In business, we say the customer comes first. The reality today is that for a lot of companies stakeholders come first. Most startups answer to investors: The bank. Their board. The customer has become the user, a number on the wall. Hypergrowth instead of making the business better has become their north star.

But there is an exception: The independent, self-funded business. The company built on little more than a vision. Their investors are you, the customer.

This business might not be the first result in your Google search. It is not the company sponsoring your favorite podcast. Rather, it is the recommendation shared between friends. It is the CEO prepping for a pitch one moment and doing customer support the next. This is the growing business that, not long ago, was one person’s pipe dream.

Of all the ways to start a company – applying for a business loan, crowdfunding, seeking venture capital – this was not the safe bet. Bootstrapping your business puts your future at risk. You and your team work, sometimes one month to the next, on the faith that this will one day pay off. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Until today we failed on two ideas.

But we got back up again and launched another self-funded business. And this is a success on its own. To stay in business? That’s a point of pride.

By supporting an independent business, you support a company that answers to its customers. Your request won’t go into an automated workflow. Your feedback will likely turn into a feature. The numbers are important to a self-funded business, but so are the names and relationships.

We support independent companies to make business personal. Because we want to see our community thrive. Because we want diversity and innovation. Because we believe in an idea.

Here are some of the self-funded companies we – ourselves – support, sometimes by buying their products and sometimes without. Support can come in many different forms.

  • Transistor.fm - podcast hosting and analytics for creatives, brands, professionals
  • Shipright - Track product feedback in one organized place
  • Zenkit - Organize anything, your way

We support bootstrapped businesses because they are human, like the rest of us.

And as an independent and bootstrapped business, we wear our story with pride.

By purchasing & using Lito for your team’s synchronous communication, you are supporting an independent & bootstrapped business. Thank you for choosing Lito and making our ideas possible.

Independent + Bootstrapped badge and copy by Semplice. Thanks for starting this movement.