The Joys of Responsible Bootstrapping

Startups in Canada 2021 2019-08-05
The Joys of Responsible Bootstrapping

When Peter Oxley, my father John Swan and I first met about building a website that would unite entrepreneurs and investors, one thing was immediately clear. We would not make money for a long time. 

Unlike a business with an existing model, Liftoff Capital was an unknown entity. We knew it would take an alignment of certain people and events for us to get off the ground, and we knew that it was more than likely that we would be paying for that to happen using income from our day (and night, and weekend) jobs.

The old adage that time is money only tells half the story. Giving up the precious-little spare time you have, to work on your dream-business may not necessarily convert itself into money - especially when your business is an unproven model. That invested time does, however, afford you the freedom to be creative, and to make sure the process you are developing works well for your clients. 

By taking on extra hours in the hospital, I’ve been able to pay for the expansion of the site. By having Peter grind extra hours at his medical device company, he’s been able to pay to fix the things that didn’t work, and further improve the things that do. 

I see Liftoff Capital as a nuclear reactor. In these early years, Peter, Maksym (our CTO), Sergey (our main programmer) and I must contribute enormous energy into mining the elements that will ultimately create a self-sustaining chain reaction. That is why, for example, the site is 100% free for our first cohort of users. We know that at first, interactions will be slow. With a few hundred entrepreneurs and investors, it’s likely that patience will be the greatest virtue for our clients as they wait for the “right” connection to sign up. 

Even still, we’ve seen some exciting success stories.  Imagine, though, how many more success stories there could be with a thousand users!  Or ten-thousand! Or a million!  It is the vision of that future that keeps us working hard at our other jobs, so we can continue to invest in this one. 

If the right partner were to come along, someone who shares that vision and can invest in a marketing campaign to catalyze our growth, of course we would be interested. But in the meantime, we ask that you spread the word about Liftoff Capital. Continue to be patient, and the next time you log in, cruise the other entrepreneur listings and build your networks. Together, perhaps we can jump start this reactor.

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