This Second Time Founder Chose to Not Raise Any VC Funding and Won Bigger

When a software company founder sells their company successfully, they have more choices about how they fund their next startup.

I always ask these second-timers, “Will you raise venture funding again, or will you go the practical way without institutional investors?”

Second-time founders have much easier access to serious VC funding, even before showing any revenue traction. It’s an easier bet for big investors.

So the funding choices in their second ventures are less about access to capital and more about their personal preferences.

They are always clearer and more intentional about the second company they want to build: the culture, team, business model, growth approach—and funding strategy.

Antony Ceravolo is an experienced tech founder who started a software company in London in 2003 and raised VC funding. The company was acquired by Amazon in 2011.

But when he moved back to his hometown of Adelaide, Australia, he was very intentional about starting his next valuable software company without VC or PE investors.

His new company, Sine, started as a check-in system using iPads in schools and businesses to manage guests and visitors more securely.

In 7 years, Sine grew into the leading automatic site check-in system for vendors and contractors with large, name-brand customers and 100 employees.

Antony knew the high cost of CEO time and attention required to attract and manage investors. He wanted to grow an efficient global SaaS business that could grow very fast—without any second-guessing by professional board members.

Antony sold Sine to Honeywell in December 2020 for a very successful exit. His team and the product kept going as Honeywell Forge Visitor and Contractor Management, serving thousands of global businesses.

Antony described his bootstrapping journey on the Practical Founders Podcast this week:

“It was important to me in my second company not to have to spend all my time and energy on board meetings with outside investors.

“It allowed me to spend 110% of my energy and time with my customers and with my team instead of spending a week or two weeks every month preparing a board pack.

“Even though I used to be an investment banker and my first company was VC-backed, I had done that before and I was over having investors and theatrically-based board meetings via Zoom or in person.

“It was one of the secrets to the Sine growth story. I was a much happier person spending time with my customers, going and meeting them in-person if I had to because I wasn’t labored with investors’ issues and board reporting packs.”

Founders who haven’t raised funding, managed investors , and transacted a successful sale of a company always drastically underestimate the distraction of investors.

Big funding comes with some exciting cash funding, but it’s far from free money.

Check out Antony’s podcast interview on the Practical Founders Podcast.


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.