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Bootstrapping to $40 Million: iCIMS CEO Colin Day (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Jan 17th 2013

If you haven’t already, please study our Bootstrapping Course and Investor Introductions page. 

Colin Day is the founder, CEO and president of iCIMS, a SaaS provider of HR solutions. Prior to founding iCIMS, Colin worked in sales and new business development at Comrise Technology, an IT staffing firm. After successfully opening a new branch office in Washington D.C., Colin recognized an opportunity to carve a technical platform out of the company, and iCIMS was born. Colin graduated from Cornell University with a degree in psychology

Sramana: Colin, let’s start with your background. Where are you from? What is the story that led to your entrepreneurial career?

Colin Day: I am a dual citizen of the U.K. and the U.S. I was born in the States, but both of my parents and my entire family are from the U.K. I grew up primarily in Washington D.C., with a brief stint in Switzerland. I took off to New York to go to school at Cornell University. After that I moved to New Jersey to start my career.

Sramana: What did you do after you graduated?

Colin Day: I graduated with a degree in psychology. At that point the only thing I knew is that I did not want to have a job in psychology. Right out of school, I accepted an opening with an IT staffing firm. I got hired as a technical recruiter. I was recruiting Java developers and DBAs into Bell Labs.

Sramana: What year was that?

Colin Day: I graduated in 1997 and worked as a recruiter through 1999. In 1999, I started writing the business plan for iCIMS, which is the company I am with now.

Sramana: What was the process of writing that business plan? Where did the idea come from, and what was the genesis of the company?

Colin Day: I always knew I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. I had a strong role model in my father, who started his own company late in life. When I had my job as a recruiter, I found that I would spend every free moment I had writing a business plan. I had to come up with an idea of a company that I could start. I wrote seven plans, and I still think that many of them could have been good business plans.

Right as I was doing all of this, the company I was with started building a recruiting platform. I approached the CEO and asked him how he would feel about spinning off a company. The CEO provided all of our initial funding which, over the course of two years, came to around $2.5 million as bridge loans.

When anyone young comes up to me and wants to start a company, my advice is that an idea is great, but it is when an idea meets funding, you can be successful. So many people have a hard time finding that initial funding. I was lucky to find something that basically fell in my lap.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Bootstrapping to $40 Million: iCIMS CEO Colin Day
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