10/17/2014 11:00 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Concept vs. Business Funding


By now, I think I have got through to you: Investors fund businesses, not concepts.

So how do you actually build a business without funding? Let me introduce you to five entrepreneurs who can show you how: Ryan Allis built iContact with no financing to $1M in revenue, then raised significant venture capital, amassed solid revenue, and eventually sold the company for $169 million to Vocus.

Greg Gianforte took RightNow public, and eventually, Oracle acquired the company.

Tableau Software also went public.

Alteryx and Coverity are still private, but with substantial revenue.

If you read the case studies I have provided above, you will have a chance to simulate the experience of sitting down across from each of these entrepreneurs and ask them how they did it.

Try it. I promise you, they will teach you important lessons.

Cartoon: Book by Sramana Mitra and Irina Patterson. Art by Mike Varouhas.