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Bootstrappers that IPOed


Hello guys,

I read about the Atlassian founders who bootstrapped and IPOed successfully.

Any other good examples that you can think of, of bootstrappers that IPOed?



Atlassian took funding along the way but they never needed it.

I think Freelancer (https://www.freelancer.com/) IPO’ed for $400mil without taking any funding.


Microsoft, almost. Hard to believe but Microsoft was bootstrapped. They eventually took some a small amount of funding but they didn’t actually need it.


Correct, MSFT only raised 1 million dollars (in 1981, so like ~2.8 million USD in 2017 dollars) for 5% of the company just so they could get some VC advice onboard.

William H. Gates III COL '77, LLD '07 Q&A (filmed in 2013) – The Harvard Campaign Launch (@8:10):

David Rubenstein:
“When you started (Microsoft) how did you avoid what so many other entrepreneurs are unable to avoid, which is taking venture capital money and diluting themselves, you didn’t really take venture capital money, how did you avoid that?”

Bill Gates:
"Software, if you can sell it in volume, has extremely favorable economics because the costs are quite finite, and you can scale the volume, in our case, to sell millions of copies – every Apple II Computer, Commodore PET, IBM PC had copies of our software, so our income went up a lot. We didn’t have to build any factories, we were cash positive, and we didn’t have a year where we lost money. The first few years Paul (Allen) and I worked for free, but after that we were just generating cash. We eventually gave away, or sold, 5% of the company for a million dollars at a 20 million dollar valuation, just to get a venture capital company to join our board and give us some adult advice about various things, which was quite helpful. We picked one in the valley, a guy named Dave Marquardt came on our board and did a fantastic job.

That money sat in the bank, and it’s still in the bank today, so it was not for anything to do with capital, but rather just to join the team… he’s still on the board of Microsoft and is still extremely helpful as a lot of important decisions get made."