Joe Davy: Bootstrapping to Millions [Built in Seattle Ep. #5]
2 min read

Joe Davy: Bootstrapping to Millions [Built in Seattle Ep. #5]

Joe Davy, Banzai CEO and co-founder, talks about bootstrapping a multimillion-dollar business, lessons from Avalara, and mental models for growth.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Overcast

For extras, get my weekly email on Seattle startups.

Joe Davy tried to raise money for his startup. Then 80+ investors said "no."

Now he's bootstrapped a multimillion-dollar business with 50 employees in just 4 years.

Joe doesn't have religion about bootstrapping.

But, he thinks most founders overlook this option because "you won't see any headlines on Techcrunch for NOT raising money." In many ways, getting turned down by investors was a gift for Banzai in the early stages. It forced them to focus on customers, cash flow, and execution from day 1. The team had to change their mental model in a positive way. And Joe had to learn patience and establish a long-term view.

Somehow he did this at just 26 years old.

Joe shares his lessons and story on this episode of The Built in Seattle Podcast

Episode Highlights

  • How Joe has developed patience and long term view after hearing "no" from 80 investors.
  • How Banzai decided to bootstrap their business, where they are today, and how they thinking about execution.
  • The back story - Joe's first venture feeding chickens in North Carolina.
  • How working at Avalara shaped Joe's thinking and the lesson's he learned about listening to customers.
  • How he did all this having just turned 30.
  • Why/how he left Avalara to found his own company at just 26.
  • Advice for other young founders.
  • Lessons from Joe's journey bootstrapping and building a business in Seattle.

Joe Davy Bio

Joe Davy is an entrepreneur and investor in Seattle, WA. He has been the co-founder and CEO of Banzai since 2016. Forbes magazine named Joe to its 30 Under 30 list in 2019. Joe is also a board director at Legalpad and the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation. Today, Banzai is the leading event marketing automation platform, with over 200 customers including Microsoft, Dell, Vmware, SAP, and RingCentral. Prior to founding Banzai, Joe was General Manager at Avalara, where he oversaw small business and enterprise business units and was a member of the Avalara leadership team. During his tenure, Avalara grew to over 1,500 employees in 16 global offices with over $150M in revenues.

Joe is an avid bluegrass music fan and outdoorsman – hiking, skiing and fishing around the Pacific Northwest.