To answer this question we first need to define success. We start companies for many reasons, but in this case, let's define success as building a business to a scale where it changes the lives of the founders and their families.
A couple of weeks ago, an ad-tech company called AppLovin was sold for $1.5 billion. More notable than the acquisition price, was the news that the company had only raised $4 million from investors since inception. In the article
, the founder stated, "I couldn't find anyone to give us an investment at what I thought was a reasonable starting point valuation (maybe $4 million or $5 million) and, by the end of our first year of operations, we were profitable and doing over $1 million a month in revenue," he explains. "So I put together a round with angels not really because we needed the cash, but because I thought these were influential people who could help us grow."
This week, the founders of MailChimp published their financial performance and revealed
that they have bootstrapped to a $400 million run rate and 550 employees. MailChimp is a huge bootstrapped success, and similar to what we're doing at Castle, the MailChimp founders bootstrapped the business inside a digital agency, using the capital from services to grow their startup.