Indie businesses: startups without the crunch

Responding to a post by David Heinemeier Hansson, Bryce Roberts thinks aloud about "indie" businesses — high tech startups that eschew the fast path to sale and exit and opt for slower, self-financed growth. He calls them "indie" businesses, comparing them to musicians who build their careers without labels, and who, if they join up with a label later, do so on their own terms.

Similarly, Indie businesses will be comfortable playing by their own rules even if they may fly in the face of startup cultural norms. They will chase opportunities in markets that may be small, niche or non-existent instead of jumping on the most fundable fad. They will find ways to operate outside of the traditional venture model through either small amounts of early outside funding or choosing a slower growth path and getting to profitability on the back of a terrific product and happy customers. And they will have a goal to stay independent as opposed to looking for a quick flip or speedy IPO.

I think we're entering a golden age for Indie businesses. Some will take the shape of long term durable companies, others will take the shape of projects that spin up and wind down to meet bursts of demand or to scratch a passing itch.

With democratized digital distribution and the rise of crowdfunding sources of capital, many companies will be in a position to stay independent and play by their own rules. And I think that's a very important and powerful development worthy of it's own word.

Rise of the Independents

(via O'Reilly Radar)