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Meet This Multi-National Bootstrapper

by Jasmine Jacobs

Invoiceware International , the company that recently scored a contract to support Coca-Cola’s Latin America e-invoicing operations, is the largest business network in Latin America.  Invoiceware is outspoken on NOT taking venture financing and bootstrapping their way to success. In Fall 2014, the Atlanta-based company announced 480% growth. They’ve now transacted over $83 billion USD in the last year within their electronic invoicing and fiscal reporting platform. Likely due in no small part, to CEO Scott Lewin. With more than twenty years of experience in sales in tech companies, Lewin is no stranger to astronomical growth underneath his leadership. At his former position as CEO at SEEBURGER, Inc. the company experienced more than 900% growth with him at the helm.

We caught up with him and pick his brain on his experiences and expertise in bootstrapping.

In order to understand first why this company works so well, here’s more about it.
 We help to support multi-nationals as they deal with invoicing needs and regulation. In many Latin American countries every business transaction between businesses (B2B) goes through the government first – to squeeze out tax avoidance.

The company manages $80 billion dollars of invoice (with clients including Coca Cola, Kellogg, Siemens, Continental), making them the largest network in south America. Their employees are spread both in the US and in Latin America, with plans to launch this year in Peru. It’s this kind of set up that make competition bleak, due to their inability to support multi national businesses.

Like most great ideas, Lewin got this idea from noticing a problem and setting out to solve it. And in doing so, they went with bootstrapping.

We had to go out and find a corner stone customer (willing to do references and talk about what they do). So we got them to partner with us to solve the problem.
They worked with Brown-Forman (Jack Daniels) first, then they added Mitsubishi and naturally after Jack… Coke. Since then Lewin has been approached by around 50 funders “but we are growing very fast, we’re very profitable and we don’t need any outside capital.”
“Bootstrapping makes you focus generating on revenue.  VC makes you focus on spending money,” is golden advice from Lewin. His recommendation is to “focus on building a company that is generating revenue” and to always be looking for a cash flow.
Ask yourself, “How do I bring more money into the company so that I can reinvest it into the business?” There are certainly times that raising capital is important, but often times in the startup world it is too early and too often. Do you miss out on the mentorship that can come along with funding. I have a nice network that I can pull unbiased information from.
I’d say his track record makes that advice worth jotting down.

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