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David Bookspan: ‘Bootstrap as long as you can’

At a recent Startup Grind at Benjamin's Desk, the DreamIt Ventures partner and Monetate founder shared insights with fellow entrepreneurs.

Recreation area (Photo by Holly Quinn)
Figuring out how things can be done better is the first essential goal for any entrepreneur.

This is no different for recovering attorney and DreamIt Ventures founding partner David Bookspan, he said at an Oct. 8 Startup Grind event at Benjamin’s Desk.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQv6Nc4L_DI?rel=0]

When Bookspan resigned from the law firm Wolf Block LLP around 1997, it was because he had developed a system that would help people know when they would be sued.

“I was able to aggregate court dockets and create new research tools,” said Bookspan, when asked how he developed MarketSpan. “I then leveraged data from existing law firms and the court system to open up a whole new world of opportunity for legal professionals.”

When he sold MarketSpan, he spent about seven years spending time with his family and children, while angel investing and enjoying life. He got the entrepreneurial itch again in 2007 when he had the idea for the Conshohocken-based ecommerce platform Monetate.

“Entrepreneurs should focus on revenue, customers, innovation, improvements, maintenance and improving their products,” Bookspan said when asked what’s most important for succeeding as a tech founder.

DreamIt Ventures was created as a byproduct of Bookspan’s passion for this mindset. “We provide a significant advantage to the startups we accept into our program,” he said. Along with mentorship, office space and other perks, DreamIt offers potential funding of up to 25 percent of a startup’s next funding round to help accelerate rapid growth.

Along with the managing partners in charge of the DreamIt program, there are a slew of mentors who help entrepreneurs pro bono, using the pay-it-forward attitude.

“Bootstrap as long as you can, avoid investors at all costs, unless you really need funding,” Bookspan said. “That’s what we did with MarketSpan. We used our customers to fund our company.”

Startup Grind, Oct. 8, 2014. (Photo by Jason Sherman)

Companies: Startup Grind / 76 Forward / DreamIt Ventures / Monetate

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