Grow your startup with help from biggies!

// May 30th, 2015 // Startup

The number of startups in India and globally are growing at a pace never before. While startups are creating innovative products, bigger corporations have gone for platform play. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter – everyone wants you to be on their platform. Anyways you will be using one of them instead of re-inventing the wheel. Most of them have lucrative offers for startups and using them will help you keep your costs low in the early days. Every rupee saved is a rupee earned and you can probably put it for some other use to grow your startup.

free_startup_programs

If you part of a startup here are some programs you should considering enrolling:

Microsoft BizSpark
The Microsoft BizSpark program provides technology, support, visibility, and community to promising startups and entrepreneurs at no charge.  Your startup qualifies if it is less than 5 years old, is privately held, and earns less than $1M annually.

The best benefit from BizSpark is that you get up to $750 per month of FREE Azure cloud services for 3 years; that’s $150 per month each for up to 5 developers. Additionally if you are using Windows than you get free Windows OS Licenses; tools such as Visual Studio and Office.

Also for people who are unaware – Azure is equally good as other cloud providers and runs linux instances also. And no other provider is giving you free instances for 3 years! The best part is most of the applications are accepted if you provide proper details. Use my reference “SANDEEPHEGDE” while signing up.

FbStart
FbStart is a new program from Facebook designed to help early stage mobile startups build and grow their apps. The best part is that facebook has tied up with several 3rd party companies which can really add value to startups.

If you have a mobile app this program will help you get more installs with upto $2500 in facebook ad credits. If you are planning to build a mobile app you can use Parse with $20,000 mobile app platform credit. You also get 10 UserTesting.com credits for remote usability and UX testing. One free .co domain and free privateSSL from NameCheap. Mailchimp Email marketing support for unlimited subscribers and 25 million CPM send credits. While signing up please use referral code “SANDEEPHEGDE”

Google Launchpad
Launchpad provides you with the technology, events, online resources, expertise and community to launch and scale your app.

You will get Google Cloud Platform credits take your idea off the ground. AdWords promotional offers let you test monetization and positioning strategies. UserTesting trial offers to get UI feedback from real users. Invitations to local events connect you with developers, VCs and accelerators near you. Participants at this stage are considered for Launchpad Week – a weeklong training bootcamp in select cities.

The best part of Google is its community approach with Google Experts. The experts are non-Google employees working with other companies/startups. This brings a different prospective and reach to right mentors you need for your startup.

AWS Activate
AWS Activate is a program designed to provide startups with the resources needed to get started on AWS.  You get AWS Free Usage Tier, 1 month AWS Support at Business level, AWS Technical Essentials Web-Based Training ($600 value), AWS Business Essentials Web-Based Training ($600 value), 80 credits for Self-paced labs ($80 value), 1:1 Office Hours with AWS Solutions Architects.

On a personal note, Google/Microsoft’s FREE offerings are much lucrative than that of AWS FREE Tier unless you are incubated at one of their partner accelerator/incubator.

Twitter Digits
This is not exactly a startup program but a free offering very much value add to startups building mobile apps. Twitter Digits is the only program(let me know if there are any other) offering signups through mobile number with FREE SMS verifications. Twitter Digits phone verification works in 216 countries and has built-in support for 32 languages.

In just a few lines of code, you can solve all your on-boarding and authentication needs and focus on building amazing experiences for your users. Digits gives you the power to easily customize the colours and fonts of your on-boarding flow — so it feels completely native to your app. Phone-based on-boarding has been limited to large companies who can afford the time to build the infrastructure to deliver SMS — until now. With Digits, you gain the same level of security and SMS capabilities by simply plugging into Twitter’s own trusted, global infrastructure.


The list can continue with free trials from many more companies, but I have kept it short. Best part is all of these programs are free, but the real question how much value add can those be to your startup? Especially in the cloud infrastructure space there are so many offerings which one are you going to choose?

I would advise you to signup for FbStart simply because of free ad credits which will help you in marketing your product/service. AWS has been marketing from a while but its free tier offering is not in par with Google/Azure. Google Cloud Platform is really good but they are not able create awareness and sell it to developers. Also Google Cloud Platform credits have an expiry of one year while Microsoft Azure will you $750 per month for 3 years.

Also most of the offering of this programs has been evolving with time and I will keep this post updated. Do let us know your views on these programs or just tell us which program you like the most in comments.