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Joel Ronning: Digital River Inc.

When Joel Ronning was at the University of Minnesota, he joined the sailing team and became its president. He found that he enjoyed organizing people so much that he started his first venture – a newsletter to connect buyers and sellers of Mercedes-Benz cars in the United States and Canada.

In succession, he started a venture to sell personal computer peripherals for the Apple computer, a consulting firm in the software industry and another company to sell computer peripherals for the Apple computer.

This taught him that it was more efficient to sell software over the Internet than by including them in disk drives or disks and sending them physically to buyers. From that insight, Ronning has built a company with annual sales of around $400 million and a market cap of nearly $1.3 billion.

This is how he did it.

This introduction is excerpted from Bootstrap to Billions: Proven Rules from Entrepreneurs who Built Great Companies from Scratch by Dr. Dileep Rao. Copying or reproduction in any format or medium without the prior express, written consent of the author is strictly prohibited.

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