Joe Flaherty is director of Content& Community at Founder Collective.
SurveyMonkey was founded in the dot-com bubble of the 90 s and though it wasnt as disruptive as peers like Kosmo, it was more durable. It survived the dot-com accident and steadily grew into a nine-figure run rate, merely raising $100 million 11 years after getting started.
Grasshopper is a phone networking company that had 150,000 customers and more than $30 million in annual revenue, but no VC on the books, and was eventually acquired by Citrix.
Epic was founded by Judith Faulkner in 1979; the Wisconsin-based electronic medical record provider is a possibility the largest bootstrapped software company operating today.
eClinicalWorks was founded in 1999 when the mantra was get big fast, and many of its contemporaries crashed and burned. By focusing on excelling at the dull, yet profitable run of managing clinical data, the company survived and now hires more than 4,000 workers and trade generates $320 million in annual revenue.
Unity became a backbone of the mobile gaming industry by focusing on all of the unsexy aspects of game development, like cross-platform compatibility and bump mapping. They ran years without raising capital, but now have a valuation over $1.5 billion, and are more successful than the majority of branded game startups.
GitHub took the ache out of version control and became a critical part of the tech ecosystem before raising capital.
Qualtrics started as a tool to administer surveys for colleges and business in a cellar in Utah and now applies 1,000 and rakes in $100 million a year, profitably.
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