Practical Founders Podcast

#2: Bootstrapped to $2 Billion Valuation in 10 years – Jonathan Cronstedt (JCron) of Kajabi

Jonathan Cronstedt, also known as JCron, was the president of Kajabi software from 2016 through 2021 as 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.

Kajabi is a leading “knowledge commerce” platform for experts and entrepreneurs to market and sell their expertise as online content. 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 300 employees
  • 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.

Kajabi Company Facts

  • Leaders: Ahad Khan, CEO; Kenny Rueter, co-founder and executive chairman
  • Software Type: Small business knowledge commerce (digital education + marketing automation) platform
  • Funding: Bootstrapped until $50M revenue, then PE funded, then and VC funding of over $550M with a $2B valuation in March 2021
  • Number of Employees:  400+ and growing
  • Office Location: Irvine, California
  • Founded: 2010


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Greg Head recorded this on episode on June 26, 2022 for the Practical Founders Podcast see all of the episodes.

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