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When starting feastively.com I thought by using lean concepts in an otherwise traditional industry, food supply chain, we could hack our way to market fit without spending too much. Of course, in hindsight, this seems like a naive thought. To get us started here were some sources of funds I put together.

  1. Corporate savings - While not a lot, given my prior lifestyle of craft beers and fine dining and spending on expensive hobbies, these helped me at least cover living expenses for a few months.
  2. Long service leave funds - One of the only reasons I prolonged my corporate career was to take home this paycheck. This was a good boost.
  3. Family funds - Both my parents and parents in law were very supportive of the idea of me starting out on this venture so they chipped in a fair bit.
  4. Refinancing - This is an avenue we're currently exploring so we can utilise equity in my property to free up some cash.
  5. Wages - While I'm working on the startup full-time I've been an associate instructor at General Assembly, Melbourne, teaching Product management. My wife too has taken on extra work on the side to keep the home funded. These earnings don't necessarily go towards the startup but definitely help with sustenance.
  6. Living standards - Like Kris Antczak said, I no longer consume 3 flat whites a day or go to classy pubs and dining venues on weekends. Docket deals, supermarket specials and shopping at local markets helps minimise ongoing expenses.

I still recall Marley Spoon's CEO (a competitor for us) quoting that building a food supply chain is really not a business one can bootstrap and his most important advice is to keep the business well funded. While the advice is sound, recent mega closures in food-tech in US and our quest to prove market fit means we don't quite qualify for even angel fundraising yet.

P.S. Something has to change about investing one's own super in their startup. It's an investment for the future, for making the world a better place and of course, my retirement. I can invest my super in someone else's startup with Spaceship but not my own. Happy to sign a waiver that the Government will not be responsible for my well-being after retirement.

P.P.S. I tried signing up to uber too but my past driving record wouldn't afford me this pleasure.

An airbnb listing is being actively considered.

Gardenhood
2 months ago

Gardenhood. I self-funded. I had to stop because I ran out of money before I hit the market (made poor hiring decisions, the agency I hired dumped me mid-build so I couldn't get to market, so now I have all the IP, a website that needs further work, in-kind support from heavy weights in the industry but no money to launch it).

I won't give up but I've had to stop until I get my R&D Tax Incentive back and focus more on the money. In the meantime, I'm hammering my other business where I get a little bit more of an income as well as earnings from a property on Airbnb. Living on nothing, I haven't bought new clothes in around 2 years but I do eat out, it's my only luxury right now.

I started the project with a nice lot of money but burned through it quickly on developers and agencies. Now I'm learning how to build and manage what I have so I avoid working with the wrong people in the future.

Neil Cocker
2 months ago

Neil Cocker - CEO - RampTshirts.com - neil@ramp.fm

In short, we moved our business 1,400 miles to Sofia, Bulgaria!

We graduated from an accelerator programme in London just over a year ago. And as everyone around us started raising seed rounds to fund their operations. But having not long before been almost killed off by a disastrous fund-raising event, we decided that instead of raising seed capital, we would just slash our operating expenses.

By moving to Bulgaria, and employing a skeleton staff here, it gave us a lot more time and breathing space. We weren't making decisions based on any desperate need for revenue, which can often take you down the wrong path as you scramble for sustainability. A few lean weeks didn't result in us having to take out loans, or think about not taking a salary that month. We were making decisions that were right for the longterm growth of the startup.

So far I can safely say that it was exactly the right decision for us.

You can read about it in detail here, but I'm more than happy to answer specific questions you have about it.

https://blog.ignite.io/how-to-reduce-startup-overheads-by-over-60-or-why-i-moved-my-business-1-400-miles-to-the-other-3dc74bc6e376

Gardenhood
2 months ago

Awesome! Well done, I think raising capital is a buzz word in tech with little accountability. Great to see you thinking like a business person and being more agile.

Ben Lindsay
2 months ago

I ate nothing but egg salad sandwiches and cheap spaghetti bolognese for 4 months. I lost 8 kilograms, but it was all worth it... $30/week on food tops.

Gardenhood
2 months ago

This is my current life every day after developers ditch me pre-build. ha!

When starting emptyspot.com.au I didn't want to take on investor money at first. I looked at all possible ways to fund it myself. I was fortunate that I was working full time with a solid income, however I was also heavily in debt with investment properties. When starting out, I did a careful analysis and costing of my start up costs. Once I had an idea of the budget required I sought to see how I could fund it myself. I gathered the funds in multiple ways:

  1. Cash in the bank - see how much I could use towards this venture
  2. Regular income - using a big chunk of my regular income to fund the project along the way
  3. Equity in my properties - fortunately I was able to refinance and extract some equity from my investment properties. This posed many challenges later down the track with increased debt levels, reducing property valuations, leading to many sleepless nights. But it got the job done at the time and provided some of the funding needed.
  4. Credit Card - I had an existing credit card available in case I needed to access extra funds
  5. Business Overdraft - Took one out just to get by if needed.
  6. Annual Tax returns - Any tax returns that came my way were re-invested into the business
  7. Changed my living standards - less going out and 'smashed avocado' haha

But most importantly to note is that all of the above took 'time'. When bootstrapping my start-up and without investor funds, many of the build costs, marketing and growing of the business was spread over time. Again, this has some challenges as you are limited with what you can do, but when you play the long game in growing your business, this was the best strategy for us.

I am the founder of emptyspot.com.au