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Everything I’ve Learned from Growing My Startup to 10 Million Users with $0 in Funding

Fifteen years of business. Ten million users, $0 in funding -- a founder shares his biggest lessons

By | Aytekin Tank |

Rarely do I come across inspiring quotes from mathematicians, but this one, from the late Morris Kline, has been echoing in my brain for weeks: “The most fertile source of insight is hindsight.”

Startups are often urged to keep driving forward; to hit new targets, build more and grow faster, bigger, better. As Jotform recently turned 15 and unveiled our first new brand in over a decade, I’ve been inspired to pause and look back in the rearview mirror.

Related: The Best Leadership Advice We Heard in 2021

I launched the company in 2006, driven by a vision to create simple web forms (and fueled by gallons of Starbucks coffee). So much has changed since those early days. We’ve added hundreds of staff, opened three offices on two continents and built a product with 10 million users. And we still haven’t taken any outside funding.

I list these milestones not to brag, but to reinforce what’s possible when you take your time and pursue a single, evolving goal. No one would ever call Jotform an overnight success — and that’s the point. We’ve done it our way, and I’ve learned what feels like a thousand lessons over the years. So, I wanted to gather up my very best advice in one place. This is what I would tell myself as I prepared to launch the company. I hope it helps and reassures you, wherever you are on your startup journey.

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