We were transparent with customers when we needed to grow beyond them
To combat that risk we called every broker customer and were honest and transparent with them.
We explained what we were doing, why we were doing it, and how we could still provide value to them. We had invested time in building a high-quality product and service and had become the authority in a niche market. Our data and knowledge gave us confidence and made up for our lack of capital.
Launching a mortgage brokerage in 2014 allowed us to double down on what we knew best and resulted in our best year ever.
Life after bootstrapping: Looking toward venture capital
When you bootstrap, you stay conservative for a long time. We had plans for growth and saw enormous potential comparing more financial products like car insurance, but everyone was already too busy to take on anything more. We had a playbook to follow from our success in mortgages, credit cards, and savings products, but we couldn’t afford to hire one more person to launch the insurance vertical.
After seven years of bootstrapping, we had reached our max capacity and needed to look at venture capital. We had planted the seeds, the soil was fertile, the sun was shining, but we needed some water to flourish. We needed outside investment.
That’s when I went on the popular TV show Dragon’s Den.
At the time, we were making $10 million in revenue, and our entrepreneurial confidence was at an all-time high. All our plans were detailed, we had a good story, and we were laser focused on revenue and profit. We felt all these things gave us leverage to go for more.