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SXSW 2019

How to Bootstrap Your Company Towards an Exit

In 2008, I started a Belgian company to monetize a popular open source library that I had written. At first, I didn't have any success, so I tried again in 2009, founding a second company in the US. This US-based company made $300K in its first year, $700K in its second year, and when we hit $1M halfway 2011, I started a third company in Europe. Three years later, we won Deloitte's Fast50, having founded the fastest growing technology company in Belgium.

In this talk, I'll explain the strategies that were used to grow the company without any external capital (no loans, no business angels, no VC) and how this resulted in a partial exit in December 2015. In 2017, the company made 10.1M euro in revenue with an EBITDA of 4.1M euro, and I still own 23.6% of the shares.

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  1. Bootstrapping versus funding: what are the pros and cons?
  2. Which strategies can you use to grow without funding?
  3. What does the life cycle of a company look like from startup to exit?



Bruno Lowagie, CTO, iText Group NV

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Entrepreneurship & Startups
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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