Practical Growth

From bootstrapped growth to unicorn success in 8 years

If you didn’t hear this story for yourself, you might not think that a tiny software company could bootstrap and grow profitably for 8 years, then finally raise outside capital at a $2 billion unicorn valuation. But they did.

In this episode of the Practical Founders Podcast, I interviewed my friend Jonathan Cronstedt, also known as JCron, who was the president of Kajabi software from 2016 through 2021 when he helped the company grow past the early startup years.

JCron is a savvy entrepreneur, digital marketer, and sales leader who shares the story of the bootstrap founding of Kajabi through getting $550M in venture capital funding in 2021. JCron is now on the Kajabi board as is founder and former CEO, Kenny Rueter.

Kajabi is a leading “knowledge commerce” platform for entrepreneurial experts–content creators– to market and sell their expertise as online content like videos, courses, and more.

Started in 2010 to help early internet marketers and small business experts deliver videos and training, Kajabi has helped over 50,000 entrepreneurs to sell their expertise and expand their businesses.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Kajabi:

  • Had $1M+ annual recurring revenue the moment the product launched after coding on nights and weekends for a year to create the first product
  • Founder and CEO Kenny Rueter grew revenues ahead of expenses to stay profitable from day 1 to over $50M in revenue 10 years later
  • Grew as a modest software business for the first 5 years, then rebuilt the product to grow the business much bigger as the market eventually grew up in the next 5 years
  • Kept a fanatic focus on their target customer (called “Kajabi heroes”), a powerful and easy-to-use product, and a well-defined culture
  • More than doubled in size in 12 months during the COVID crisis when online courses and content became a global focus
  • Waited 10 years to take any outside investment in 2020 that helped bring the expertise to scale, then raised $550M at a $2B valuation from VC investors in 2021.

Listen to this episode of the Practical Founders Podcast here or use your favorite podcast app.

Get the weekly Practical Founders email and podcast update.

Share Practical Founders


Win the Startup Game Without VC Funding

Learn how all 75 founders on the Practical Founders Podcast created an average founder equity value of $50 million.