Practical Founders Podcast

#9: Bootstrapper Gets Practical Funding Before Getting Acquired for $22 Million – Nick Santora of Curricula

Nick Santora bootstrapped Curricula for five years with his co-founders before raising $3M in practical funding and then getting acquired in 2022 for $22 million.

Nick and his co-founders quit their jobs to build innovative story-based education courses and a single-purpose learning platform for cybersecurity security awareness training. Nick had found a big hole in the cybersecurity market while working as a cybersecurity trainer in the electric utility industry.

Curricula features fun and engaging training content, which was the opposite of the typical “death by Powerpoint” training that users ignored. Now Curricula is a powerful platform that allows companies to create their own engaging content and then measure custom training results.

When they almost ran out of cash before revenues grew, Nick says. “I would do anything I could do to keep this heartbeat going instead of getting an investor to run our future. Once that starts happening, I knew it was going to start cascading into desperation. And I wanted to hold the cards in our hands as long as we could.”

In this episode, Nick explains:

  • How he saw this problem as a cybersecurity trainer in the electric utility industry
  • How he and his cofounders quit their jobs to build this platform while living on savings and no salary
  • What happened when they ran out of money three times while pivoting and experimenting to find their growth path
  • How they used freemium PLG tactics to compete with an aggressive competitor who had raised $400 million in VC funding
  • How his last-ditch promotion test with LinkedIn advertising created their primary efficient customer acquisition tactic
  • Why he didn’t raise money from VCs but instead raised from a practical investor who had grown and sold a bootstrapped company

Curricula Company Facts

  • Founded: 2015
  • Software Type: Cybersecurity awareness training content and platform
  • Funding: Bootstrapped with savings and credit cards until revenue grew, then $3 million in private non-VC funding to accelerate growth
  • Acquisition: Curricula was acquired for $22 million in 2022 by Huntress, a complimentary cybersecurity platform
  • Number of Employees: Founding team of 4 friends grew into 15 employees
  • Location: Atlanta, GA


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Greg Head recorded this on episode on August 19, 2022 for the Practical Founders Podcast see all of the episodes.

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