SELF-FUNDED START-UPS: How to Bootstrap a Company

Business of Making

Thursday, September 24, 4:45 pm to 5:30 pm in Theater

Investors are often a necessary part of launching a business, but their money can come with strings that might sometimes strangle innovation. Learn from start-up founders who made the leap themselves about the strategies they employed to stay independent and why it is so meaningful to them and their businesses.


Andrew Rasiej

Founder, Personal Democracy Media
Andrew Rasiej is a civic and social entrepreneur, technology strategist, and Founder of Personal Democracy Media, which produces Personal Democracy Forum and other events about intersection of technology and politics,. Among its offerings are an award winning news outlet. He is the Founder of which focuses on 21st century public education, Co-Founder of, which translates Arabic and Farsi news and opinion pieces into English, and Senior Technology Advisor to the Sunlight Foundation a Washington DC organization using technology to make government more transparent. Andrew is the Chairman of the NY Tech Meetup, a 40,000-member organization of technologists, venture funders, marketers, representing start up and more mature companies using technology to transform themselves, New York City, and the world.  Andrew coined such terms as: We-Government, Voter-Generated Content, and Videracy, to help describe our expanding digitally connected world. In 2005 Andrew ran a highly visible campaign for NYC Public Advocate on a technology and innovation driven platform to redesign the office as a network, bring low cost broadband to undeserved communities, and open up access to city controlled public data. He is a graduate of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.


Bethany Koby

Co-founder and CEO, Technology Will Save Us
Bethany Koby is a CEO mom, designer, educator and art director. In 2012 she co-founded Technology Will Save Us.


Chris Quintero

Associate, Bolt
Chris is an associate at Bolt, an early stage venture capital firm that invests at the intersection of hardware and software. He's worked on engineering projects in Chile, Vietnam, and Cameroon and also runs the Boston hardware startup meetup group.


Jasen Wang

Founder & CEO, Makeblock
Jasen Wang, Founder & CEO of Makeblock, a DIY platform for Makers to build almost everything, also a robot construction solution for STEM education. He got his master's degree on aircraft design in 2010, he worked as an embedded software engineer for one year, then he quit his job and found Makeblock. The idea of Makeblock comes from: as a robot hobbist, he found building a robot is not easy for most people, he want to solve this problem by providing a integrated platform including mechanical parts, electronic modules and software.


Jay Silver

Founder and CEO, JoyLabz/MakeyMakey
Jay Saul Silver is the Founder/CEO of JoyLabz/MakeyMakey. He was the first ever Maker Research Scientist at Intel Labs. He made many creative platforms such as Drawdio (Time's Top 15 Toys for Young Geniuses) and MaKey MaKey (Kickstarted for $568,106, Pop Sci best of ToyFair). Jay has been a speaker at many TED events, PopTech, VM World, etc. He has exhibited internationally at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Exploratorium, Ars Electronica, etc. Jay studied electrical engineering at Georgia Tech where he was named Engineer of the Year. He was awarded a Gates Scholarship to earn a master’s in Internet Technology from Cambridge University. He also holds a master’s in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT Media Lab where he was an NSF Fellow. He has a PhD from MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten where he won a Lemelson Student Prize for Inventiveness.


Luke Iseman

Director of Hardware, Y Combinator
Luke Iseman is Director of Hardware at Y Combinator. Previously, he has founded several hardware startups, including Boxouse (shipping container tiny homes), Edyn (wifi-connected soil sensors), and Dirtnail Pedicabs.


Matt Johnson

Founder and CEO, Bare Conductive
Matt focuses on strategy and business development. He manages Bare's unique R&D platform keeping exciting research on track, and is always interested in building new partnerships. After hours, he can be found running ultra-marathons or working on his motorcycle.