A Bootstrapped Software Company In Silicon Valley

Bootstrapping, self-funding, and resisting big VC funding are still not very common in Silicon Valley these days.

It’s not as easy for startup founders to raise funding there this year, but serious outside funding has always been the main startup fuel in the Bay Area.

“What do you mean, no VC investors? Why would you do that?” You’re not thinking big enough!”

Practical founders hear things like that every day from fellow founders in the Bay Area around San Francisco and San Jose.

It seems even crazier when your software company starts to grow fast and scale up—and you still resist “joining the club” by not raising a big round of venture capital investment, even though you could.

Just ask Zachariah Moreno, co-founder and CEO of Squadcast, based in the East Bay in Oakland.

Zach is a native of Northern California, but he didn’t grow up in an expensive neighborhood and go to a fancy university there.

He was a full-stack developer and coding instructor in 2015 when he discovered audio podcasts. There wasn’t a remote podcast software for recording high-quality audio over the Internet, so he decided to create one.

Zach and his friend, Rock Felder, started working on their product and startup idea while they still had full-time jobs, with Zach as the CEO and CTO.

They got it up and running and started charging for their software right away.

They did everything themselves for a while.

They added hard-working staff when their revenues could fund it.

They watched their pennies and quit their day jobs when they could.

They were able to focus all their energy on their customers—serious audio podcasters who do remote interviews over the web.

Paying customers like me.

“Bootstrapping was more like a series of experiments for us, both with our own level of personal investment and our sacrifice to build out this SaaS business asset for ourselves and our founding team,” Zach told me.

“The independence that we’ve gained from being customer-financed is really interesting because we have to focus just on just them—our customers. Not investors.”

I interviewed Zach this week on the Practical Founders Podcast.

We used Zach’s Squadcast remote recording studio to record the interview.

It’s great to see world-class software and a fast-growing company—in Silicon Valley—growing without outside funding.

Zach isn’t against getting funding from investors. He just wanted to prove he could delight customers and create a real business first.

Now that Squadcast is profitable and growing, they aren’t desperate for funding. They have total flexibility and control to guide the company where and how they want.

Zach is looking pretty cool in Silicon Valley these days.

Check out the whole interview on the Practical Founders Podcast here at practicalfounders dot com or use the link in the comments below.

You can read the complete text transcript of this interview using the link at the bottom of the episode page.


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