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Bootstrapping 101: Alternative Ways to fund a Startup without an Angel or VC

  • 05 Nov 2013
  • 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
  • Constant Contact, 1601 Trepalo Rd., 3RD Floor, The Great Room, Waltham (Exit 28, I-95/Route 128)


Registration is closed

Meeting Presentations:

Nick Dougherty - CEO and co-founder of Verbal Applications, Presentation

Jacob N. (Jesse) Erlich - is a Partner at Burns & Levinson, LLP, Presentation

Ken Deckinger  - Co-Founder, Presentation

Surveys indicate that for the year ended, 2011, of the 543,000 new business created in the U.S., only 29,626 (that is, only 5%) received VC or angel investor funding at the seed or early stage startup phase. And for many companies lack of VC or angel investment did not impede growth. In August 2012, Inc. Magazine published its list of the 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the U.S., and 77% of the founders of those companies set up using only their own personal savings, with two thirds needing less than $100,000 to get started.  And while 34% stated that access to external capital has been essential for growth, 42% have not utilized external funding in developing their business. 74% have financed their growth over the past three years largely through cash flow from operations. Apple, Google and HP all began in garages with free rent. So, how do you do it?  In a word – Bootstrapping.  That is - using your own resources and effectively managing your cash flow to internally generate the funds that you need to operate your startup business.

Our speakers include an attorney who will show you how to leverage funding from the SBIR program and two experienced CEOs who have also built their business by bootstrapping without VC or angel investment until they achieved important milestones and were well on their away, and one case which leveraged a strategic partnership all the way through to the successful acquisition exit.


Nick Dougherty is the CEO and co-founder of Verbal Applications Inc., http://verbalapplications.com/ .  He has a B.S. in computer engineering from Boston University, where he and his team won the Entrepreneurial Award and a Societal Engineering Award for their work on what would eventually become the Verbal Care patient-caregiver communication platform. He is Massachusetts born and raised. When he is not working at Verbal he volunteers his time at the charity he co-founded, Project Mailbox, plays hockey, and plays guitar.

Jacob N. (Jesse) Erlich is a Partner at Burns & Levinson, LLP, in Boston. Prior to joining Burns & Levinson in 2006, Mr. Erlich was a Partner with Perkins Smith & Cohen, LLP. He had previously served as Chief Patent Advisor for the U.S. Air Force. Mr. Erlich represents a wide array of clients such as universities and small and large technology companies in diverse technological fields. He provides advice on patents and other forms of intellectual property, licensing, and government-related matters such as government contracts, SBIRs, STTRs, intellectual property, licensing and technology transfer. He is also involved with the preparation and prosecution of patent applications (U.S. and foreign).

Mr. Erlich is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the Canadian Patent Office and is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP). He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), New England Chapter, has served on the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Justice, a research agency of the U.S. Justice Department. He is a member and past president of the Boston Patent Law Association, the Licensing Executives Society, and the American Intellectual Property Law Association. Mr. Erlich was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (2011-2013) in the field of patent law.  He has also been selected as one of America’s top patent prosecutors. A graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mr. Erlich earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Ken Deckinger, Co-Founder - Ken Deckinger is a serial entrepreneur with close to ten years experience in the online dating space. He previously co-founded, and was CEO of HurryDate pioneering the global speed dating concept in 45 cities throughout the US, UK, and Canada. Eventually expanding the idea to include an online dating site, HurryDate was acquired by Spark Networks (parent company of JDate.com & ChristianMingle.com).  He spent three years at Spark Networks managing HurryDate and overseeing JDate’s travel & events business.

 Ken has appeared in media around the world including Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, CNN, BBC, and Dateline NBC. He is a graduate of the University of Florida, where he was honored with the University’s Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Under 40 award and sits on the Board of Directors for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and has an MBA from Boston College.  He’s a Mentor at TechStars Boston, actively advises entrepreneurs nationwide and is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.


Robert Weber is a successful intellectual property professional, inventor, serial entrepreneur, management consultant, and senior executive. Presently, he is Managing Director, Patent Kinetics, LLC, a company that helps clients build and monetize valuable patent portfolios.  He is an inventor with more than 26 issued US patents. Weber was ENet's Vice Chair, Programs, 2005-2007, and serves on the MIT Enterprise Forum's Organizing Committee of the RFID/NFC Circle (aka, Auto-ID & Sensing Circle). More information at www.linkedin.com/in/bobweberbos/  and http://www.patentkinetics.com


Michael S. Chester, President, International Manufacturing Consultants,

http://www.imcglobaladvisors.com  Mike has founded and built companies, set up manufacturing operations, formed strategic partnerships, set up global joint ventures, raised over $40M for startups which he co-founded, both in the US and China, and commercialized technologies. Mike advises startups in high tech, clean tech, software, and manufacturing. The Chinese government has invested in Mike’s companies.  One of his startups provided mobile banking services in China and was acquired by a European company.   BioHermes, a biotech which he cofounded in China, was sold in 2010.  Tonbu which developed web-based collaborative environments for the electronics industry grew to 142 employees. Mike spent 16 years with IBM designing robots and automation, marketing and selling IBM products to manufacturing companies, setting up global operations and supply chains, and founding an IBM consulting organization for manufacturing clients that he grew into a $20M business. Mike also lived in China from 1986-1987 while consulting to companies owned by the Machine Building Ministry and taught graduate courses at Hunan University.  Mike earned his BS in Electrical Engineering and MS in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University and his MBA from Union College. He is past Chair of the IEEE Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network, has served on the board of APICS Boston, and was a member of the planning committee of the MIT Enterprise Forum for over 10 years. Mike is a frequent speaker at conferences on Global Entrepreneurship, Supply Chains, Manufacturing, and China business.