Pearl’s Choice founder shares lessons learned from bootstrapping

bojananedic

Bojana Nedic, founder of Pearl’s Choice, which offers Canadians information on senior living resources, talked about her decision-making process when it came to financing her company through venture capital or bootstrapping.

“No money can buy the brand that I’m building.” – Bojana Nedic

Nedic told her story at the latest TechTO. “I don’t have 20 years of experience under my belt, but what I do have is a unique experience during a time when intellectual property is hailed as king and large venture capital rounds are all the rage,” said Nedic. “I’ve started a company without either of these two things.”

When Nedic and her partner Andrew Colterjohn sat down to think about venture capital versus bootstrapping, they said it was important to measure their decisions quickly, have creative freedom, and work with “people smarter than them.”

As bootstrapping would allow them to feel the financial pain or gain more quickly, they’d be able to take their financial decisions more seriously. They also knew that, with less money, they would have to think more creatively about how they spent it to build traction.

The final piece would be to gather experts in both the senior living and tech fields, and then they would feel their brand was ready; to fulfill that need, they brought in investors from these fields.

“The information we were collecting was interesting. People who don’t usually surf the internet were giving us really interesting info.”

“We launched the website, and it was a success. We had users coming in, we started bringing in revenue through beta; we were so excited,” said Nedic. “We also realized that the information we were collecting was interesting — people who don’t usually surf the internet were giving us really interesting info. Awesome, right? This could be really valuable one day. Oh no…we don’t actually own the data.”

On top of that realization, they found that their back end wasn’t scalable, and took large financial risks that didn’t work out. “Our new tech investor informed us that they misled us on the ability to build the complicated back end we needed…we got what we wanted. We wanted to measure failure and success quickly, and we did that,” said Nedic.

Nedic took another risk and put $750 into a community fundraiser for seniors living in social isolation, which ended up raising $20,000 and attracting 500 influencers.

Nedic said that her team has no plans to patent anything except their brand, and they have a really keen focus on how they can build a deeply-rooted community around their company. “No money can buy the brand that I’m building,” said Nedic.

Watch the full presentation below.

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Madonna Dennis

Madonna Dennis

Madonna Dennis is a staff writer at BetaKit. She’s a fourth-year journalism student interested in healthtech. She’s passionate about tight-knit teams working together, which is why she’s so fascinated by startup culture. Madonna’s hobbies include dragon boating, singing, and hosting a YouTube show about cat news.