Successful Bootstrapped Startups

6 Successful Bootstrapped Startups That Have Become Global Enterprises

It’s a classic entrepreneurial business story. It starts with an amazing idea, gets pitched to investors with deep pockets and then becomes a multi-million pound business overnight. However, as easy as it sounds, it doesn’t work out like that. 

Bootstrapping is a term used in business to refer to the process of using only existing resources, such as personal savings, personal computing equipment, and home space, to start and grow a company.

In fact, a lot of startup Founders take a completely different route. Contapp is a prime example of a tech startup that has taken a more conservative and organic approach to growth.

We’ve chosen to bootstrap our way to success and become a serious contender in the app store as a personal business hub amongst business mobile apps. 

Here are 6 global businesses that are perfect examples of how businesses can thrive without a boost from the world of venture capital.

MailChimp (Founded in 2001)

Once started as a side project funded by various web-development jobs, Mailchimp is now the world’s largest marketing automation platform. There are over 15 million businesses and individuals, from startups to Fortune 100 companies, that trust MailChimp to connect the right people with the right message. at the right time.

The business is privately held and is based in Atlanta, GA, with more than 600 employees.

GoPro (Founded in 2002)

Inspiration for GoPro struck when the Founder, Nick Woodman, was on holiday in Australia. He noticed that the camera’s surfers were strapping around their wrists, kept breaking loose. Nick used his personal savings and a $35,000 loan from his mother, he launched GoPro.

More than 80% of startups are funded by the Founders’ personal finances

The business continued to be bootstrapped until 2012, when Foxconn invested $200 million. According to Bloomberg, 2 years later GoPro went public at a $2.96 billion valuation.

GitHub (Founded in 2008)

GitHub enables developers to share source code with everyone and make it public for free. However, if you need to hide your source code, GitHub will charge you a fee. This startup was bootstrapped for 4 years before raising $100 million.

The company was also the winner of TechCrunch’s best bootstrapped startup of 2008. Over 12 million people now use the platform and a 2015 funding round valued the company at $2 billion.

Kayako (Founded in 2001)

One of the most inspiring bootstrapped startup stories you’ll read. The Founder, Varun Shoor, was from a remote village in India and started the business after dropping out of college. He learned to code when he was just 13 years old and started to build his business at 17.

Kayako has not taken any investment from external investors, which is very uncommon for a Software as a Service (SaaS) startup. The platform now has well over 131,000 users.

Tough Mudder (Founded in 2010)

Both Co-founders spent $300 on a website and the remaining $8,000 from Will Dean’s bank account on Facebook ads to promote their boot camp–style footrace. It paid off. Over 5,000 people ran the first Tough Mudder course and more than 2 million people have run the company’s races in 10 countries since.

They generated more than $100 million in revenue through registration fees and sponsorship deals in 2015. To this day, no outside investment has been made.

Our Final Thoughts 

As a bootstrapped tech startup, we are proud to choose this unfamiliar approach as we continue to prove that it is possible to grow a startup without needing to burn money at every opportunity. With no outside investment, Contapp continues to grow organically with no paid-advertising and focusing on more cost-effective marketing methods.

Although it’s a slower process, the big names in this article are proof that with the right planning and execution, startups don’t need an endless pit of money to start.

Founders remember, this is a marathon and not a sprint. Don’t burn your cash and have a systematic approach to growth, you’ll thank you future-self.

Download Contapp for iOS or Android and discover our journey so far as a self-funded tech startup


  • Angelica
    February 5, 2021

    Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your site by chance
    (stumbleupon). I’ve book marked it for later!

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