Practical Founders Podcast

#92: Bootstrapped Integration Platform Growing Faster by Niching In and Doubling Down – Charlie Alsmiller

Charlie Alsmiller is the founder and CEO of APIWORX, a powerful integration platform for mid-sized ecommerce companies. Charlie is an experienced, practical founder who has created and grown several software companies. His first venture was VC-funded and shut down quickly in 2001. His next software ventures were bootstrapped with funding from services revenue and his own savings.

APIWORKS is a powerful integration platform that connects Shopify data to accounting software and other applications. Charlie started the company in 2020, with well over $1M in annual recurring revenues and 30 employees. They are growing faster by focusing on key vendor ecosystems and specific customer problems where they have a unique advantage.

In this episode, Charlie shares:

  • What happened when challenges arose in his first company, which was VC-funded
  • Why he started a services business to find and fund his next software business
  • What happened after his first successful exit that made him start another company
  • How he ideated and validated to discover the best startup idea to invest in
  • Why they are growing faster every time they niche down on specific vendor ecosystems 
  • Why startup CEOs should eventually focus on their superpowers and delegate everything else

Quote from Charlie Alsmiller, founder and CEO of APIWORX
As a startup founder, you need to really know yourself. Know your personality type, know your skills, and know your superpower. Focus on what you do best and where you add the most value.

“I have the superpower of whacking the machete to start new things, clearing the brush away in new markets, and figuring it out. And I’m pretty good at recruiting people who can do the things I don’t do well. Now my team tells me, Charlie, don’t do that, we’ll do it and you go do that thing over there.

As an early-stage founder, you start by taking out the trash, doing software development, doing marketing, and everything else. As soon as you can scrape together the pennies to outsource or hire those other things you’re not good at, you should do it because it allows you to double down and grow faster. That’s the game changer for your growth.



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Greg Head recorded this on episode on May 10, 2024 for the Practical Founders Podcast see all of the episodes.

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