You Don’t ‘Get’ Our Bootstrapped Company



Most people don’t understand what our company, Drifty, is all about.

I’m not talking about our branding or products, though that’s a separate thing we need to work on. I’m talking about who we are as a company, why we run the company the way we do, and what our goals are.

In the land of startups, there are two major operation styles: angel/VC funded, and bootstrapped. I am using Paul Grahams definition of startups=growth which I really like.

An angel or VC funded startup is the common style we read about in the tech news. These companies are raising successive rounds and following some standard practices that are known by many tech investors. They are trying to use cash to grow quickly, though many are just trying to pay employees at first (especially in high-cost locations).

A Bootstrapped startup, in comparison, isn’t following the popularized fundraising practices. That’s really all you can say about Bootstrapped companies.

Because being Bootstrapped implies a lot less about how you are running your company, most people are confused by them. Are they lifestyle businesses? Are they just startups that failed at fund raising? Do they just lack ambition?

When Ben and I started Drifty all we had was our friendship and passion for making software products together. Most people don’t know this but we’ve been best friends since we were small children. It’s something quite rare, I think. What’s even more rare is we developed complimentary skill sets and started a company together.

We enjoy working with each other, and we both see huge potential both in ourselves and our team to do incredible things. We pride ourselves on making cool shit. And we are generating more revenue than most startups ever will.

Right now Drifty is focusing on building products and services in the mobile development space. The first iPhone was released 6 years ago. It’s incredible to think how young this space is, how massive it is and will continue to be, and how it will rapidly evolve over the coming years.

Ben and I believe that if we did follow the traditional funding path, the lifespan of our company would be shortened in order to produce returns for our investors. Many of these companies come and go in a matter of years, with many exiting to just work for other people again.

The strange thing is despite most startup founders claiming they are going to change the world and make an impact, most of them get swallowed up by bigger companies, their brands and products never to be heard from again.

We believe we can build a big, important, and meaningful company, but that we shouldn’t rush it. We are playing the long game with Drifty. We are bootstrapping to not fall victim to forces that would have us focus on the short term at the expense of the long term.

I think it’s helpful to look at the companies we look up to. GitHub, Atlassian, Mail Chimp, 37signals, and SurveyMonkey are a few great examples. The interesting thing is that three of these companies have taken on lots of VC money.

But at the core, I think they all have similar characteristics of a strong founding team that was more interested in making something great that was going to be around for a while than to cash out.

That’s Drifty, and that’s what bootstrapping means to us. It doesn’t mean we will never try to raise, or we aren’t ambitious.

It just means we’re two stubborn best friends that just wanted to do things our way.

  • Tim Bornholdt

    Could not agree more. My best friend and I started our own app development company a couple of years ago, and we have a nearly identical philosophy with regards to how we run and grow our business. Kudos to you guys!

    • yesimahuman

      Awesome, great to hear. Keep it up!

  • Matt Ford

    Awesome stuff guys.

  • Bob Jones

    Looking forward to Ionic!


    we’re also fully bootstrapped guys. Kudos from the adsy team. Cheers.

  • nurazem

    Keep up the great work guys. Really love Ionic.

  • jvrunion

    Nail + Head, great write-up! Don’t let the Oracle’s and Google’s of the world consume your passion