I’ve started three business – Access, TaskUs and Smarter Social Media. What went into these business in no particular order was: free Starbucks Wifi, Overnight Flyers, over generous developers, very tight fists, fourteen security guards and the relentless (emotional) support of family and friends. What didn’t go into any of them was a significant amount of capital. Access, the series of all age nightclubs Jaspar and I used to run every summer was started with $6,000. The first summer we grossed well over $100,000. TaskUs was started with $25,000. And Smarter Social Media grew organically out of TaskUs.
So there you have it, my ventures to date have been funded with a grand total of $31,000, not counting the tireless, unpaid hours Jaspar and I have committed to each.
I’m not opposed to capital. I just never had an attractive way to raise it. My parents aren’t rich and I never felt that I deserved venture or angel funding. I also never wanted to dilute the ownership I had over my ideas. But I am beginning to reconsider.
Over the past three months I have grown our TaskUs operations center in Manila from 12 to over 100 people. The company is stronger than ever. The final meeting with my management team their yesterday was amazing. Everyone has a role and is executing it relentlessly. So much so that I am beginning to feel unneeded.
None of this would have been possible without money…lots of it. Late last year I secured a partnership with a large US public company that has funded all of this growth. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured into our operations and the effect has left me feeling like I am running an actual business.
At Smarter Social Media we have a much smaller staff of 8. All in our Santa Monica offices. I have written before about how being in LA allows us to keep labor costs down. But it still ain’t cheap (especially when compared with Manila!) That said the business is profitable. So I’m starting to wonder what a capital infusion could do for that business. In fact I’m starting to wonder if I will ever start a business with $6,000 or even $25,000 ever again. Having a large capital base now appears almost essential. To hire the right talent, build a sustainable organization and secure and number one or (at worst) number spot in the market.