Update: We’re Alive and Bootstrapping!
Codespace is alive and well and I figured I’m good to deliver an update. While we have been relatively quiet since announcing to the interweb our intentions of joining the competitive world of code education, we’ve already spent what feels like a lifetime discussing everything from educational partnerships to investment strategy. Investment in particular has been a hot topic amongst my two partners and I, and for good reason.
When we decided to pursue Codespace, we did so with the intentions of raising capital. Money was tight and we felt a solid boost in cashflow could help us accelerate the nuances of the business that needed the most help — namely marketing, advertising and infrastructure (office space, hosting, etc.). After the second draft of our business plan, we began making calls locally in Michigan to find angel investors willing to listen to our pitch. Fortunately for us, we made a strong connection with a local investment group on our first try.
That isn’t normal. Like ever.
Now let me preface, while I have been directly involved with two profitable start ups, only one (Simplewire) was built using OPM (other people’s money), and that money was raised through a family friend of the wife of the CEO of the company. While I won’t go into details, the investment in Simplewire was relatively low, and the company grew living off its sales of SDK’s and access to its SMS network. The other startup, Eiko Media, an emerging media agency I co-founded with my colleague at the time Ashley Swartz, was built on the revenues of our clients.
Basically what I’m saying is, in my career as an entrepreneur, I never had an appetite for chasing money. Codespace though was different. We felt that to build a proper B2C brand and get to market, we needed the backing of an investment team. With money came the ability to hire additional developers and designers. It allowed us to find a suitable location to conduct business from, and most importantly, afforded giving my partners the option of working full time.
Our conversations were always positive. We were aligned in our go-to-market strategies and the backgrounds of our prospective investment partners leant to us leveraging their vast expertise in the field of marketing. On paper, this was a match made in heaven.
But there was a downside as well…control.
It’s never easy to agree on what something is worth without a dime in the bank to provide direction on value, and this was simply something we couldn’t overcome.
At some point though, we decided that bootstrapping Codespace was the best course of action, foregoing investment. We knew the dangers of this decision could doom us. It would take longer to bring Codespace to market, our advertising budget was lunchpail money and we wouldn’t have the opportunity to build out the space we wanted, opting to continue working nights and weekends. But it also allowed us to focus even more on the business challenges that awaited us, knowing we didn’t have the crutch of capital in our checking account to cushion us if we failed. It was scary to make the call and break off our partnership, but ultimately a better product will be produced because of it.
So onto the updates! As mentioned, we’re really pushing hard on delivering a product I think you’re all going to like. If you thought about learning code, wait for us! Matt and Ben have been hard at work building our self-instructional web application and after meeting with our designer, we think we have the makings of a winner.
We’ve met with local educational institutions to gain further insight into their needs and feel confident an announcement will be coming shortly.
There hasn’t been much wavering from our goal of soft launching in May so be on the lookout. We also promise to start posting more frequent updates to our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Codespace has been a fun project for all of us, we’re looking forward to sharing more soon!