Being a successful entrepreneur and setting up a business is quick and simple in today’s digital world: Set up an e-commerce store, register your company name, open a bank account… Easy, right? Think again.
Diving into the world of entrepreneurship takes guts. There are lots of practical and psychological barriers to entry. Growing and retaining your ideal customer base, inventory & fulfillment, not to mention the insurmountable imposter syndrome; just a few of the challenges first-time founders face.
Lack of access to capital is the greatest threat to first-time founders
Possibly the greatest hurdle founders face is acquiring the funding needed to grow their businesses. A bleak reality is that the vast majority of entrepreneurs today lack access to capital. At the end of the day, money talks, and capital is crucial for running and growing a fledgling business, especially to survive the first 5 years. Although it can be tough, it IS possible, and there’s no shortage of inspiring stories about successful entrepreneurs that prove it.
Here are four of those stories. Learn how first-time founders from Vinebox, Piglet, Packlane, and Bokksu are addressing major problems in the market, building successful e-commerce businesses, and living their dreams.
First-Time Founder Spotlight on Matt Dukes, CEO & Co-Founder of Vinebox
Vinebox is a YCombinator-backed wine subscription service fueled by passion, discovery, and the stories behind the wine regions and the winemakers themselves.
How Matt grew Vinebox’s revenue by 595% and secured their Series A
After experiencing burnout in corporate law, Matt Dukes decided there must be something more to life. He hopped on a plane to France and spent time volunteering at vineyards. Based on the idea and popularity of wine tasting, Vinebox was born.
With Q4 looming, Matt knew he needed to capitalize on the power of paid social campaigns, but didn’t want to tie up cash flow in order to do it. Matt and his co-founders decided to take a Clearbanc advance, which they invested in Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook ads to help them prepare for the busy holiday season.
The paid social campaign was a massive success:
- They saw a 1101% ROI
- Revenue increased by 595% revenue growth
Not only that, their impressive growth helped them secure a $5.9 million series A!
First-Time Founder Spotlight on Jessica Mason, Founder of Piglet
Piglet is a UK-based e-commerce business that sells high-quality stonewashed linens and bedtime apparel direct to consumers.
How Piglet Grew Revenue 7X In 2 Months
Jessica Mason is a self-professed “messy person” with an appreciation of good style and design. She noticed a gap in the market for cozy home bedding that also looked good. She founded Piglet as a way to marry beauty and comfort for the home bedding industry.
To really bring Piglet to life, Jessica knew she needed to ramp up her marketing efforts to build awareness. However, all the funding options she explored were slow and cumbersome… until she came across Clearbanc’s flexible capital.
With Clearbanc, Jessica can continuously scale without limitations. After taking 9 advances in only 2 months, Piglet saw impressive growth from their increased marketing efforts including:
- A 7-fold increase in revenue
- 6900% ROI of marketing dollars
First-Time Founder Spotlight on Miriam Brafman, Director & Owner of Packlane
Packlane helps companies of all sizes bring their brand vision to life by offering a fast, easy, and efficient way to design and order custom packaging that delights customers.
How Packlane’s Uses A Cocktail Of Capital To Accelerate ROAS And Optimize Cash Flow
A former software engineer, Miriam Brafman found herself on an entrepreneurial pursuit in the e-commerce industry. As she conducted her research, she noticed a lack of innovative, design-oriented solutions for branded packaging. She founded Packlane to fill that gap by helping brands use design to drive value and create delightful products.
Packlane prides itself on taking a capital After raising seed funding and a small series A, she took on Clearbanc capital to supplement her funding and give her the flexibility to invest in new marketing opportunities to boost customer acquisition.
As a result of the increased investment in marketing campaigns and experimentation, Packlane grew its customer base to over 30,000 businesses (and counting!)
First-Time Founder Spotlight on Danny Taing, Founder & CEO of Bokksu
Bokksu partners with 100+ year-old, family-owned snack businesses in Japan to deliver curated, authentic experiences to the rest of the world via a monthly subscription.
How Bokksu grew subscribership by 5X with customer acquisition campaigns
During a 4 year stint in Japan, Danny Taing fell in love with Japanese food and culture. He returned back to NYC with a suitcase full of Japanese treats, which were promptly devoured by his friends and family. He founded Bokksu as a way to make these exotic snacks more accessible to the people that crave them.
Danny needed a way to fund customer acquisition campaigns without compromising the budget for hiring new employees, setting up his supply chain, and improving the website.
With Clearbanc, Danny now has the flexibility to invest cash flow into important operational expenses and can use Clearbanc capital to tell the world about Bokksu. This strategic investment of funds helped Danny grow his subscribership 5X to date.
Feeling inspired? Read more stories about successful entrepreneurs
These are just a few examples of smart founders who have found sustainable, equity-friendly ways to grow their business. To read more spotlights on founder growth, visit our Case Studies page.