There are twice as many self-funded companies on Gregslist than companies with VC funding.
There are 3 times as many software companies that have “no or very little” equity funding (67%) than have outside institutional VC or PE investment (21%).
This shouldn’t be a surprise.
Most software companies don’t have big outside funding. And most new startups aren’t funded yet.
Here are some interesting numbers for you that I see:
There are 5315 software and SaaS companies on Gregslist.com in 11 metro areas outside Silicon Valley. We try to get them all in those cities.
Self Funded ————- 2,375 / 45%
Angel or Seed Funded — 623 / 12%
VC Funded ————– 1,010 / 19%
PE Funded ————— 121 2%
Acquired —————- 624 / 12%
Public —————— 338 / 6%
Other Funding ———– 215 / 4%
Despite these numbers, big funding is most of what we see in tech news.
We don’t hear about bootstrappers, small funded, or debt funded, which are more common and have higher success rates for founders.
I’m not saying that big VC funding is bad. I played that game for most of my 30 years growing software companies. I have won and lost this game several times as a co-founder and exec leader.
I’m just saying it’s appropriate for maybe 10% of all software companies outside of Silicon Valley. It’s not for most software companies. And it mostly doesn’t work out for the founders who play that game too early.
The “Angel round to Seed round to Series A round to Series B, C, D rounds” path is for a small subset of software companies with big-thinking founders with big-opportunity startups when there’s a funding arms race underway. It’s an all-or-nothing bet.
There are many ways for founders to win the software company growth game.
Big VC funding is just the exception, not the rule.