Bootstrapping describes the process of building a company, business, or product without external investments. A bootstrapped business is funded by its founder(s) and grown by the customer-generated revenue. These types of companies usually grow far slower than VC-backed startups. But because of no external investors, you are more unrestricted in deciding what you do and when.
Honestly, I think I do this because of my ego. I like the freedom to decide on my own and accept the trade-off that this may be slower, riskier, and means more work for me. I also don’t need to become rich by building products or selling my company. I would not complain about it, but it’s not my main driver. Please read about what drives me.
I currently enjoy running my IT consultancy business a lot, helping my clients solve challenging problems. While doing so, I discover problems worth solving with bootstrapped products or services. It is a continuous cycle of experimenting and learning.
There are two projects in my portfolio: a B2B and a B2C focussed SaaS solution.
DevOps Metrics is the second product I am building. This time it is B2B and in an industry where I work with the audience every day: my clients and their engineering teams and managers. The main driver is that I want to build the tooling I miss every day at my work: analytics for tech organizations without bullshit metrics. And I am deeply convinced that this will solve much pain for engineering managers, heads, directors, VPs, and CTOs. It will enable more data-driven decisions in engineering management based on metrics that are proven to work.
I am still at the beginning of this journey and build it in public. You can follow the progress on Twitter.
Predegy is the first business I started in 2017. It is a B2C SaaS solution for football bettors, providing sophisticated predictions based on machine learning. Predegy is a word mixture of prediction and strategy.
Sports betting and machine learning: a combination I do since 2012. I self-taught artificial neural networks and essential data science skills back then because I wanted to see if I can predict the outcome of football matches. There were other products out there providing the same sorts of data, even with venture capital investments. So, I saw this as an opportunity to try it out.
It helped me learn what business I want to build and what I don’t want to do. The betting industry is cheesy. I think Predegy can become a tool for sports betting enthusiasts to get a chance to win some bets and to have more fun.
I got some customers and succeeded with my SEO strategy. I still have consistent traffic on the website and get free trial conversions daily. But then 2020 happened.
2020 was a special year. The pandemic made all my machine learning models useless. Hence there was not enough training data with no fans in the stadium and no home-field advantage. Then my payment provider, Wirecard, filed insolvency. So, I decided to put this business on hold for a while.
The plan for Predegy is to enable payment again, improve the UI by switching to other web technologies, and provide some highly requested features. Then I want to put it on auto-pilot and focus on DevOps Metrics.