very impressive.
Utterly epic pic.twitter.com/oN5vm3y4Ii
— Jason ✨Be Kind✨ Lemkin (@jasonlk) April 19, 2023
In SaaS, I nominate 3 for The Best Bootstrappers Ever.
First, Atlassian. While eventually, it did raise $100m in secondary, it never raised any “primary” capital at all. The founders owned 78% at IPO, and today Atlassian is worth $40B. The ultimate win here.
Second, Mailchimp. The founders never sold a share, primary or secondary, and sold to Intuit for a stunning $12 Billion (!). The #1 most successful 100% self-serve bootstrapped SaaS story out there. Wow.
Third, Qualtrics. Like Atlassian, it later raised some secondary capital, but never sold any shares directly. Like Atlassian, it took longer, too, because it was bootstrapped. But Qualtrics was then acquired for $8 Billion by SAP just before its IPO … and then IPO’d later again for $12B … and now is going private again.
Now having said all this, while I’m struggling to find the exact Tweet, a ways back Michael-Cannon Brooks, co-CEO of Atlassian, responded to a tweet we did on bootstrapping. He said it probably wouldn’t have worked for them today. The market today is too competitive, and they wouldn’t have had enough enough time in the early days. That’s always something to think about if you have the option to bootstrap or not. Will it get you there faster? And will that matter? Bootstrapping is never easy. None of it is. But it’s easier in less competitive categories. Because you’ll need more time.
A related post here: