Funding for Bootstrappers 2: What we learned

Six weeks ago Earnest Capital soft-launched by posing the question: could we build a funding model for bootstrappers? We had been working for months 1 on the technical details of an early-stage investment structure that aligns an investor with a founder who wants to build a sustainable, profitable, calm company and doesn’t want to raise traditional venture capital. Here is what we learned.


  1. …and thinking about it for years

Shared Earnings Agreement: Digging into the numbers

We received a ton of good hard questions about the Earnest Shared Earnings Agreement, particularly around “how do the numbers actually work?” Well, we’re building a fancy web calculator for it, but I thought I would just pop the hood on the Google Spreadsheet (click here to access it directly) we’ll use for it and let anybody make a copy for themselves.

Want to watch me talk about the numbers, assumptions, and scenarios behind it for 35 minutes?! Great, here you go 👇

The Shared Earnings Agreement is the output of a great discussion and tons of feedback (we’ll be posting a “What We Learned” soon) from our initial Funding for Bootstrappers call for input.

This is v1.0 of a very simplified calculator, so it is possible there are errors or things we have glossed over. Please send us any question or feedback on Twitter @EarnestCapital or Email Us

Q&A with Justin Jackson on funding for bootstrappers

I really enjoyed this live-streamed discussion with Justin Jackson. Justin peppers me with questions about Earnest Capital and certainly caught me with a few I wasn’t prepared for. For some amazing background on the problem we’re trying to solve with Earnest, read Justin’s excellent, honest piece on the Bootstrapper’s Paradox.

Help design funding for bootstrappers

Huge thank you to Joe Wallin, Kevin McArdle, and Rich Thornett for their help with this post and project.

This is a post about the technical decisions we’ve made on a new “funding structure for bootstrappers1” and a call for feedback from the founder community.

But first, we need to talk about The Problem2.


  1. Yes bootstrappers – we know, oxymoron. We don’t love the turn of phrase and it’s a work in progress.

  2. Or skip directly to the term sheet details