Bootstrapping: Why These Entrepreneurs Chose Bootstrapping instead of VCs and Are Happier AND Richer For It

Think bootstrapping a company and making money from the get go is a quaint so last century idea?  Think again, and learn why these entrepreneurs prefer bootstrapping over VC funding.  Learn the pros and cons of bootstrapping, and how and why they chose to do it this way.
Backblaze is a Silicon Valley startup that did a very non-Silicon Valley like thing: They started and built a successful cloudbased consumer data backup business for five years before seeking out any venture capital.   Today, they have 100 employees and look to take on Amazon.
ProductPlan, a homegrown startup here in Santa Barbara began with a 10 x 10 office and the goal to remain bootstrapped. Learn how Jim Semick and his partner Greg Goodman used their market validation and software skills to surface a good idea and get their product launched fast. ProductPlan has grown into a 30 person company with no outside funding.
Software companies aren’t the only ones that are technical and VC funded.  Learn how reformed startup technology player Scott Stephan turned a passion for making beer into a profitable fast growing brewery right here in Goleta without tapping into big finance capital.
In today’s investment first profit whenever VC world, setting up a small business to make money right away almost seems like a quaint, and old school. However, in listening to these entrepreneurs stories, it’s clear that not all paths to startup success travel through Silicon Valley or VCs . They all took the bootstrapping road (or dirt path?) less traveled, and most surprisingly, are better for it.


Jim Semick, Founder, ProductPlan

Jim Semick is co-founder and Chief Strategist of ProductPlan, a business software company based in Santa Barbara. He has helped launch innovative new software products that are now used by millions of people. He was part of the founding team at AppFolio, a business SaaS company. Prior to AppFolio, Jim helped validate and launch the product concepts that became GoToMyPC, GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, and others. Jim is a frequent speaker on product management and how to create successful business models. @jimsemick

ProductPlan develops product roadmap software. Thousands of product managers worldwide–including teams from Hulu, Starbucks and Spotify–trust ProductPlan to help them visualize and share their roadmap strategies across their entire organization.

Brian Wilson, CTO & CFO, Blackblaze

Co-founding MailFrontier in 2002, Brian Wilson built a powerhouse technical team that developed technology that won awards from Network World, Cnet, PC Magazine, and many others and is protecting email in thousands of enterprises and for millions of users worldwide. Prior to founding MailFrontier, Brian founded and managed a software consulting firm, Codeblaze. He served as one of the software architects at Kendara, a startup formed in 1999. He also has held technical positions at Apple, SGI, Hewlett-Packard, Tivo and [email protected] Brian is a published author, has seven granted patents, and received a bachelor’s degree in engineering-physics from Oregon State University and a master’s in computer science from Stanford University. In addition to being CTO at Backblaze, Brian is also CFO (Chief Financial Officer) because law requires every corporation to have a CFO and Brian drew the short straw.

Scott Stefan, Ombudsman, Draughtsmen Aleworks

Scott knew from the first minute that he stepped onto UCSB’s campus on a perfect April day that Santa Barbara was the place in which he wanted to live. While completing his degree in Business/Economics, he discovered Spike’s and the Open Door and with it, Anchor Steam and Guinness and a ton of other great beer. Scott loves cycling and beer and fortunately for him, through both, he met and became friends with the nucleus that now forms the brewing dream team. He’s looking forward to lots of pints to share.



This Program will be moderated by Albert Oaten. Albert is the Vice President of Market Development at SecureDocs. Albert works with the team to identify new markets and market entry strategies. In his role, Albert speaks at association and industry seminars and events and helps lead rapid expansion into new markets. Albert is a surprisingly good athlete and plays a mean game of tennis. And (lucky for us) as a former actor, he is always prepared for an entertaining company skit. Albert graduated from Stanford University and has an MBA with honors from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University.

Event Registration

When:  Wednesday, April 18, 2017, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: 670 Mission Canyon Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105


  • Student: $15.00
  • General-Early-Bird (online only): $30.00
    Sign up now & save $10 off general walk-in rate. Offer ends Monday, April 16 at 8 p.m.
  • General-Walk-in: $40.00
  • Parking: FREE


  • 5:00 – 6:00 Networking Hour, Online Check-in & Registration for Walk-ins
  • 6:00 – 7:30 Presentation/Discussion
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Q&A

Tickets include appetizers and refreshments for both online and walk-in registrants. (Beer or wine separate– cash or pre-paid online or at check-in table.)

If you miss the Online Early-Bird Offer, we welcome guests on the day of the event at the Walk-in rate. (Online rate not applicable.) 

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