transform your brilliant ideas into reality

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what we do

Empower People.

Leave a Legacy. Make Money.

Bootstrap Advisors has three primary business partners who have been working together for over 10 years. We have collectively started over 10 companies, grown 5 companies into multi-million dollar enterprises, and sold 3 different companies to a large private corporation, a public company and a private equity firm.

Our Philosophy: Build great companies.

EMPOWER PEOPLE. Great companies are created by great people. We believe in a management philosophy of accountability and empowerment. We empower people to achieve their maximum potential by setting collective goals, measuring those goals and holding people accountable to those goals.

LEAVE A LEGACY. A great company means offering a great product or service that helps people or improves their lives.

MAKE MONEY. The primary fuel of a company and its measuring stick is profit. That profit allows us to invest in our people and our products to continue to make it great.

Our Expertise

We have experience with developing companies from pre-revenue ideas into profitable businesses. Specifically, we have a great deal of expertise in the following areas:

Testing Demand
Developing a Brand
Sourcing
Selling Online
Retail Distribution
Financial Planning
Strategic Exits
Testing Demand
Developing a Brand
Sourcing
Selling Online
Retail Distribution
Financial Planning
Strategic Exits

Our Process

TEST DEMAND QUICKLY. We believe in testing demand extremely quickly and efficiently. For an early stage product, we like to use the phrase cheap, fast and good enough. We go to market fast and we test demand primarily online.

DEVELOP A BRAND. If the demand test succeeds, then we like to heavily invest in the brand and grow demand quickly through sales marketing and retail distribution. We also focus on customer service and product quality to make sure the brand reputation is stellar.

FINANCIAL DISCIPLINE. From day one the goal of a company is to make money and we hold that tenant as sacred.

STRATEGIC EXITS. We believe if we can prove demand, develop a strong brand and show profitability, there will be plenty of buyers willing to purchase this asset. We are not trying to build the next multi-billion dollar company. We are trying to develop a very profitable asset that we can sell for a lucrative profit.

What opportunities are a good fit?

Most of the companies that we have been successful starting have been very early stage in their development. We have a great deal of experience selling online and do much better with low-tech products that are a clear solution to real problem. We are willing to look at (and offer advice on) on any idea you might have, but we do not want to stray too far from our areas of expertise.

What we are looking for:

Idea Phase: No or little revenue
Tangible Products
Problem Solution/Differentiated Product
Branding Opportunity
Understandable/Low-Tech

Idea Phase: No or little revenue
Tangible Products
Problem Solution/Differentiated Product

Branding Opportunity
Understandable/Low-Tech

Jay Mebane

Chris NG Cashin

Ben Feldman

JAY MEBANE

Prior to Bootstrap Advisors, Jay was the CFO and co-founder of Thundershirt. In addition to Thundershirt, Jay has helped start and run a variety of companies.

Jay has deep experience with the financial, legal and strategic aspects of early-stage companies. Jay practiced law at Moore & Van Allen, PLLC, with a focus on corporate financial transactions.

Jay holds a BA degree and an MBA from Duke University, as well as a JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

CHRIS NG CASHIN

Prior to Bootstrap advisors, Chris was a founder and partner with both Ben and Jay on Thundershirt and Snaptotes. Prior to these entrepreneurial ventures, Chris worked in the ad business at Leo Burnett and several North Carolina agencies in account management and planning helping to launch and rebrand many large and small businesses.

Chris speaks Mandarin Chinese and has experience in the logistics and sourcing industry with American President Lines.

Chris holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics and Asia Area Studies from Duke University and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Chicago.

BEN FELDMAN

Ben Feldman, is a serial entrepreneur who is currently a partner in Bootstrap Advisors. Prior to Bootstrap, Ben was a founder and partner in Thundershirt, which sells a patented garment for dogs that reduces stress by providing gently calming pressure to the dog’s torso.

Ben has also been involved in starting and growing several other entrepreneurial companies including Snaptotes.com, Rapidata.net, MDEverywhere, Austram and TradeCheck.

Ben received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Duke University in 1990 and his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business in 1994.

Jay Mebane

JAY MEBANE

Prior to Bootstrap Advisors, Jay was the CFO and co-founder of Thundershirt. In addition to Thundershirt, Jay has helped start and run a variety of companies.

Jay has deep experience with the financial, legal and strategic aspects of early-stage companies. Jay practiced law at Moore & Van Allen, PLLC, with a focus on corporate financial transactions.

Jay holds a BA degree and an MBA from Duke University, as well as a JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Chris NG Cashin

CHRIS NG CASHIN

Prior to Bootstrap advisors, Chris was a founder and partner with both Ben and Jay on Thundershirt and Snaptotes. Prior to these entrepreneurial ventures, Chris worked in the ad business at Leo Burnett and several North Carolina agencies in account management and planning helping to launch and rebrand many large and small businesses.

Chris speaks Mandarin Chinese and has experience in the logistics and sourcing industry with American President Lines.

Chris holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics and Asia Area Studies from Duke University and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Chicago.

Ben Feldman

BEN FELDMAN

Ben Feldman, is a serial entrepreneur who is currently a partner in Bootstrap Advisors. Prior to Bootstrap, Ben was a founder and partner in Thundershirt, which sells a patented garment for dogs that reduces stress by providing gently calming pressure to the dog’s torso.

Ben has also been involved in starting and growing several other entrepreneurial companies including Snaptotes.com, Rapidata.net, MDEverywhere, Austram and TradeCheck.

Ben received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Duke University in 1990 and his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business in 1994.

portfolio

Business Transformation

THE PROBLEM

Sweaty hands are embarrassing, inconvenient, and just plain annoying. They get in the way of playing sports, playing instruments, and even shaking hands.

THE SOLUTION

David Spratte and Kasper Kubica created Carpe, an antiperspirant hand lotion, to put an end to sweaty hands.

THE TRANSFORMATION

We invested in Carpe in 2015 and worked with David and Kasper to move the company from formula to production and brand launch online. Sales continue to climb and we are actively pursuing online and offline growth opportunities.

THE PROBLEM

Great cold brewed coffee requires equipment, time and commitment. The ready to drink offerings in the market either don’t taste so great or they are loaded with milk and sugar.

THE SOLUTION

Jenny Bonchak started Slingshot Coffee in order to make fresh, cold brewed coffee that’s bottled, ready to go, and ready to pass the taste test of any coffee aficionado.

THE TRANSFORMATION

We invested in Slingshot in 2015 and have worked with Jenny to bring in new staff, scale production and move into new markets up and down the east coast.

THE PROBLEM

Scented candles are traditionally made of paraffin wax, which is made from petroleum and can release harmful toxins into the air when burned or melted. Additionally, open flames are potential fire hazards.

THE SOLUTION

Electric wax melters simply heat up scented wax to its melting point, releasing pleasant scents while avoiding the risk of an open flame. Pure soy wax is used to make the tarts, removing the possible harmful chemicals released by other, non-natural tarts and candles.

THE TRANSFORMATION

It started in 2016 at a meeting with Ryan Ingram, a policeman who loved making candles in his free time. During our meeting, he showed us his all natural soy wax gummy bear-shaped melts, and we fell in love. From there, Happy Wax has grown into a multi-million dollar brand found in over 2,000 retail locations including Pier 1 and Bed Bath and Beyond.

THE PROBLEM

Over 25% of dogs get extremely agitated during thunderstorms, often causing damage to their homes, themselves and to their owner’s happiness.

THE SOLUTION

Phil Blizzard, the owner of a thunderstorm crazed dog, created a compression shirt to help calm his dog’s anxiety. The effect was amazing and transformative for both the dog and Phil.

THE TRANSFORMATION

We started working with Phil in 2009 to take his idea and make a product out of it. After 4 years and millions of Thundershirts sold, Thundershirt was sold to a private equity group and is one of the world’s most recognized pet products.

THE PROBLEM

Parents of children struggling with focus, concentration and on-task behavior were seeking an alternative to medication.

THE SOLUTION

The RE-vibe bracelet sends silent vibration reminders to the wrists of kids who may be off-task, to gently remind them to get back to their work, studies, etc.

THE TRANSFORMATION

In 2016, we invested in the company and developed an online retail strategy to get the word out on RE-vibe and gained national distribution through catalogs and educational distributors.

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