Mitch & Freada Kapor

As a start-up and turnaround specialist (I’ve started and owned two companies I sold for 8 figures), there are very, very few reasons to go to VC’s, let alone banks or other lenders. Even with cutting-edge technologies that one thinks HAS to hit the market right away in order to be “first up” in the marketplace, there are very, very few reasons to secure financing and, with the bargain, relinquish a sliding percentage of your business.

This comes after many years of interviewing business owners — in the tech or publishing world, or even those in low-tech/no-tech businesses. In fact, after talking to perhaps 350–400 businesses, only about 5 have ever said that securing VC was the best thing they ever did. At the very least, most of these businesses — even the ones who liked the VC approach — told me that they probably could have waited a while for VC, maybe even eschew VC all together.

I worked in SV for about 13 years as an executive prior to starting my own business. I get it that there are some salient reasons to secure VC; I am not discounting VC completely. But when you put together your company’s strategy, take off the rose-colored glasses and look at the entire landscape of start-up strategy and, if at all possible, move “bootstrapping” up the list and attack that strategy first. You might be glad you did later on.

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