My friends @robwalling and @einarvollset just launched TinySeed, an accelerator for software companies where a successful outcome is a healthy, sustainable business rather than attempting to ride the rocketship trajectory. https://t.co/LSHqZNcVid

I have some thoughts:

As somebody who bootstrapped ~4 companies, I feel like I had to make some clearly suboptimal decisions early in them for lack of what is, in hindsight, not all that much money. But there's a huge gap in the product space for investment options.
It's weird: you can get $25k from Amex trivially, and angels are very willing to write a check for that much, but you have to make representations about your goals/ambitions/market/etc which don't really apply to everyone.
And so you see the traditional angel/VC ecosystem fund companies where honestly the returns are probably not there, and this is knowable pretty early, but the chase of them will wreck what could have been a perfectly happy business.
(To make the math work for traditional VCs the company has to at least have a market-appropriate shot of $100 million a year. There are a lot more $10 million a year companies than $100 million a year companies. That is *not* a bad terminal outcome for founders/employees.)
I'm glad that there is some experimentation in this space, and know of at least 3 teams in the MicroConf community which are doing takes on it. It's a natural evolution for entrepreneurs after doing the bootstrap-from-nothing thing ~5 times.
You get basically 5~10 shots at building a company in your life, and a lot of my peers are discovering simultaneously "Hmm about half of my shots are spent and I want to be really selective about what I do next but oh goodness still want to be involved in ALL THE SOFTWARE."
And investing has historically been a natural next step for operators in e.g. Silicon Valley; you get to both enjoy vicariously the early days without having to be up at 2 AM anymore, and you get to give back to the community. But bootstrappers have different values/tolerances.
So I see it as a great thing that there is experimentation regarding the reinvestment and mentoring model in the bootstrapping community as well. And I can't think of anybody I'd trust more on this than Rob; he's the real deal.

More from Patrick McKenzie

There are a *lot* of software shops in the world that would far rather have one more technical dependency than they'd like to pay for one of their 20 engineers to become the company's SPOF expert on the joys of e.g. HTTP file uploads, CSV parsing bugs, PDF generation, etc.


Every year at MicroConf I get surprised-not-surprised by the number of people I meet who are running "Does one thing reasonably well, ranks well for it, pulls down a full-time dev salary" out of a fun side project which obviates a frequent 1~5 engineer-day sprint horizontally.

"Who is the prototypical client here?"

A consulting shop delivering a $X00k engagement for an internal system, a SaaS company doing something custom for a large client or internally facing or deeply non-core to their business, etc.

(I feel like many of these businesses are good answers to the "how would you monetize OSS to make it sustainable?" fashion, since they often wrap a core OSS offering in the assorted infrastructure which makes it easily consumable.)

"But don't the customers get subscription fatigue?"

I think subscription fatigue is far more reported by people who are embarrassed to charge money for software than it is experienced by for-profit businesses, who don't seem to have gotten pay-biweekly-for-services fatigue.

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A thread 👇

https://t.co/xj4js6shhy


https://t.co/b81zoW6u1d


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