Sometimes what goes around comes around. And I mean that in a good way. The co-founders of CodePen (one of our #50startups) recently announced that they’d raised $1 million. For many founders, fundraising can feel like having a second, more demanding job while still running your company.

But CodePen co-founder Tim Sabat reports that in this case, raising money for his startup, which has created a vibrant, popular and now global community for front-end developers, was relatively easy. There were no VCs or angel conferences. No elaborate pitch decks.

Instead Sabat and his CodePen co-founders were hanging out and having drinks with their long-time friend, Chris Campbell, one of the founders of WuFoo,which was acquired by SurveyMonkey for $35 million in 2011. Sabat and CodePen collaborators Chris Coyier and Alex Vasquez were WuFoo’s first technical hires.

“Chris (Campbell) jokingly said that he’d bet a million dollars on us,” Sabat says. But it wasn’t a joke. And they drew up the terms the next morning over coffee. Chris Campbell’s brother and WuFoo co-founder Ryan Campbell joined the round, as did Sabat’s brother, Chris Sabat.

See? Former founders helping former employees fund a new startup. It’s the circle of life.

Now those of you who are currently entrenched in the fundraising process and on your 17th round of terms with investors may want to kick Sabat and his buddies in the shins. Don’t do it. First, because they’re nice guys. And while the finding the money was easy, Sabat says the company then had to spend many months and long hours on the subsequent due diligence and corporate restructuring. And he assures us it was a lot of work.

You can hear all about the startup’s fundraising process in CodePen’s podcasts.

Sabat, who lives and works in Bend, says the company will use the money to make some much-needed hires, including three developers. For the latter, the founders have been able to reach into the very community its created. The CodePen site boasts more than 330,000 registered users. In fact, they added 454 new ones just today.

“We’re pretty lucky that the people we’re trying to hire are also our audience,” Sabat says. CodePen’s team is fully dispersed with Sabat here, and his co-founders in Florida and Wisconsin. The company’s new hires will also most likely work remotely.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at or

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley