Through our Global Entrepreneur Program, IBM works with startups all over the world. We see the best innovators in every region, market, and industry. And across all of these segments, startups are living in the cloud.
It makes sense. Today’s startup requires far more capital than the mythological business born in a garage. For example, Dennis Harward, CEO of eNABLE-Systems and self-described chronic entrepreneur, started his first software company, HTE, Inc, with $3,000 and grew it to a market capitalization of $300 million. When he formed his second software company, Innoprise, in 2001, he needed $6 million to bootstrap the business. Harward’s current venture required about $500,000 in startup costs.
Harward’s history reflects the trajectory of startups over time, and helps illustrate how cloud computing helps lower the cost of entry for entrepreneurs. Cloud doesn’t eliminate development expenses, but it does help new businesses avoid hefty upfront capital investments in a data center. In addition, as usage ebbs and flows with the development schedule, the team pays only for the resources they use.
Cloud computing also lets the startup business focus on their core competency without hiring people with the expertise to run the supporting systems. The entrepreneurs we meet in our SmartCamps are highly adaptable to changing marketplace demands, in part because they can quickly adapt their development environments.
In addition to these fairly obvious cost savings, cloud computing also provides opportunities for startups to expand the scope of their offering through powerful IBM partnerships. For example, StreetLight Data, co-winner of the North American SmartCamp finals, uses transportation demographics to deliver location analytics to their clients in government, insurance, and retail. By participating in IBM initiatives such as Smarter Commerce and integrating with cloud-based analytics tools from IBM, StreetLight Data can expand the depth and breadth of their value to their clients.
Of course, SmartCamp participation is not a requirement for entrepreneurs looking to partner with IBM. Any SaaS provider who would like to run on SmartCloud Enterprise, IBM’s public cloud, can onboard in five easy steps by using our Ready For SmartCloud Services program. Using this program, startups not only run their applications on IBM’s cloud, but they also take advantage of the marketing benefits associated with the program.
IBM is eager to work with the next generation of software companies, and most of that work will take place in the cloud. For more information on getting started with IBM, see the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program.