One of the core tenants of the Tech Ranch Austin is to surround entrepreneurs with a community support system to help them accelerate their ideas and businesses. The fun part of this collaborative community is to celebrate recognition. Today, we’d like to just that.
The Rackspace Startup blogJohn Courtney, founder and chief executive officer at Endao, a BPM software platform that radically changes the design and deployment experience for the better. Endao was part of the Tech Ranch Austin’s Venture Builder program.
You can read the full article over at the Rackspace blog, but we’ve included some highlights from the Q&A below with permission from Rackspace blogger John McKenna.
How was your startup funded?
We are totally bootstrapped, but that is not what we initially intended. In the beginning, we put together this really detailed business plan and passed it around to everyone we knew. They all said, “This look greats, but show us some customers, then we can talk about funding.” So we went out and got a few customers.
However, because we are selling to businesses, we had revenue almost from day one. After a few months, rather than go back to try to find investors, we made the decision to grow through cash flow. That decision has had a major impact on the way the business has grown. First and most obviously, we’ve had to grow much more slowly because we haven’t been able to ramp up quickly the way we initially envisioned.
The unexpected thing that came out of our slower growth is that we had to be hyper-focused on revenue and therefore hyper-focused on finding customers and therefore hyper-focused on building the product that our customers want. If we had gotten funding early on, we would have built and scaled a product based on flawed assumptions that probably would have failed. So because of our slower growth, we have a much better product. Looking back, this is exactly the way we needed to grow.
What business challenges did you run into building your startup?
I think the biggest challenge that we didn’t anticipate is that running a business and growing a business are often times mutually exclusive activities. When you have limited resources, mainly time, you can only focus on a few things. If you have customers, they always come first, so then you don’t have time to go out and get more customers. It’s been difficult maintaining a balance between the two.
What kind of support would be most helpful in the early days of Endao?
By far the thing that is most helpful is to find people that have deep experience to advise you as you go. You don’t have all the answers, but others have been in your shoes and probably have good advice. We’re a part of the Venture Builder program here at Tech Ranch in Austin and that been incredibly helpful for us.