My Next Act: Building The First Startup Accelerator Designed for Bootstrappers


When you hear the term startup accelerator you likely think of YCombinator, TechStars or 500 Startups. Accelerators traditionally cater to “unicorns” – companies that have the potential to be worth at least a billion dollars.

This focus has made them successful in launching startups like DropBox, AirBnB, Stripe and Instacart.

But what about founders who want to build a profitable software company with annual revenue in the $1M, $10M or $20M range? Are those companies worth a similar level of support and guidance?

These bootstrapped (or mostly bootstrapped) startups are who I come into contact with while running MicroConf, hosting Startups for the Rest of Us, writing books, speaking at conferences, etc.

I first thought of a “YC for bootstrappers” in 2011, but realized the timing wasn’t right. In 2014, after hearing an interview Colin from Customer.io, I started publicly embracing the idea of bootstrappers raising a small funding round to get them to profitability without taking institutional money.

And as the focus of my angel investing changed from VC-eligible ideas to smaller, but higher probability “base hits,” I’ve realized there is a serious lack of startup capital and accelerator-type support in my corner of the startup ecosystem.

So I’m trying to fix it…

Partnering with Einar Vollset I’m starting a remote accelerator designed to take bootstrapped software companies in the idea to $10k/month range, and dramatically accelerate their growth through mentorship, guidance, and a small amount of funding.

We will focus on “real” software companies. These are ideas that won’t become unicorns, but could reach $1M-$20M in annual revenue.

If you’ve been to MicroConf, think of the founders and companies you’ve encountered.

If you listen to Startups for the Rest of Us, think about the ideas and startups we mention.

Companies with real business models. Charging real money. To real customers.

It’s still early, but here are some details…

Our accelerator, called TinySeed, will provide you with a year’s worth of runway so you can quit your day job and focus on your startup full-time.

No more nights and weekends.

No more trying to navigate the startup landscape alone.

No relocation required.

You’ll receive world-class guidance and support from successful founders who have been where you are, and built highly profitable software companies. Founders like Hiten Shah, Patrick McKenzie, Derrick Reimer, and myself (to name a few).

You’ll be part of a small class of founders challenging and encouraging one another on weekly mentor-led calls.

I’m taking everything I’ve learned over the past 13 years and going all-in to create startup funding for the other 99%.

Our name is TinySeed. If you’re intrigued, click here and sign up for the inside track as we move towards launch.

And a huge thanks to you if you tweet about it or spread the word on Hacker News, Product Hunt, Reddit, etc.

I’m terrified of what comes next. But I know it’s going to be a crazy ride. Wish me luck!