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Animators at Law Continues Record Growth in FY2000: How This Hot Startup Bypassed the Popular VC Model and Found Riches

February 21, 2000

It used to be true that companies needed customers to stay afloat. Not in the last five years, though. All they’ve needed is venture capital! Today, many companies try to find venture capital (cash exchanged for stock in a young company) before they ever try to find their first customer.
Just ask companies like Microstrategy (MSTR) and (AMZN) who depend on venture capital for survival. In fact, nearly half of Microstrategy’s and a quarter of Amazon’s operating expenses are paid with venture capital.

Here’s one company that turned this popular business model on its head. You might say, they did it the old fashioned way...they earned it. Animators at Law is a Washington, D.C. company founded and run by attorneys that produces computer animation, graphics for litigation, presentation strategy, jury research, multimedia presentations, web design and marketing materials for major law firms. They are in their 5th year and are again tripling their sales. While that’s impressive, what makes it really impressive is the fact that this is their 5th year in a row with similar results. And unlike fellow startups like Microstrategy and Amazon, they’re profitable. Very profitable.

In the words of their Founder and CEO, Kenneth J. Lopez, “If your business is so great, why sell half of it to people you don’t know. Just grow it! It often makes sense to trade some market share for profit. That’s what we did, and we couldn’t be happier. Today we own the entire company, we control its direction, we’ll be able to sell the entire company and we can afford to reward our staff with more stock options than other firms.”

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