But for the math to work out, with a 3x cap on earnings, you need 33% of the businesses to be successful just to get your money back. At 5x you still need 20%. And that is over however long it takes for those companies to reach payback, which could be measured in decades for some of the companies.
I think it's really altruistic, but I'm not sure how big this market segment could actually get.
Also, they list a starting point of $2k-$5k in MRR, and on a $150k investment with a 30% split, they break even as soon as the founder(s) have taken $350k in total salary (again ignoring time value of money), including any salary paid out of the original $150k investment. I don't want to trivialize the process of scaling a startup beyond $2k-$5k of MRR, but I bet more than 20% of companies with $2k-$5k of MRR are capable of reaching that point.
edited for clarity
How so? Who's paying that 30% if you have zero revenue?...did you mean "if those companies never saw a penny of profit"?
> I'm not sure how big this market segment could actually get.
Keep following along and see :)
What exactly is a "residual stake"? In your spreadsheet this is set as 9.5%...where did that come from? Is this is a stock option, convertible note, or equity position?
By what instrument though? Are you offering a stock option at a strike price? Is it equity at a priced round? Or is a convertible note? Other? You can just say "if you sell we have the option to take a %"...
Just to reiterate all of these terms are negotiable at the time of investment too.
And they're trying to hide the 9.5% part.
The secret is there's a huge opportunity in between and tons of amazing founders and businesses we're excited to back.
How did you settle on a 3-5x return cap? Are you planning to tune that over time? Did you consider a graded return schedule? I don't know if you've published your profit share or if that varies by deal, but I'm curious if something like 25% up until 100% recoup, 10% up to 200%, 5% up to 3-5x target would compare to a flat 10-15% or whatever.
As a point of comparison, I used a portfolio loan to buy a business to run as a side project. The debt service on ~$125k is variable but roughly $500/month. At time of purchase that was about 20% of net, but that number will go down as the debt is paid and revenue grows. If I pay it off in ~5 years the total debt service will be in the range of $20-$30k... BUT that means almost all net is going to pay down the debt vs reinvesting in the business.
I know you're targeting more bootstrappers who want to go full time, but if this type of funding were available for side hustle acquisitions I'd probably consider it pretty strongly instead of taking on a bunch of personal risk (even though the rewards for me become less on paper).
Yes, very much consider this our next product. Will build, measure, learn, iterate as we go.
> I used a portfolio loan to buy a business to run as a side project
It's a useful comparison but not apples to apples. There are a lot more capital options to fund an operating business (ie SBA loans, IRA loans) than starting a new one. We are focused on the latter.
Our financial model might be a good fit for acquiring co's but it's not our strategy. Happy to help if anybody else wants to give it a shot.
We have a Return Cap which is negotiated on a per deal basis but we guide toward 3-5x the initial investment.
Besides the no equity position of Earnest, could you do a quick compare/contrast with TinySeed, of similar ilk and recency?
If there was a checklist online that we could tick ourselves before we start talking to you, it would be awesome.
I've seen a number of VCs and other pundits recently say things of the form "there's a reason why for decades, there were only bank loans and VC and not much in-between". Eg Jerry Neumann (a NY based solo investor) has a nice twitter rant about it here: https://twitter.com/ganeumann/status/1093961051425697794
If I follow the math in his linked blog posts well (eg ), he's basically putting down the hypothesis that there's 3 categories of companies (determined by the alpha value of the power-law distribution they're in):
1. Companies where the risk and the upside potential are small. This is where bank loans are focused.
2. Companies where the risk is enormous but the upside potential is "meh".
3. Companies where the risk is enormous but the upside potential is also enormous. This is where VC is focused, and it's why they're all about finding those few big hits because this covers all the losses (or mediocre performance) of the rest.
Neumann appears pretty confident about this hypothesis; not because he can explain the underlying phenomenon, but simply because until now he's not seen much successful funding for companies that's neither VC nor bank loans. And if his hypothesis is right, then you're targeting companies of type 2: investments with enormous risk (comparable to that of a high-growth startup) but at the same time you're hard-capping your upside at 5x. That seems madness.
I don't think you're mad, however, so you must believe that his hypothesis is wrong. If so, why now? What changed in the world, or in the investment landscape, or in technology, that suddenly multiple people (you, indie.vc, etc etc) believe that a low-capped profit sharing scheme for startup investments is a good idea, when nobody did before? Did the risk go down? How did it? Why? Why now and not 10 years ago?
Super interested in any insights you might have on this. Great job, hope you succeed (i.e. I hope to be proven wrong)
* disclaimer: I'm a founder, not an investor and I don't spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff. Ergo I probably misinterpreted a lot of what Neumann is saying. If someone (or Jerry himself) reads this and thinks they know better, I'll be happy to stand corrected.
traditional VC model is great for generating scale and creating barriers to entry/competition, but few businesses warrant that kind of scale and fewer use the capital to create real barriers.
Lending is for cash flow businesses - you can have zero hard collateral (eg PPE) but if you have historical steady cash flows, you can get loans, no problem (in my experience). The problem here is few startups focus on cash generation. They are enamored with growth at all cost, aspiring to the VC model when it isn’t appropriate.
For ex, many growth equity funds focus on a "doubles and triples" strategy where the risk / return profile is somewhere in between that of a bank loan and VC. They're looking for high probability of 5-7x returns, and low probability of capital loss, for each deal. Theoretically, this "bootstrappers' VC" model can be thought of as a scaled-down growth equity model: revenue-generating businesses in growing markets with potential for near-term profitability
Biotech VC is another good example of a "singles and doubles" strategy generating outperformance. Until the last few years, it was rare for a biotech startup to get to a $1B+ valuation in a 5-7 year venture timeframe, and considered impossible for a biotech startup to become a decacorn in that time period. A successful exit was a ~$500M outcome that returned a 5-10x. These funds have outperformed tech in many cases. See 37:46 here 
To build a fund that can return 3x in an environment with constrained exit sizes, you need to focus on consistent doubles and triples: 1) low loss rates, 2) capital efficiency, 3) modest valuations, 4) disciplined investment decisions. I don't know whether the fund math works for this particular "bootstrappers VC" model, but it is certainly possible for a disciplined "doubles and triples" venture fund to perform well
A few (unsubstantiated) guesses at reasons to counter:
1 - Medium risk medium reward opportunities exist (a currently unprofitable but otherwise promising startup addressing a 25m niche can't get bank debt or venture funding)
2 - Could decrease risk holding reward (avg. multiple of investment) constant by having small funds with managers that have deep knowledge of particular niche deploy smaller checks in markets they are better at evaluating (v. large fund managers needing to cast net wider than their "lane")
3 - Size expectation can be correlated with risk. Can decrease risk holding reward (avg multiple of investment) constant by just having smaller funds writing smaller checks for smaller companies that be happy with smaller exits or alt. upside capture (v. forcing companies that could work with small exits into chasing big inflexible exits). Sure no 100x-ers but theoretically could see higher blended fund returns
4 - Opportunities generally continuous on risk and reward calling for equally diverse approaches to capitalization
I think one of the main arguments in favor of a bimodal distribution of VC and Bank (or high and low risk) funding is that if you are in that middle "medium risk medium reward" zone it can be really difficult to defend your position for any stretch of time. You will be attacked from both bigger players to whom you've proven a market, and smaller players who are willing to take bigger risks to see if they can blow that market up (or bite off a smaller piece of it).
In order to maintain a medium risk medium reward business you need something approaching a monopoly, but also you need the market in which you have a monopoly to be growing and not attracting new players. Maybe some of these exist, but they are very rare and I suspect identifying them is not significantly easier than identifying startups with high growth potential.
So I think skrebbel's question is pretty fair, though I suspect OP has heard it a lot. I would predict that this fund passes on WAY more deals than even a standard VC fund, and will be required to determine the risk of the investment even more effectively. That's a tough problem, and I do really wish them luck!
The major thing that's changed is the availability of data. A $100k loan used to take several hours of expensive analyst time to process manually, and since most would be rejected, it wouldn't be worth it. Now a business can, e.g., securely share real bank account data.
That makes the whole process much faster, which reduces the cost per loan, which makes smaller loans profitable.
I imagine something similar can apply for small business equity.
Also interested how you guys get paid. Did you raise a fund? Are LPs mostly HNWs? Any institutions? Is the investment horizon of the fund similar to a typical VC fund?
And finally, I would imagine your SEA gets negotiated on a deal by deal basis if a portco raises more traditional VC? I'm curious what a series A looks like when there's a SEA in place that hasn't reached its return cap.
The usual story and rationale around VC focus and outcomes no longer makes sense (if it ever did). By their own statistics (Cambridge Associates) they’re pretty bad at their job. The power law returns aren’t just applicable to the companies they invest in but to the funds themselves. Mobile atm so I don’t have all the research to hand but up to circa 2011, it is something like 90-95% of funds did not even manage to return the fund to investors. The success of the entire industry came from the same 5-12 firms, who were largely syndicated into the same handful of investments (Yahoo, Google, LinkedIn, etc.). If you were in the breakout success story for that cycle you were a winner.
I’m pretty dubious about the generally accepted wisdom from a group who have a couple of lottery winners among a bunch of losing bets.
That’s all changed in the current cycle. I don’t think that’s because VCs suddenly got better at what they do. I think it’s because the economics of launching a company changed, as did the expectations around traction to raise your first rounds. There are exceptions in some verticals (hardware, med/bio tech, etc) but then vast majority of startups no longer have huge capital outlay just to prove technical viability. They’re not building a fab facility to produce silicon, they’re not trying to iron out how to do that at scale, they’re not dropping $40K for a single SGI server they need to rack. They’re paying very low opex, and depending on access to credits from vendors maybe not even that. For a team with tech capability they need little more than time to actually build the product to actually have something in market. Plug in Stripe or similar and they’re able to prove revenue too.
The net result is VCs are not investing in anywhere near the same level of risk as they were 10-15 years ago. There’s very little investment in a deck full of ideas (you’d need a team with previous track record) and a lot of investment in scaling working products. “Is this technically possible?” risk is largely non-existent. “Can this team build it?”/execution risk is heavily discounted. “Can this scale?” has been reduced to “worst case we can probably throw money at this with a cloud vendor to weather rapid growth”. What’s left is doubling down on sales and marketing.
What’s happened is a period of riches for VCs because founders & teams have leveraged tech advancements to reduce the risk of failure. But the investment industry hasn’t reacted and have instead captured an outsized upside. And I think the 10 year feedback loop for funds probably isn’t helping them to see it (also, what’s the incentive? Why leave money on the table as an investor?).
I see Earnest and similar initiatives as being the competitive response to correct this imbalance. In 10 years you’ll no longer have VC as an expectation to achieve a unicorn (or whatever we’re calling them then) valuation, and whatever investors you have will have an appropriately risk adjusted return.
Is there a limit on the term? Let's say you invest $100,000 in a $3k MRR business. Unfortunately it does not grow, or maybe even MRR declines. What happens to the investment obligation?
There's no limit. If the business stalls at $3k MRR (ie no Founder Earnings) it can go on running forever or shut it down. We would get a % if it was ever sold.
Second, can you explain the valuation cap in terms of acquisition. Let's say I take $100k in investment, and 5 years later I sell the company for $10M. What is the max amount Earnest Capital will receive?
% of the sale would be roughly $100k / Valuation Cap (which is negotiable at time of investment).
2. How big is your fund?
 https://www.indie.vc - loan vs. future equity with buy-out
 https://tinyseed.com - equity with revenue share (?)
How does that work with bootstrappers? Ideally they'd only have to raise money once (from you), but what happens after the $100k (example) run out and the business is only generating, let's say, $2k/month? Back to 9-to-5?
Hopefully, you meet a ton of cool people along the way and we can sort out something cool as a next step that isn't 9-to-5 drudgery tho.
The single biggest red-flag is the fact that the equity stake vests in company sale or priced-raise as unpaid return cap (a multiple of 3-5X investment) over valuation cap. What this essentially means, is that in the scenario that you raise more money or sell the company before you've paid off the 3-5x multiple of the investment, then the investment essentially vests as if the valuation cap was 3-5x lower than what it was actually set at.
This probably seems abstract, so I'll make it vividly clear with an example. Let's say you raise $200k on a $2 million valuation with a 5x return cap on an SEA. Business goes well, a year or two goes by, and you either sell the company or raise more capital at a $10 million valuation, having in the interim say paid off $200k of the agreement from earnings. With 4x still outstanding. Suddenly, likely to your surprise, that $800k (4x investment amount) vests into equity—at the $2 million cap from the original agreement. In other words, Earnest Capital suddenly, to your surprise, owns 40% of your company. If you hadn't monetized at all and paid any off, this could be a full 50% stake.
Even if you run the numbers with the more conservative numbers in their document—is it clear to people that a $150k investment at a "$3 million" valuation could convert to a 15% equity stake in your company?
I'd love to see how this could be revised to address this issue, and I'd love to see the website more clearly communicate the equity implications. As of now, I can't help but feel that this is double-dipping, predatory investing, that is getting heaps of praise on HN due to clever marketing around tapping into the trend of anti-VC and indie-hacking, that will ultimately lead to some very frustrating experiences for first-time entrepreneurs that didn't fully comprehend the terms they were agreeing to.
Tyler—please prove me wrong and fix this thing. Or, since IANAL I may have completely misunderstood the document, in which case—screw me, my apologies—but please explain how it actually works :)
A $200,000 RSN that matures in 5 years and 5% of revenue is paid back quarterly until a total 50% return (i.e. the "cap") has been hit. In this example, the business is expected to pay back a total amount of $300,000 by paying 5% of their revenue to investors over five years. If at the end of the 5-year period, the $300,000 has not been paid, then the business has to pay the remaining balance at that time.
A $200,000 EaRN that matures in 10 years and 5% of revenue is paid back quarterly until a total 25% return (i.e. the “cap”) has been hit. Upon reaching the “1.25x cap”, the company then pays a smaller percentage (e.g. 2%) on revenue until the maturity of the EaRN is reached.
The entrepeneurs set the terms of their offering and investors in their community decide whether they would like to invest.
Disclaimer: I am a CoFounder of MainVest.
I'm strongly considering TinySeed, Indie.vc, and now Earnest Capital. It's hard to navigate all of these terms and weigh the pros and cons. At the moment I'm leaning towards TinySeed because of the mentorship and community in the accelerator program. It sounds like Earnest Capital is more "hands-off", but it also doesn't take any equity (unless you raise more money or sell the company.)
I will readily admit that if founders intend to raise multiple rounds of follow on equity (VC style) we will not be the most competitive form of capital for them.
There's also seems like there may be a bit of contradiction of messaging here. The messaging is like, "Take this capital, grow a business at your own pace and pay us back a multiple of what we give you as you can.", yet in the case that a company is doing very well and growing fast, and can utilize more capital or sell, instead of having normal equity terms on invested capital, the agreement turns around and says, "Oh, and by the way, we own a huge multiple of the investment as equity now." This seems highly inconsistent to me, as if you're really expecting the majority of your returns to come from these 3-5x return caps being paid off from earnings, why would you have a provision to take such an aggressive equity stake in the companies that end up doing particularly well and go on to raise or sell? Like, it seems to me such terms suggests you expect to make the majority of your returns from equity, which is not what's being communicated. I could also be over-estimating your interest in startups that may ever go on to raise more capital or sell, but I think there's so much uncertainty in starting a company, that it's not really reasonable for a founder to know if at some point in the next few years that the best thing for the business might be to raise or sell, as it depends on the state of the company and the market. This agreement as currently drafted, without proper high-cap or other considerations mentioned above, could too easily disrupt future optimizing for the best outcome for a business.
3-5x return cap sounded super refreshing - and almost like a dream come true, however assuming they're good judge of characters and select well, then I could see them pulling off a very successful investment protocol. I may still contact them to see what their intentions are and what expectations/agreement may be possible.
I guess this is an "escape hatch" for companies that start off independent, but then change their mind and decide to pursue traditional VC funding.
YC invests $150k for a 7% stake, with the expectation that you will raise 7 figures and aim for a billion dollar exit. You won't get accepted to YC unless you can convince them that you're aiming for a unicorn. =
I think it might actually be fair to penalize a company if they say they are going to build a sustainable, profitable business, and then they change the rules by aiming for a unicorn. Earnest Capital would be taking on a lot of risk that they didn't ask for, because moonshots are extremely risky compared to a small profitable business that can grow at it's own pace. The founder gets to go for a moonshot and spend all of the money, and they'll likely go bankrupt because moonshots are extremely risky. And if they succeed, then Earnest Capital only gets a $450k return from a billion dollar company. A VC expects a 10x to 30x return for this kind of risk ($1.5M - $4.5M.)
Also the return is capped at 3-5X, so I think these terms are pretty good for the founder. A business loan would be better, but it doesn't come with any mentorship or accelerator program, and I personally won't be able to get one because I live in Thailand (although I have a US company.)
This would be give me a really good boost so that I can pay for a few big projects that I couldn't otherwise afford (redesign, increased marketing budget for ads and newsletters, audits and certifications, and a few features where I could hire some contractors.)
TinySeed invests $120k in exchange for 8-15% equity. So that's like Earnest Capital + immediate Equity Conversion.
The equivalent for Earnest Capital might be a $75k investment with a $3M valuation cap. (75000 * 3) / 3000000 = 7.5% equity if you sold or raised more money without paying anything back. 2.5% if you have less than $75k remaining, and 0% as soon as you reach the return cap. I think that cliff is a bit weird. Earnest Capital would have 2.5% equity even if you only had a single dollar remaining until you reach the Return Cap, then it immediately falls to 0%. I think it would be better if there was a gradual drop from 2.5% to 0% as your remaining payment amount goes from $75k - $0. If I apply, I might ask them to change this term.
I would also like to know if it would be possible to buy back shares from the TinySeed investors. I didn't see anything about that. But for a small sustainable company, I'd honestly be happy to just pay myself a reasonable salary, and pay some dividends from time to time. 8% wouldn't be too bad.
EDIT: Just thinking some more. It would take so long to pay back this Earnest Capital loan! If your company gets to $10k Founder Earnings per month, you'd be paying back $3k * 3 = $9k per quarter, or $36k per year. Even if you only took a $75k investment, it would take you 6.25 years to reach the $225k cap. It's sort of like golden handcuffs, where you can't sell or raise any more money without giving away significant equity (and you would be better off with the TinySeed deal.) On the other hand, if you can get to $10k by the first year, and $100k by the second or third year, then it would be repaid very quickly. ($360k per year).
I think I'm leaning towards TinySeed. But it's hard to weigh all the pros and cons.
Now this comes along. Definitely sending out an email! Pretty excited to be honest.
My questions/comments/criticisms after a brief look, please correct me if I'm wrong:
1. It funds startups that already have growing revenue, which is fine, but that's the hardest part by far. So it might filter out all of the best startups who can just choose to grind it out a few more months, having already overcome the biggest hurdle. Taking the calculated risk of funding startups that are pre-product/market fit is where the real magic happens.
2. It's legally complicated which means a smart founder would definitely want a lawyer (unlike SAFE), which could be quite costly. It could (potentially) scare off future investment as well.
3. It converts to equity (optionally, which seems scary) to a hefty ~10% valuation, which is more than YC takes in exchange for a much, much better deal because they all but guarantee successful startups will raise a large amount of money at a very high valuation. In effect this costs a startup maybe 3-10x more than YC on the VC route.
4. Like TinySeed, I think it also ignores the inescapable fact that startup investing is a hits-based business regardless of what anyone wants it to be. One out of 50 investments is going to be worth more than the other 49, so it makes sense to align interests with reality. By focusing on getting paid from the biggest winners, you can afford to be much more generous and high-minded with the rest.
5. Also like TinySeed, it doesn't seem to account for just how high living expenses can be for founders with families, etc. Having to negotiate with your investors about paying rent is going to feel a lot like having a boss, which could be very demoralizing for founders. YC is extremely careful not to make founders feel like employees for good reason.
6. Having to negotiate the amount of investment also seems less then ideal. Knowing exactly what the deal is would be much better than having to haggle as the start of the relationship.
7. Wildcard: have you considered evolving this into an ICO-funder for startups? Equity crowdfunding with an initial seed investor seems like a huge idea.
I applaud the effort and hope it becomes huge. I wouldn't bother commenting if I didn't!
I hope they fix their terms but based on how misleading they've been, I would never personally do business with this person.
I think it's more than fair to say they don't take equity.
This seems to imply that they get a % of an exit or future financing even once the cap has been reached. That is functionally warrants right?
Not every product category is suitable for crowdfunds, but for those that are, a successful Kickstarter campaign is also an effective marketing launch, worth a small fortune by itself.
We have yet to find a funding model where products don’t turn to shit after the companies that raised hundreds of millions of dollars don’t meet their promises made to VC.
MongoDB is a great example of a company shooting itself in the foot because they don’t meet the promises of growth and profitability the market is expecting.
This fund is a great potentiel for dev tools and deep technology that needs only a tiny amount of capital at start and then can remain profitable with SaaS or Consulting.
This model would be somewhat unacceptable for VC because they expect every company they fund to go public and cash out right after with 100% YoY growth , otherwise you’re not a good investment.
Congratulations on this launch !
EDIT: MDB will also probably get acquired in the next year too.
Curious - to extent you're willing to share - what dynamics are like for LPs (assuming raising outside). Since median vc fund return is barely 1x, and traditional VCs sometimes blow up otherwise good niche companies by forcing them to go big or bust, targeting 3-5x returns with way faster liquidity for investors a super interesting alternative.
And if the niche market turns out to be a massive market, can still go in with eyes wide open!
Can't tell you how often I hear this.
> what dynamics are like for LPs
Can't really say much on this because SEC. But yes, being better than the average VC fund (not to mention better liquidity and lower concentration of returns) is not a high bar IMHO.
Thanks for doing this AMA!
Why is this better than just taking out like a 20-30% APR business loan?
That is, if the business fails, or does okay but doesn't become large enough to service the debt, the founder still needs to pay the loan back. For all intents and purposes, a business loan with a personal guarantee is a personal loan.
That's not true of these terms. If the business fails, the founder doesn't personally need to repay the investment. If the business grows but very slowly, the founder still decides how much to re-invest in the business.
(Also, at the interest rates you mention, such a loan would be no different than taking out $100k in personal credit card debt to fund your business. Yes, someone could do that, but it has some very significant downsides.)
This seems like a middle-ground that is better suited to starting up companies that most likely won't be unicorns. They only get paid once you get to a "comfortable" spot, financially.
Another consideration may be that in the event of business failure, you'd still owe money on the loan but the Shared Earnings agreement would essentially go away since the business is no longer viable. Not sure about this, but this is what I'd imagine would be the case.
It's a small business loan with terrible terms.
Earnest only takes their return once you're in the position to pay yourself a salary. If you reinvest everything in the business, they don't get anything.
If you look at the repayment schedule in the model, you'll find that Earnest ends up being CHEAPER than 20-30% without the personal guarantees required by a bank:
A stream of cash flows that goes:
The IRR/effective "interest rate" of this stream of cash flows is 18.3% - lower than the 20%-30% you're claiming.
Sure, I mean different forms of capital are better in different circumstances. So in which circumstances is the form of capital you're offering better than a 20-30% APR business loan?
Asking as a profitable bootstrapped SaaS founder.
1. When the business is too early stage to get a bank loan
2. When the business is highly risky and the founder doesn’t want the debt burden (not sure if Earnest would fund this either)
My guess is that Earnest is investing more money, at a much earlier stage, than when a business loan without a personal guarantee would be available.
Why is this now a model? Too much cash chasing too few unicorns ? Too much money lost on unicorns that cannot fly or a realisation that chasing unicorns leaves herds of perfectly good horses untended?
Speaking solely for myself, but gesturing in the general direction of my peer set: there exist some software entrepreneurs who have substantial operational expertise and have made some money, but who do not feel like they'd add much value in the unicorn hunt, partly due to access reasons and partly due to different skills. There's a distinct body of practice between e.g. the things a YC partner would tell you to do about fundraising, the things a growth stage VC fund would tell you to do about organization building, and the things a self-funded software founder would tell you to do about e.g. testing AdWords copy. There is a certain degree of overlap, in the same sense that all of them overlap someone whose business model is buy-and-hold apartment buildings in Chicago, but there is a reason none of them buy-and-hold apartment buildings in Chicago.
By comparison, I feel reasonably confident that "six figure SaaS business trying to get to seven" is somewhere I understand pretty thoroughly, would almost always enjoy a conversation with that founder, and (napkin math) looks plausibly mutually interesting.
Why now and not five years ago? It feels like a generation-of-business thing: the reason everybody who made money at Google / Facebook didn't invest five years before they started investing was because they hadn't made money at Google / Facebook. Did the opportunity exist five years ago? Probably, as evidenced by the successes from that generation. Is the opportunity better now? Plausibly yes, as demonstrated by all of the people who were successful writing down what they did, doing technology transfer on that to new operators (often for free), the ecosystem radically improving (inputs, platforms, employees, exit options all got a bunch better), etc.
There being distinct skill sets coming out of the (soon to be flooded) ex-unicorn investor market is an exciting idea as much as anything
context: i ask because i have this problem right now and find this is a harder hurdle (trying to double a 7 figure business without VC money)
If you are in SF area happy to host 7->8 beers/coffee meetup!
Anyway, thanks for offer but I'm not in SF!
I think the YC/VC pre-market-fit-hoping-for-billions model is well understood. But I find it difficult to understand when a bootstrapped cashflow positive business should consider any of these options. If one has a bootstrapped side business making $X/mo and a job making $150k+Y per month, when should one go all in on the business?
They must be really confident in their ability to spot good companies.
Very happy to see alternatives to giving away equity however.
It is great time to be bootstrapper.
I would look at OnDeck or Kabbage before going this route.
EDIT: Ah, I live in Thailand, so I probably won't be able to get a business loan through these companies. (Even though my company is a US C-Corp.) Also I probably don't have enough revenue yet.