Why Bootstrapping Is No Longer a Dirty Word in 2023

Ah you can apply that's okay Thank you very much welcome back from Lunch everybody I hope you are sated and Well thanks for being on time as well a Couple of very quick notes if you Haven't been here on the Builder stage So far today we're doing live q a there Are microphones there and there so if You have a question in the next panel Write it down we'll get to you and you Can ask it live to the panelists Themselves and if you are not into Taking notes and once you look up from Your laptop screen while we are running Otter so we have transcriptions of all The different panels you can just go Back and read whatever you missed or Just want to see again also the speakers From this panel will be in the tech Wrench plus Lounge when they're done and That brings me to what we're talking About next so a couple years back Raising Venture Capital was Comparatively easy and I'll say that Bootstrapping as a general concept was Looked down upon because people thought It was how you made a lifestyle business Well Venture Capital went away and now Bootstrapping is no longer a dirty word So we're going to learn more about how Startups are taking advantage of that And what we should all know about it so Please welcome to the stage Dominic Minority Davis you're a moderator Erica

From healthy and Hussein from Arta Finance [Applause] Oh Hello hello thank you everyone for being Here today So you know bootstrapping has always Been viable but now it might actually be Preferable Erica who's later here to Break that down for us so starting with Erica and then who's saying why didn't At first you take Venture Capital Funding So I'll go ahead and just start a bit up At the beginning and just tell a little Bit about our story Um Erica Jane co-founder and CEO at Healthy uh we have an EHR scheduling and Engagement platform for virtual First Healthcare we started in 2016. so about Eight years ago and we actually did take Venture funding at the outset and I'll Explain we went through an accelerator Program techstars raised a small seed Round thereafter and then operated Profitably for five years before taking On another round of funding last year And so a large part of our story and the Key theme that I think is important for Today's topic is that bootstrapping Isn't necessarily an All or Nothing Decision that you make in its evolving Journey over time And so for us and I'm happy to get much

More into this as we talk today it's About really thinking through the long Term of your business and being in Control and being in the driver's seat As to how you think about the capital Journey of your business Um so for me when I launched money manx One of the things that was critical for What I was trying to do was to really Focus on the product that I was building And build the product where I had the Control to come up with what direction I Wanted to take it in and which way I Wanted to build it and so I did end up Raising an angel round which we can talk About the differences of bootstrapping And raising versus not but the um the Goal was to always build a business First and and eventually expand from There Yes and I wanted to follow up with you Erica so you had you had a precede round And then you went five years without Venture Capital funding what was that Transition kind of like in terms of not Seeking another round That is the beautiful period of early Company building those five years are Critical and if I look at so many Success stories in in in company Building it's like the 12-year overnight Success story that we often read about Or hear about but those early years are When you're talking to customers you're

Building your product I always look at The mind-body example of being really Really pivotal for us because they Waited four years between their seed and Series a and that's a lot longer than Most companies take today but if you Think about it those are the years where They went in and they understood what The difference is between a yoga studio And a karate studio and they were really Able to shape their product to become Best in Class of what they were doing And so when I think about it for us Operating profitably is a beautiful Thing because you're aligning your Incentives with your customers customers Are keeping the lights on and customers Are what and who you are building for And that means that you are building the Best in Class products because that is What your survival hinges on and that is What is so incorporated into our company DNA even as we've scaled substantially Over the past few years and it really Comes down to that long-term mindset of Making sure that you're setting up your Business your team your processes your Culture your DNA and your decision Making for the long term so that you are Around for many many years to come did You face any like peer pressure during That time to to go back and get another Round of VC funding I mean perhaps it's naivete a lot of the

Times of not really paying attention to The noise of just being so focused on Building and wanting to be there for our Customers that I've never really been the type of Person to care about or look at those Vanity metrics like how much Capital Someone has raised or from who or what's Here or brand of investors because We're just so focused on what we're Doing and we got really lucky with our Seed stage investors as well because we Brought on people and investors that are Also those long-term thinkers that Weren't putting pressure on us to make Those types of decisions And he's saying you you mentioned that About a difference between bootstrapping And Angel Investing so I just want you To talk a little bit more about what That difference is sure Um so you know there's a little bit of Misconception out there where people Think when you say I'm a bootstrapper That means you don't have funding you Don't have any money you don't have the Resources to do what you want to do and The reality is bootstrapping just means You have a different kind of funding Some people go down the credit card path Some people go down to Grants Angel Investments so for money Banks I had Angel Investors but from the get-go we Were on the same page on setting

Expectations of where this company is Headed and what our goals are so you can Still raise funding as a bootstrapper as Long as you know everybody's on the same Page on what you're going to do with Those funds and what what the future of The company is And just to talk title of our panel Really quick why was bootstrapping a Dirty word like why was there such a Stigma around it You know I think it's because there's This idea of oh you're bootstrapping Because you can't raise funding or You're bootstrapping because you don't Have the skills to take the company to Scale or to profitability or anything Like that and maybe that's where the Stigma comes from but Um you know even before the companies That I'm working with now Um the company that I worked for which Was called e-capital they were a very Successful company and the tens of Millions of dollars in Revenue but it it Was all bootstrapped right Do you have anything to add Yeah I go back to the fundamental Premise of for healthy in particular we Can only make an impact in healthcare if We are alive and that's a long-term Forever game And when I think about terms like Bootstrapping or raising venture or all

Of these things I really just goes back To how do I make sure that our company Is going to deliver on its Mission and Be around in 10 years and that comes With a long-term mindset around Capital Raise and capital allocation so when I Think about you know how to raise Capital there's so many different types Of capital to raise how much who to Raise from and and the who to raise from Is actually the most important part of This equation a lot of that requires Time time to build the right Relationships with the right investors That are actually going to be on your Journey for years and years and years Time to build Out product time to build Out your team time to build out and Evolve your company's mission And that takes a long-term mentality so When I think about the short term or Early stages of a company and I'm happy To go into that and you know some of the Challenges that we faced a lot of it Comes back to I need to find the right People who are going to believe in our Company Long Term and be there in the Trenches with us so that we are around In five to ten years in order to deliver On our mission on a bigger scale So somewhat on that note given the Current market environment and the Economic climate for many people what Mix of financing options are best for

Startup bounders looking to have or have Capital these days Um Look it depends on your goals and what You're trying to do so if you are a Company who might be in healthcare who Is able to get some kind of Grant from The government right those are always Great because it's it doesn't come with Any dilution they don't take any equity In your company and you just get the Funds there are requirements obviously But that's one option for others Um you know when I raised for my company The angel investors I chose they were on The same page on you know I'm not sure If this is going to ever get to venture Scale we might keep it as a private Company and just grow it from there and Eventually you can pay dividends so There's there's multiple options there's The stories of you know you're not a Founder if you didn't put your whole Company payroll on a credit card like It's probably not a good idea right but There's there's good options out there And For one thing is what you said is Options and I we talked to Founders so Often and the number one piece of advice Is to put yourself in the driver's seat Such that you have every option possible And so much of this depends on things Like life circumstance

Um your background and also the company Goals but even if you think about the Traditional sources of funding you want To preserve optionality at every stage In the journey especially the early days Because you don't want to end up in a Situation later where you are forced to Make decisions that you don't want to Make as a Founder in the best interest Of your customers and your employees And that's one thing bootstrapping does Give you right is options as soon as you Start going down the VC route which is Also a really good option for most People you start having less and less Options because now you've got the VC Pressure with you Well I think that's the real piece of it Is we are on the Venture track but we Chose to go on the Venture track and That's again going back to optionality Of we were in a position when we raised Our series a last year to say okay great We've learned from the first six years Of our company's history we are ready And we know the implications of what it Means to take on another round of Financing and we are ready for the Implications of what that means for Growth for spend for strategy and still Picked long-term mindset investors who Are our patient investors And why did you decide to go back to Venture funding after five years

You know it's less of a decide to go Back versus Not participate it's much more about I Am here to build a big business we are Here to build a big business and make an Impact in health care and that is what Motivates our team every single day to Wake up and work as hard as we can to Deliver for our customers and capital Allocation is an important part of that Because it allows us to make The Hires To make the right Investments to make The right platform and infrastructure Decisions that we need to make for scale But it becomes less of a conversation Around like when to re-enter or how much To raise or from whom because we're Operating with that genuine long-term Mindset of we are here for our customers And we're here to make a positive impact In the industry and what I've also Learned is that Enterprise grade Software takes years to build and be the Best at no matter how much money you Raise and that's not something something That you can build overnight if you you Know raise 100 million dollars and go Out and have the best product that still Takes years and years and years and Years and that's what we've become Really good at Um and the related point is for our Customers I need to be able to tell them And look them in the eye and say look I

Am not dependent on my next round of Financing to keep the lights on because We offer Healthcare critical business Critical software Yeah I was actually going to ask when You did decide to go back to VC funding And even in the beginning when you got You know your precede round how did you Kind of negotiate how much Equity you Were going to give away in your company I think this goes back to being in the Driver's seat and being in a position Where we were profitable when we raised Our series a and I hadn't been in Market In a long time and when we went out to Raise it was very much with the genuine Belief of Hey we're going to go out to Market We're going to see what happens But if we do not find the right partner That we get along with if we do not Think that the packages or the Arrangements or the deals make sense for Our company our customers and our team Then we hold ultimate walk away power And I think it was that confidence and That conviction that ended up being Putting making our situation such that We had multiple term sheets we had Multiple offers on the table but it was Because we genuinely knew and had that Ultimate walk away power and I urge Every founder in the room to really Think about how you can make that a

Reality and of course so much of this Depends on your exact business your Exact vision for your company and what You want for it and what your Co-founders want and what your team Wants but miss timing that or not having Those conversations up front Um can have really negative consequences On your business And I want to talk a bit about family And friend rounds because what is the Script that you use to approach a family Member or a friend to say hey can you Invest in my company especially if Someone might not be familiar with the World of like VC and investment like What is the script that you use so you Go I've got this idea it's going to make You billions right yeah Um look I think it comes back to again Just being on the same page on this is What I'm building this is why I'm Building it here's the problem that I'm Seeing out there here's why I'm going to Solve this problem even though it's Family and friends uh treat it just like A VC round right like explain what You're doing why you're doing it why You're going to solve it and how you're Going to make money and then get on the Same page on are you ever going to pay Me back right or is this like Rich uncle And you're never seeing your money again Or is it

Um you know I might end up paying Dividends at the end of the month so Just as we become profitable we'll start Sending money to everybody that's Invested in us or is it truly we're Going to try to end up in a VC Um world afterwards so just get on the Same page And when it comes to those early days of Bootstrapping where people might still Be working their nine to fives while Also building this on the side Um how would you like this is a personal Finance question but how much of like Their paychecks or of you know extra Capital that they have that you would Recommend them putting into the company Versus you know towards life expenses Yeah Um so I don't know that there's a Percentage it kind of depends on your Hobbies your family situations do you Have kids do you not have kids are you Married those kinds of things uh for me It was I put in the money that I knew That yesterday might impact my Retirement plan but it's not going to Impact my day-to-day for me and my kids And my wife right so it was money that Maybe for somebody else they would buy I Don't know some kind of toy like an ATV Or something right we live in San Diego Everybody has an ATV for some reason but Is it something like that where as you

Grow just invest the money that you can Invest and know that if you lose it You're not going to lose your house too So for us we started the company as Students so my co-founder was 18 years Old Freshman year of college and I was in my Mid-20s we did not have a lot of you Know savings or Investments that we Could have picked but we had the Advantage of being students and that Gave us those first crucial four months On campus where This became our extracurricular this Became our class project this became Every single day every single minute of Our Lives real fast and my co-founder Cabin he built the one of our platform Over Christmas break and we launched Um in January of 2016 and very quickly We realized that there are two types of Companies there are companies that are Going to make money day one and there Are companies that are not going to make Money for years AKA like the Facebook And then figure out how to monetize Later we realized that we were the day One gonna make money and as a result Hence began our our day of fiscal Responsibility and we were like you know What money and bringing money into the Into the door is a symbol that we are Providing value to our customers because They are willing to pay for our product

And so during those early days it was Very much about you know the dollars was Small I think our first check was seven Dollars and we were like so thrilled About seven dollars of mrr but it was The right philosophy and DNA to say we Are going to build we are going to make Money from day one and we're going to Figure out how to keep the lights on Through Revenue How did you manage your burn rate in Those early days So we applied to a lot of on-campus Grants and we got rejected from like all Of them Um I think that I got the feedback from Like the business school competitions That are our decks for way too Consultancy because that was my Background and they were totally right Um and we I you know I didn't pitch very Well in those early days especially so We got rejected we got like a couple Thousand dollars from one Grant on Campus and that was enough to keep going For the first few months first couple of Months and then we got dorm room fund And so that was Um the biggest check we had seen to date Ever that gave us the ability to to Build the MVP and so those were like the Early days of that and but this goes Back to like the capital intensity of Your business

Um and what you can do that's like very Different than a hardware business that Just requires a much larger upfront Investment You know for me um a lot of what I tried To do is when we needed tools for Example like marketing automation we Couldn't just go by Salesforce right or Anything big like that or HubSpot or any Of those and what I started doing was Going through uh trying to find deals on Like pay for Lifetime licenses which are Usually newer startups and then we also Started applying for things like the AWS Startup program the Microsoft starter Like all of the ones that I could apply To just to get credit so that we can Have striped for free AWS for free You know Azure for free those kinds of Things and so the thinking was how do I Still use the same tools some of the Bigger companies were using but not Necessarily have the same price tag so That was one side of it and then when it Came to engineering costs uh for me it Was all about like I had to hire Engineers outside of the US that were Just cheaper hourly rates Yeah and we spoke a little bit about This in our prep call about the Responsible ways to use credit cards to Build a company so I wanted to kind of Talk to you about that and if you had Any advice from experiences in terms of

How to properly use lines of credit to Scale a company in the early days yeah When you tap into a line of credit you Kind of have to remember you're going to Have to pay it back and when you're a Bootstrap company and you're new and Nobody knows who you are you're most Likely putting your personal credit on The line too right so it's one of these Things where you have to approach with Caution and think of anything that you Pull out of a credit card or a line of Credit that's a loan you have to pay Back and it's an investment right so if I'm pulling 10K how am I going to get This 10K back so I can pay it back it's Not it's not funds that are just going To disappear into the ether and you Can't file bankruptcy and then not worry About it your personal credit is going To get impacted At what point did both of you look to Hire a CFO for your companies We have an incredible VP of Finance Today That came in six years into our company So I think it comes down to but Ultimately that timeline is irrelevant For any other company except for our own Because it depends on the nature of your Business For very financially complex companies You may need a CFO day one and that may Be a critical hire for you as part of

Your path but for healthy our finances Were very well relatively simple and Straightforward up until we raised our Series a and we just realized there was A level of sophistication that you know Warranted yeah so for me I actually Exited money minks to artha finance two Years into the journey and so I never Got into a full-time CFO but I used CFO As a service that handled the financing Handled accounting taxes all those kinds Of things so I can really just focus on The product and my users and not think About You know making sure I don't mess up Gap Rules or anything like that And Eric I kind of want to talk to you a Little bit more about those five years Where you didn't have like any VC Funding because what were some of what Were some more of the perks that you had Without having you know investors always I don't know down your back The way I view this is that we had a Great group of investors that were Actually there to help us strategically They had been around the block had built Companies of our their own and had seen The common pitfalls and wins of what Companies do well and what companies Don't do well so we were able to Leverage their expertise expertise of The networks that we were building Amongst other Founders and really just

Focus on the building part and that part Is so special and fun and hard and Challenging and easy and we made so many Mistakes along the way But never once was it a pressure I put Enough pressure on myself to succeed I Don't need more pressure what I need is Time the ability to work with my team And the ability to learn from my Customers and build for my customers and That's the value of this term Bootstrapping and what you know I I Don't I think the term boost dropping is Fine but it really just comes down to Long-term mindset and long-term thinking And I'll tell you we do well today and We have an incredible product because We've been building for so many years Watching our customers so closely Listening to them and really making sure That we were delivering value because if We don't deliver value they don't pay They churn and that's how you Continuously get better and better and Better And what was the relationship or how was The relationship different I guess for You and your angel investors versus Traditional VCS yeah Um so what the angel investors Um you know from the beginning we had The conversations of I wasn't sure if This company was going to End up becoming venture-backed right and

If I'm going to Pivot into that Direction or if I'm going to keep it as A private business and so we had a very Good understanding of what am I trying To do what am I trying to build what's The future of this company we did have With I had two different groups of Angel Investors and I would we meet with them Once a month tell them exactly what was Going on where we're heading what the Plans are Etc so even though we didn't Have a formal board and they weren't Technically they didn't have any voting Rights or anything like that I kind of Made them feel as they're part of the Business they're part of the You know who's working on building this Company and so I you know I feel like we Were on the same page from day one when You go down the VC route it does become A little bit more formal right where you Have board meetings you have Expectations they Grill you on your Goals they Grill you on what you're Saying you're going to do and not do They tell you what you should do and Those kinds of things so it's a very Different dynamic But that depends on the investors that Depends on the investor sure yeah And aside from the family and friends How did you go about initially meeting Your angel investors Um so one of them

Was after I got actually coverage on TechCrunch with Marianne You rock Marianne I know she's not here And the fintech team at TechCrunch but Once I got the coverage here it was Inbound from him where he said I saw you On TechCrunch you know can we meet I'm Interested in what you're doing and then The other one was through a networking Group it was a just a Founder group on Facebook and I I was posting on what I Was doing and we had a meeting so it's Very you know inbound is how it happened Oh wow and when you decided to jump back Into the VC game how did you go about Doing due diligence on the investors That you really wanted to work with okay That's a great question going back to You want to be in the driver's seat One of the most important decisions You're going to make is who you end up Taking capital from especially if it's Going to be your lead investors and I Think gone are the heydays of 2021 or Maybe they're coming back or maybe They're still there Um it's not a one-time money in the bank Then no more this is a long-term Relationship with an individual or a Fund or a group of investors that you Want to make sure you are getting to Know very genuinely and so for us it was The same mentality of Hustle but it's Talking to other Founders it's hearing

About their reputation it's doing the Back Channel references and Asking them the really hard questions One of our investors literally said Here's my portfolio here are two Companies I want you to speak with who Have done really well and more my Portfolio and here are two references With whom the company didn't work out But we're still friends because I want You to know how our fund reacts and how We approach it when times are not good And I think the fact in itself that that Investor said hey here are two companies Of which you know they didn't didn't do Well but you know we were there in our Portfolio Is a indicative of who they are as People they're not trying to hide things And be Um indicative that they were going to be Good partners to us in good times and Bad because no journey is up into the Right all the time and that's just the Reality of business so the diligence Piece is so so important and I cannot Stress enough how important it is to Find the right investors for your Business Um You know I think everything you're Saying is is spot on and just remember That when you get a check whether it's An angel a friend and family or even a

VC it comes with requirements right and Just be careful of just taking in any Money you can because it used to be in The past in the oldest they used to say If you're getting VC who wants to invest In your money like take any paycheck you Can take and just cash it and don't do That right like just be careful of which Investor you're you're bringing on and What they're expecting of you for that And thinking of people who are Bootstrapping Um is there any is there a city where It's best to bootstrap I'm thinking Because the cost of living is really Really high in some places is it better To like bootstrap in the middle of Georgia than it is in I don't know SF in New York San Diego people go to San Diego Um I think it's I don't know if it's Necessarily the city it's more the Lifestyle right so I mean I was in a position where I Bootstrapped where I was an executive at A fintech in San Diego so I was pretty Privileged in that I could afford to put In money that I wasn't going to spend Elsewhere and things like that Um but I would say it's about your cost Of living and your priority so if you're Younger you know maybe having roommates Maybe you know not having a car or Things like that like there's ways where

You can lower your cost of living to be Able to pull it off Um being even though San Diego is not The center it's not like up here there's A lot of Founders there's a lot of People working on startups working on Tech so you kind of need that to Community So Um being in the middle of nowhere and Trying to do your startup might be a Little bit hard We started the company in Philadelphia We moved to New York during our Techstars program and we're Headquartered in New York Um we still are that being said we're Remote first and we have employees in Over a dozen states today and that to me Goes back to in a remote first Environment it's all about your culture It's all about how you think about Making decisions it's all about how you Think about onboarding and training your Team and it's remote first so geography Is independent of that but that's why a Lot of us is just like the operating Principles by which you start day one And evolve and make and make sure that You evolve carefully over time as you Scale Yes and I also just want to remind People that we are doing audience q a so If you want to line up by the

Microphones for any questions you might Have I will take them Um okay so not that sort of way what is The biggest what is like a financial What the biggest Financial lesson you've Learned throughout running and operating Your businesses and I'm talking about Like like a financial failure that Taught you a lesson I mean in our seed run we we probably Wasted most of our seed money we made so Many mistakes we hired the wrong people We spent so much money on like Google Ads and Facebook ads and we thought you Know we were doing all of the right Things I look back on that period and Say wow we really messed up and we were Given the benefit of being able to Rebuild from that experience but going Back to no journey is always up and to The right Um we are in a really lucky and Incredible position today but that has Not always been the case and we have Blundered money Um but given the benefit of being able To learn and that's the part where you Know you only learn this through Experience no amount of business school Is going to teach you the importance of Fiscal Independence and responsibility But we wasted so much money early on and And you just learned those lessons over Time and I think that's

Um really a testament to the fact that We've learned from our mistakes we try Not to make the same mistake twice and Our team today knows and operates with Fiscal responsibility even as we're Scaling very quickly because of what We've learned over the seven and a half Years of our company's existence Um for me I would say you know as a Product Builder it's very easy to just Do the fun things which is keep building Add new features fix that little bug and Things like that and it's launching too Late right so I think financially Um I could have launched a lot earlier Even though when I launched I said this Is not ready for prime time but I'm Going to do it anyways just remember That once you launch that's when the Journey Begins and that's when you start Getting real feedback from real users And hopefully paying members and so just Launch like do it and you'll be you'll Be good on that note that is totally Correct If you're building in Tech your MVP is Actually the easiest build you will ever Go through it's all the stuff that comes After that it's the platform the data Infrastructure the devops the tooling It's the V1 of features are easy it's Easy to get to 85 but going from 85 to 99 that takes years that takes Refinement that takes money that takes

Strategy that takes hiring the best Designers and the best product people in The world to become the best that's when The real fun Parts but that that's not Easy yeah And we have some audience questions Yes uh well I'm Samuel Rodriguez I run a Legal Tech platform called graphic and I'm a bootstrapper as well and well Thank you for your Insight uh really Really good because I feel so related to One of the questions that I have is um You are a trapping company and so if you Decided to go and ask for money for Funding or raise funds what are the Things that you consider for uh for Asking the money like uh Um I have this question in my mind that What will be the evaluation of the Company and what are the parts that you Rely on your Insight or in your mind to Consider or putting in in the money like Like I don't know like those uh side Effects that we'll bring to have this External money in your company I think that's a great question and it Goes back to this fundamental premise of Bootstrapping does not mean you're not Going to raise external capital I really View this as the concept of really Thinking long term and having Um control over the capital allocation Of your company over time and being in The driver's seat of when and how and

From whom you were going to raise Capital so when you think about you know Going out to raise Capital you are doing So from a genuine position of strength And that has really good implications For you as a founder and for your team And when you think about going out to Market you can be very very genuine and Open and say look this is my genuine Vision for the company we believe in This we're doing this and we are looking For really good people who are going to Be good partners to us long term take The time to develop those relationships I think gone are the days of this 24-hour term sheet and start to think About who's going to be your strategic Partner as you go upon this Mission and Things like valuation all of that will Sort itself out over time because I Think you were actually looking for good Operating partners that can help you as You're going about your journey Thank you Um you know the only thing I would add Is if you once you're raising if you're Trying to figure out okay I bring in This money and where this money is going To be allocated you should know that Answer ahead of time of I'm going to Raise 750k because I'm going to do ABC With this money right and that's part of Your own planning on knowing what are You doing and why and VCS are going to

Ask you this question right they're Going to want to know what what are you Doing with those funds which is at that Exactly and be truthful in your answers Because once you take on Capital you Want to know how you're going to deploy That Capital otherwise you're just Sitting there with really expensive Dilution on your balance sheet and There's no need for that Thank you Hi both of your stories are extremely Inspirational for a bootstrap founder so My question is particularly to do with Attracting early Talent when you're Bootstrapping how did you guys manage to Hire the first two guys in your team We one of the stats that I'm most proud Of is how many of our earliest team Members are still with us today we have Team members that are have been Unhealthy for seven years seven years Seven years six years five years five Years and a lot of that just Is so agree against the grain of Traditional uh Careers and job hopping and a part of it Is luck in meeting the right people During those earliest stages of the Company and I think a large part of that Comes down to culture of how you build And how you think about treating other People and how you think about giving People personal and professional

Opportunities that they are really Excited about finding people that are Really aligned with the mission and Vision of what you're building and Setting them up for long-term success so There's no clear-cut answer and I know That you know if you're bootstrapping You don't have Revenue you're like every Dollar counts it's really really hard to Find those people Um but I think that's part of the magic Of the earliest days Yeah the only thing to add is when I Initially started I actually focused on Contractors because I couldn't afford Full-time employees from the start And it was very quick right I mean you You'll hear the term you high or slow And Fire fast and so these were Contractors and the ones that stuck with Me the longest were basically they were The leaders of the pack right Okay thank you Hi thank you for the conversation today Actually my question relates to the Gentleman question uh what do you think About near Shoring hiring Something we practice in my company I Think we had a very good experience but I wanted to hear Your ideas and the advantages the Disadvantages of doing so The advantage and disadvantages of near Shore sure sure near Shoring so I I can

Speak to this one a little bit it's so The question is about hiring Engineers Usually that are near shore so most Likely Latin America I think it's a Great idea right especially now with a Remote first company like the one you Have where everybody's dispersed anyways So they don't have to be here but I Would say to another thing Eric Mentioned in the beginning culture Becomes really important right if you're Trying to build a business You want to make sure as you're bringing On these employees even if they're in Brazil or Argentina or anywhere like That They have to be on the same page they Have to follow your culture they have to Join your company and be part of the Group versus Just some engineer that's pulling linear Bugs and working on them right Looking to found a company Um I'm really glad Erica that you talked About the student Founders journey and I Wonder if you could talk a little bit About how best to take advantage of that Time and that personal Runway you have While you're still a student Absolutely uh being a student and Starting a company is actually amazing Because you have time And you actually also have no fear Because you kind of know that you can

Find a job if you need to and you can Just always do recruiting and it's going To be okay and so that fearlessness is Actually part of what I think it takes To dive in and start something because It's a highly irrational thing to start A company I did not start the company Thinking I was going to be a Founder I Actually was just like looking into a Business area realized that nutritional Care and coaching was just highly Overlooked in health care and that was The ripple effect to say well okay how Can more nutritional care and coaching Get delivered in health care to solve Chronic disease and diabetes okay wait You talk to these these professionals And then you realize that they don't Have technology that they need to even Deliver the care that they needed so Then began the days of building out the Platform term and then begin the days of Okay great I know nothing about starting And running a company I got to become an Expert in this you're not going to learn That in business school you're going to Learn that by doing it and being on Campus gives you that ability to just Learn really really fast and I remember You know looking at the simple stuff and Be like well how do I incorporate a Company and that became a thing or how Do I think about all the early day stuff Um but being a student you're just kind

Of fearless about it candidly and so That coupled with we got rejected from a Ton of these grants and that was Discouraging but like whatever you know You keep on going He never let that stop you Um to just figuring it out talk to as Many people as you can talk to anyone That will talk to you back and just Start building and again I think the the Fundamental premise is figuring out the Revenue Um I call it a day one question of are you Gonna make money day one are you not Going to make money day one and if you Are going to make money day one just Start figuring out how to make a few Dollars and that's your that's your Snowball that really sets things up You know one key thing is this talk to Anybody you can Um I've been out of school for almost 15 20 years now so it's been a long time But every now and then I'll get emails From people in San Diego that either Went to SDSU UCSD USD things like that And It's one of my favorite emails to get is To help a student out right with advice Or a connection or anything like that so Don't be afraid to reach out to people Especially if they're within your uh Wherever your school is

Thank you And that is all we have time for but I Know there are some people still at the Mic uh we will be going to the CC plus Lounge to continue this discussion but Otherwise thank you so much and thank You everyone for coming thank you

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