What Cloud Computing can do for Startup America

July 10, 2011 Off By Hoofer
Grazed from Cloud Computing Best Practices.  Author: Neil McEvoy.

With President Obama recently having to report dismal job creation stats, it’s clear just how important it is that programs like Startup America are supported to succeed. As this article reports the bulk of net new job growth comes from new startups.

So our key question is what role can Cloud Computing play in supporting the initiative?

There’s two points to answer this:

  1. Look Ma, No IT Department – Outsource to Innovate
  2. Cloud Ventures Deal Flow – The Idea-to-Launch Platform

Look Ma, No IT Department – Outsource to Innovate

Recently I helped contribute to an article with the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail entitled Look Ma, No IT Department.

The author very nicely captured the essential point about Cloud Computing : The ability to lower the cost of entry for entrepreneurs. A suitable technology platform would enable any bright spark with the right idea to become the next Facebook, generating $$ billions in new value,  and where this might have cost $500k to build only ten or fifteen years ago, now you can do it for $50k.

$50k is still a lot of money but it brings the cost base within reach of family and friend financing, the most common form of seed funding, whereas $500k requires Venture Capital investors who are a lot less willing to support new entrepreneurs at this stage.

Of course these numbers aren’t precise but they do reflect the important point, the trending direction of how much it costs to launch new e-businesses like this. Cloud Computing has indeed driven this downward direction, making entrepreneurship more accessible.

Cloud Ventures Deal Flow – High performance innovation process

The second point is to focus specifically on what the technology can do for governments and other bodies concerned with supporting entrepreneurs in creating these new ventures.

Governments administer the various processes, like obtaining permits and licences to run businesses, that are some of the many thousands of business workflows they implement to deliver services. How efficiently they do so is a key factor in the equation of enabling more successful startups, as they are notoriously bureaucratic.

Not only can they use Cloud technologies to streamline these worklows but more importantly they can implement new models for doing so.

A simple example is the Reducing Barriers site of the initiative itself, where they’re using a “crowdsourcing” tool to solicit feedback from potential entrepreneurs on how they could streamline the process.

It’s exactly the right idea but it does need a lot more. As you can see it’s very easy for these sites to have all the ideas pumped in, but that alone isn’t enough. How you act on the ideas is the big question and this requires a broader technology strategy.

The key point is that the site is a centralized, one-off project. It’s quite seperate from the main process machinery of government, when really what needs to happen is that this innovative approach and use of technology needs to be applied holistically across all the relevant workflows and departments.

For example one of our strategic partners kloudtrack provides such software that is operated via the Cloud, which has been tailored for this scenario and called ‘Deal Flow‘. The result is an application set that the Startup America partnership initiative would consider a ‘Startup Platform‘.

This achieves a quick, low overhead workflow for supporting a collaborative model for taking ideas from their initial concept right through the more complex stages like creating a business plan. By using a ‘Cloud 2.0′ approach it makes it easy for multiple stakeholders to be involved in this process, for example a business plan can be more easily routed around government agency departments who have relevant funding programs.

Conclusion

This double-whammy shows just how powerful the Cloud trend is and how important it is to revitalizing our economy. It empowers more entrepreneurs and importantly it empowers governments to support them, Cloud 2.0 Applications enables High Performance processes like Deal Flow.

We are combining this technology with our Cloud Ventures industry group (join the Linkedin group), which is intended to help more entrepreneurs start new Cloud Computing ventures.