Dingman Bootstrapped

Dingman Bootstrapped
By Robert H. Smith School of Busniess
About this podcast
The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business produces Bootstrapped, a podcast featuring founders, investors and serial entrepreneurs. While the podcast covers many aspects of startup life, the heart of the show focuses on funding from both the founder and investor perspectives, thus the name Bootstrapped. The podcast is hosted by Elana Fine, Managing Director of the Dingman Center, and Joe Bailey, Associate Research Professor at the Smith School. Each episode starts with trend stories from the hosts, moves onto an interview with a special guest then closes with a segment titled, "Kickstarter or Not?" Tune in to hear insights into startup life and venture creation.
Latest episodes
Nov. 30, 2017
On this episode of Dingman Bootstrapped, we interviewed UMD alumnus and serial entrepreneur, Paul Capriolo. Throughout his career, Paul founded and led a multitude of technology startups to successful acquisitions. In 2009, Paul noticed the explosive growth in the social gaming industry and the lack of a monetization method to capitalize on its user base. Paul started Social Growth Technologies to serve as a flexible platform that allows companies to monetize the social gaming market through in-game advertising. After seven years of growth and expansion, Paul recently secured an acquisition of Social Growth Technologies by Kiswe Mobile in 2017. In this episode, Paul details his initial motivations behind being an entrepreneur, the challenges he faced as a computer science major with no background in business and the process of growing a business in an emerging two-sided market.
Nov. 14, 2017
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we interviewed University of Maryland alumnus and co-founder & CEO of Rybbon, Jignesh Shah. At his previous position as CMO at Metalogix, Jignesh experienced frustration with the outdated physical gift-giving model; marketing was shifting to digital platforms such as email and social media, and sending a physical gift card in the mail was too slow and cumbersome. So, Jignesh founded Rybbon to streamline the digital gifting process and to serve as the digital gifting platform for marketers and researchers. In this episode, Jignesh speaks to the struggles Rybbon faced being a bootstrapped company, the unique strategy they implemented to acquire their first customers, and their the role they play in the digital marketing industry.
Oct. 31, 2017
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we interviewed Jennifer Lee-Harrison, a Smith School MBA alumna and the founder of Perfect Hair International. Jennifer spent 16 years working in corporate America before she was struck with entrepreneurial inspiration. As Senior Director of Marketing and Advertising at Choice Hotels, she was encouraged to complete an MBA to pursue a position as Vice President of Marketing at the company. During her entrepreneurship class, Jennifer got the idea to disrupt the $13 billion hair-extension industry with branded products targeted to African-American women. That business, Perfect Hair International, went on to achieve $1.3 million in sales in just one year. Listen to the episode to hear how she leveraged her network to orchestrate her rise to success and learn her three pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Oct. 17, 2017
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we interviewed UMD alumnus, serial entrepreneur and President and CEO of ThreatQuotient, John Czupak. Before ThreatQuotient, John worked at Sourcefire in a variety of roles from 2002 to 2013, until he ultimately engineered a $2.7 billion acquisition with Cisco, the 3rd largest pure play cybersecurity acquisition ever. In this episode, John discusses the approach, mindset and key factors that cybersecurity startups must implement to be successful in a competitive environment.
Oct. 3, 2017
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we interviewed venture capitalist and UMD alumnus Gary Swart. Gary operates out of Silicon Valley as a general partner at Polaris Partners, a Boston VC firm that invests in technology and healthcare companies. Prior to his role at Polaris Partners, Gary was CEO of oDesk, a job-search platform that aimed to be the number one destination for job-seekers looking to work remotely. During his eight-year stint as CEO, Gary gained keen insights on customer acquisition, global expansion and staying ahead of competitors, lessons that as an investor he imparts to the entrepreneurs he works with. In this episode, Gary describes the challenges of being CEO, the key factors a startup needs before seeking investment and the differences between the startup ecosystems of Boston and Silicon Valley.
Sept. 19, 2017
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we interviewed Kathryn Stewart, an investor in private and public equity and a member of the Dingman Center Angels and Board of Advisors. After spending 10 years working as a partner at Alex.Brown covering healthcare and technology, Kathryn wanted to give back and help others by creating jobs, so she started to invest in companies that utilized technology in order to make an impact. In this episode, Kathryn discusses her personalized approach to how she invests in entrepreneurs, and reveals the attributes a startup needs to draw angel investors.
Sept. 5, 2017
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we interviewed veterinarian Dr. Mark Olcott, co-founder and CEO of VitusVet. After losing a pet patient because he couldn’t access their medical records on a weekend, Mark started VitusVet to electronically connect pet parents and their care providers to improve the health and safety of all pets. VitusVet capitalizes on the two-sided market of the vet industry by creating a platform that streamlines the customer service experience, keeping pet parents happy and practices in business. While researching his business model, Mark looked to other industries suffering from similarly outdated, paper-driven customer service practices and found some unexpected parallels.
May 11, 2017
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we interviewed academic turned founder, Dale Nirvani Pfeifer. Less than 4 years ago, when Dale recognized there was a need to bring philanthropic giving to the next generation, she started Goodworld. The company allows non-profits to receive donations through hashtags and shares on social media sites. Dale's first VC pitch was brutal but it taught her to think bigger about her potential market reach. After raising nearly $3 million in VC funding, Goodworld has successfully bridged the funding gap between non-profits and Millennials. 
April 26, 2017
In this episode of Bootstrapped, we spoke with serial entrepreneur and CEO of Halen Brands, Jason Cohen. Cohen walks through his journey from being unable to pay his phone bill to selling 5 companies worth over $500 million, including brands like Sensible Portion Veggie Straws and SkinnyPop, the two fastest growing “better for you” snacks known today. Dubbed as the 'club king' of packaged foods, Jason highlights the importance of targeting high quantity distribution channels such as Costco to augment your reach toward popular outlets like Whole Foods. Tips on how to hire top talent with no startup capital is also covered.
April 13, 2017
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we spoke with Brian Taff, serial entrepreneur and President of Streetsense, an experience-focused strategy and design collective. Brian talks about the changing face of retail and the need to create a personalized experience for customers. The goal of brand marketers is no longer about authenticity as people see right through that, Brian claims; it's about making the brand approachable and meeting customers' expectations. Brian discusses how to get customers to be not just promoters, but defenders of your brand.