Bootstrapping: Why These Entrepreneurs Chose Bootstrapping instead of VCs and Are Happier AND Richer For It

Think bootstrapping a company and making money from the get go is a quaint so last century idea?  Think again, and learn why these entrepreneurs prefer bootstrapping over VC funding.  Learn the pros and cons of bootstrapping, and how and why they chose to do it this way.


ProductPlan, a homegrown startup here in Santa Barbara began with a 10 x 10 office and the goal to remain bootstrapped. Learn how Jim Semick and his partner Greg Goodman used their market validation and software skills to surface a good idea and get their product launched fast. ProductPlan has grown into a 30 person company with no outside funding.


Software companies aren’t the only ones that are technical and VC funded.  Learn how reformed startup technology player Scott Stephan turned a passion for making beer into a profitable fast growing brewery, Draughtsmen Aleworks, right here in Goleta without tapping into big finance capital.


In today’s investment first profit whenever VC world, setting up a small business to make money right away almost seems like a quaint, and old school. However, in listening to these entrepreneurs stories, it’s clear that not all paths to startup success travel through Silicon Valley or VCs . They all took the bootstrapping road (or dirt path?) less traveled, and most surprisingly, are better for it.




John MacFarlane, Founder, Sonos and

John co-founded Sonos in 2002 with a seasoned team of people on a mission to re-create modern HiFi for the digital age and fill every home with music. For the past decade, John has helped to build a global leadership team consisting of the best acoustics, software, hardware and design innovators in the world.  Sonos is considered the pioneer of the wireless home audio category and the benchmark for how modern music lovers listen to music in the home.

In 1992, John co-founded and served as the CEO of John and the team built large-scale internet based email systems for the world’s largest telecommunications companies. became a NASDAQ-listed public company in 1999 and in 2001, merged with to form Openwave Systems.

John graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Master of Science and holds a Bachelor of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

We are very proud that John presented Sonos’ story to the MIT Enterprise Forum back in September 2006.  Three years later, he participated in our May 2009 program “The Music Industry is Moving and Shaking!!!” which featured Tom Conrad and Pandora.


Jim Semick, Founder, ProductPlan

Jim Semick is co-founder and Chief Strategist of ProductPlan, a business software company based in Santa Barbara. He has helped launch innovative new software products that are now used by millions of people. He was part of the founding team at AppFolio, a business SaaS company. Prior to AppFolio, Jim helped validate and launch the product concepts that became GoToMyPC, GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, and others. Jim is a frequent speaker on product management and how to create successful business models. @jimsemick

ProductPlan develops product roadmap software. Thousands of product managers worldwide–including teams from Hulu, Starbucks and Spotify–trust ProductPlan to help them visualize and share their roadmap strategies across their entire organization.


Scott Stefan, Ombudsman, Draughtsmen Aleworks

Scott knew from the first minute that he stepped onto UCSB’s campus on a perfect April day that Santa Barbara was the place in which he wanted to live. While completing his degree in Business/Economics, he discovered Spike’s and the Open Door and with it, Anchor Steam and Guinness and a ton of other great beer. Scott loves cycling and beer and fortunately for him, through both, he met and became friends with the nucleus that now forms the brewing dream team. He’s looking forward to lots of pints to share.




David Kronen oversees all commercial banking activities for Bank of the West in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties from the bank’s National Banking Office in downtown Santa Barbara.

He has spent 23 years with Bank of the West and its predecessor, all in Santa Barbara. In 2002, Kronen moved into his current position as Senior Vice President and Manager of commercial lending activities in the Tri-Counties. Kronen has spent a total of 27 years in local commercial banking, having worked for Wells Fargo Bank prior to joining Bank of the West.

Kronen and his team’s major clients are growing public and private middle-market companies, high net worth individuals, and emerging market companies. He and his team directly manage full banking relationships and have strong experience leading syndicated transactions as well as international trade, foreign exchange, interest rate hedging and cash management.

Kronen is involved in numerous board and fund-raising activities for nonprofit organizations in the region.

He graduated with honors from the prestigious Pacific Coast Banking School i n Seattle Washington in 2000. He received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Economics from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1984. Kronen has lived in Santa Barbara his entire life and has a wife and three boys

Event Registration

When:  Wednesday, April 18, 2017, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: 670 Mission Canyon Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105


  • Student: $15.00
  • General-Early-Bird (online only): $30.00
    Sign up now & save $10 off general walk-in rate. Offer ends Tuesday, April 17 at 6 p.m.
  • General-Walk-in: $40.00
  • Parking: FREE


  • 5:00 – 6:00 Networking Hour, Online Check-in & Registration for Walk-ins
  • 6:00 – 7:30 Presentation/Discussion
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Q&A

Tickets include appetizers and refreshments for both online and walk-in registrants. (Beer or wine separate– cash or pre-paid online or at check-in table.)

If you miss the Online Early-Bird Offer, we welcome guests on the day of the event at the Walk-in rate. (Online rate not applicable.) 

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