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7 success stories that will help your startup to bootstrap and reach the top

Starting a business is always associated with a financing decision. A bootstrapped startup is funded and built on personal finance and operating income of the new company.

Bootstrapping is advantageous for the entrepreneur because, as the sole shareholder, he can control all decisions and transactions himself, as opposed to starting a business with the help of venture capital. Which requires consideration of other shareholders. At the same time bootstrapping increases the financial risk of the entrepreneur. Nevertheless, bootstrapping is a popular method among founders.

According to a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey in 2012, personal finance is the main source of funding for 73% of emerging and emerging US companies.

From Dishwasher to Millionaire

Numerous reputable companies and startups have once started small and have worked their way up despite bootstrapping. We introduce you to 7 success stories of startups that started bootstrapped and have reached the top.

  • Bruno Interior: Success through sleep

The startup Bruno Interior Berlin is all about good sleep. The company was founded in 2014 by Andreas Bauer Bruno and Felix Baer. Bruno Interior manufactures beds, mattresses and sleeping textiles of the highest quality, produces in Germany with a lot of manual work and processes environmentally friendly materials. Success in Germany is now followed by expansion into other European countries. With their designs, Bruno Interior wins the German Design Award 2018. Andreas Bauer Bruno and Felix Baer attribute the success to their own success. There is no such thing as debt financing. In 2017, Bruno Interior generates a net income of more than 405,000 euros with a balance sheet total of more than 1.57 million euros.

  • Ergobag : Innovative School Backpacks

Founded in 2010 by four friends, Ergobag sets on ergonomics for schoolbags that grow with children from 1 to 1.5 meters. Since 2017, the company is called Fond of Bags. Today’s managing directors of Ergobag, Oliver Steinki, Florian Michajlezko and Sven-Oliver Pink, compete with large traditional companies and do so very successfully. With its sustainable school bags, Ergobag records a balance sheet total of over 17.5 million euros in 2015 and a net income of more than 4.2 million euros. Ergobag satchels convince with the ergonomic concept of trekking rucksacks, certified by the Institute for Health and Ergonomics e.V with their Ergonomic Product quality seal, with individual designs and safety through reflectors, so that the schoolchildren are clearly visible even in the dark. In addition, Ergobags are made from sustainable materials made from 100% recycled PET bottles, reducing environmental impact.

  • eatclever: With healthy food to success

The vision behind the startup eatclever, founded in 2015, is to provide healthy food throughout Germany. The Feelgood Food Delivery service works with nutritionists to develop recipes that are freshly cooked by their partners and then delivered by them. Who is allowed to cook for the healthy delivery service, is constantly checked and compared with the high standards of eatclever. Bootstrapping in the startup provides a realistic view of the business situation and the right work motivation.

  • Sprout Pencil: A pencil that becomes a plant

What do you do with a pencil if only the last stump is left? Conventional pencils can then only be thrown away. However, the pencil stumps of Sprout Pencil is much more. If you plant the pencil stump with the upper end down into a pot, grow it with some luck and a green thumb a plant. The idea comes from three engineering students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Dane Michael Stausholm acquires the distribution rights for this green pencil in 2013.

The Sprout Pencil can not only be personalized by engraving, but also the seed can be selected. The focus for Sprout is sustainability. With the help of the Sprout Pencil, Sprout hopes that more people will behave more environmentally conscious and make small changes in the direction of sustainability, starting with the everyday lives of everyone.

  • Green City Solutions: Better air quality through overgrown walls

Startup Green City Solutions has set itself the task of making life in cities healthier with clean air. It was founded in 2014 by Dénes Honus, Peter Sänger, Zhengliang Wu and Victor Splittgerber in Dresden. Sustainability is an important aspect for Green City Solutions, which shapes the way in which resources are used in the company, as well as its economically, ecologically and socially sustainable way of life.

With its CityTree, Green City Solutions aims to sustainably reduce urban pollution and improve air quality. A CityTree is a moss-covered wall, partly with an integrated seat. It is a biotech filter or smart bio-filter, which improves air quality. A CityTree is overgrown with various species of moss, with IoT technology, a ventilation system that can enhance the air filter effect, and its own water and power supply. The first prototypes was presented at the Hanover Fair in 2014, and one year later the AOK Plus will buy the first CityTree in Jena, followed by Oslo, the first international location for a CityTree. Meanwhile, there is also a CityTree in Hong Kong.

Initially, Green City Solutions is bootstrapped and investors are now on board. Green City Solutions is on the road to success. The startup receives several awards. Including the listing of the founder Dénes Honus on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list in the category Social Entrepreneurs. As well as winning numerous awards, such as the Creative Business Cup 2016 in the category Sustainable Living Challenge, the Green Alley Award 2016 and the EIT Digital Challenge 2016 in the category Digital Cities.

  • Patagonia: From the trunk to the global player

The founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, begins in 1957 as a passionate climber to forge his own rock hooks, which he sells for $ 1.50 in his parents garden in Burbank, California. The next few years he forges rock hooks in the winter months, in the summer months he goes climbing in Yosemite and sells the rock hooks from his trunk. In 1970, his climbing gear was the best selling in the US. At the beginning of the 70s clothes for climbers and outdoor activities were added. The year 1973 marks the official founding of the company Patagonia.

For years, the company of Yvon Chouinard only lives from the operating income. Patagonia is now a global company, with sales of about 750 million US dollars to the global players of outdoor clothing belongs. Since 1996 all cotton products of Patagonia are made of organic cotton. Patagonia also processes environmentally friendly and recycled materials, even before it’s a global company. Patagonia’s mission is, “We are in business to save our home planet.”

  • Burt’s Bees: Natural cosmetics made of honey

Roxanne Quimby and Burt Shavitz are the two founders behind the 1984 founded US cosmetics brand Burt’s Beesstecken. Beekeeper Burt Shavitz sells his honey in Maine when he meets Roxanne Quimby. At the beginning, the two make candles from the leftover wax, and later the famous Burt’s Bees lip balm.

Burt’s Bees is also a bootstrapped company at the beginning. Today, the company manufactures over 180 beauty products and is one of the world’s leading natural cosmetics companies with estimated annual sales of approximately $ 250 million. The best known product continues to be the Burt’s Bees lip balm. The ingredients of Burt’s Bees products are 99% natural in most products. The products contain no chemicals and are not tested on animals. The company also ensures that the products are packaged in an environmentally friendly manner.


These 7 companies have started bootstrapped and are now writing their own great success stories. Despite greater financial risk, these founders have dared and raised prestigious companies.

Published inStartups

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