Archive for the ‘IT Start Up’ Category
This time I would like to tell you how to organize your startup if the bank or investor you referred to considered you project too risky for funding. Where to find the money to make the project happen?
The way to get this problem solved is crowd funding – financial phenomenon that became so popular these days.
What is crowdfunding?
Generally speaking crowd funding describes the idea how to raise the investment for the startup.
There are three types of crowd funding:
- Donation Model – campaigns gather hundreds of small donations to achieve a financial goal (growth/extension or start up). Donors choose their benefactors and feel good about contributing to an economic or artistic endeavor.
- Reward Model – supporters make a monetary contribution in return for reward of some sort. The rewards can be wholly intangible, such as being identified publicly as a supporter, or a T-shirt.
- Equity Model – investors receive an interest in the profits of the business that they are helping fund.
As you may see from the main models, to grow the startup besides the investors could be possible with the help of so called collective supporters/individuals. Due to the social funding platforms like Kisckstarter, IndieGoGo etc. so called donors/individuals pool their money to support the projects that seem attractive and financially successful. The amount of donation could be different and can vary from 5 to hundred dollars.
As the result crowdfunding becomes really thrilling process and encourages both as creators and the supporters, forming close relationships with each other.
As I make the focus in this article on how to raise the money with social funding platforms I would like to have a look at the Kickstarter as an example to see how it all works.
The following websites (SF platforms)/startups considered to be the main ones in crowdfunding: IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and RocketHub. They serve well for two types of project: small business launches and big project launches.
Kickstarter – is an American startup founded in 2009 through its website, tools to raise funds for creative projects via crowd funding.
The funding spans on vary projects as webcomics, serial fiction, poetry events, divination, music, illustration, sculpture, movies, games and other media. According to the diary of Kickstarter startup the art projects are the leading ones, they consist 60% of all funded projects. In order to be sure I took a look at www.kisckstarter.com, so in the category of most funded projects since 2009 (from its launch) the first 10 positions indeed go to art projects: 1/art 2/ comics 3/ dance 4/ design 5/ fashion and then goes 6/ film and video 7/ food, 9/games and 10/music. From the Kickstarter’s launch from 2009 till 2012 the most funded project is Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android from design category. It raised 10,266,845$ from 68,928 backers. Then goes video game console Ouya with the fund of 8,596,475$. Accorsing to the published statistics of October 10, 2012 there were 73,620 launched projects (3,426 in progress), with a success rate of 43.85%. The total number of dollars pledged was $381 million.
Regarding the funding duration, primary there were projects with 30, 60, 90 days duration. After the analysis conducted the projects duration was cut to 60 days, because the success of these projects was more evident, 44% of such projects were successfully funded in respect of 24% with 90 days duration.
Also was discovered that if one person supports the idea/project the chance to have a successful result will increase to 52%, and the project funded on 30% from the required sum has almost 90% of the success to collect the entire sum.
So, one of frequently asked questions for new runners is how could I start the project on Kickstarter?
Of course everything begins with an idea, and then you need to go through the formalities. As we’re speaking about Kickstarter in US, you should be permanent US resident, have US address, US bank account, US state-issued ID (driver’s license), have a major US credit or debit card and to be 18 years old. Then follow the projects’ presentation with text, photos and video on your profile, you need also to decide on the funding duration and start-up budget. You have unlimited access to your profile and you could be able to make updates and edits. When you will be sure that the project is rather mature to be shown on public your video appears in the relevant category and additionally you could start your own promotion campaign in social networks to attract backers.
If the project is fully funded you need to think over about reward for your supporters. Kickstarter takes 5% of the funds raised. Amazon charges an additional 3–5%. For supporters you may prepare different types of presents due to the backers’ sum donation. It could be a pen, T-shirt, DVD, books, a limited edition of the comic etc. Rewards can be priced between $1 and $10,000, and they must fall within the project guidelines.
The project is considered to be successful when it raises necessary sum for its launching. And you get all funded the money. If the project funding fails all the money came back to the backers.
If a project reaches its funding goal before time expires, projects continue to accept pledges until the funding deadline. There is no option to end a project early.
On average, successfully funded projects raise around 130% of their goal.
It should be also noted that all rights on the project belong to its creators.
Crowdfunding shows that nothing is impossible. This model proves that even a dollar counts and helps those who unable to finish or start the project by themselves. Kisckstarter is one of the websites/platforms that help to raise money for American residents and creators; in UK the largest crowdfunding platform is Wefund, in Finland – Brickstarter etc. So as was to be proved crowdfunding is very popular.
The basic idea of crowdfunding is to take money and then make money realizing your project. Sometimes the creators begin with the modest goal and at the end raise the sum that overcomes the initial one two or three times. In return the supporters receive the reward/present according to the amount of contribution made.
So if you don’t afraid and ready to share your ideas with community, would like to see your project in the reality, crowdfunding is the right place.
Hope that information presented would be use and interest of you.
Thank you in advance!
Katerina Bulavskaya – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
Budgets continue to shrink, so IT departments have to do everything they can to save money. Many are looking at the all-too-obvious cuts and neglecting a helpful chunk of less obvious ways to pinch those pennies. I want to offer some, which I think can go a long way toward saving your department precious budget dollars (and quite possibly, your job). You can protect your budget and help safeguard your job by implementing these cost-cutting measures.
1. Drop Microsoft Office for Google Apps or LibreOffice
I know most businesses hold onto Microsoft Office as if their work-lives depended upon it. The truth is it doesn’t. Google Apps and LibreOffice have both evolved into business-class productivity suites that can easily replace the de facto standard, Microsoft Office. This move will especially help small businesses that don’t benefit from bulk-purchase prices from Microsoft. And since most users tap into only about 10 to 15 percent of the features and power of their office suite, why not save nearly one hundred percent of the cost of the proprietary solution? Besides, a tool like Google Apps makes collaboration between teams even easier.
2. Migrate your terminal server to a Linux box
The Microsoft Terminal Server is a powerful tool — and it comes with a powerful price tag. The more users you need, the more costly that option will be. Replace that box with a Linux machine and you can have the same kind of power at a small fraction of the cost. And adding more users won’t wind up costing you the entire budget. So long as your hardware can handle it, you can add as many users as you like — at no cost.
3. In-house your CRM/ERP/HRM solutions
If you go to SourceForge and search for CRM, ERP, or HRM, you’ll be astounded at the hits you get. Not only are these solutions plentiful, they are powerful. With the likes of Drupal, Joomla!, OrangeHRM, and countless other tools, you will have your business-to-customer-to-vendor-relationship in perfect harmony. And since these are mostly Web-based tools, you’ll be able to work that magic from anywhere that can reach the server housing the tool.
4. Migrate to networked or cloud-based storage
The benefits of this might not be immediately apparent. But migrating your users’ storage from their machines to a centralized location can help save your budget by reducing strain on the client machine (less writing to drives and more over the network). This will also help save costs because you can more easily back up all end-user data from a single location.
5. Move some desktops to Linux
This one will have the most people shaking their heads, but hear me out. There are always certain desktops in a company that have a limited usage. And because much of business has migrated to Web-based tools, a Linux box makes perfect sense. With those machines, you won’t have to worry about virus infections, corrupt registry entries, or users installing malware-infested applications. Some machines will need Windows (such as those that use proprietary software or software with no Linux port, like QuickBooks). And there will be users who refuse change. For those instances, simply stick with what works best. But for the machines and/or users that can make use of Linux, make the switch and you’ll save.
6. Keep good backups of everything
It’s inevitable: Hardware is going to break. That means every machine in your company, at some point, is going to give up the ghost. When that happens, so much time can be lost recovering data — be it user-level or company-level data. One of the most critical tasks you can have as an IT pro is making sure backups run and run consistently. With a solid backup plan, you will save quite a lot of money in the end, even if only in time.
7. Implement strict antivirus and anti-malware policies
A big issue with end user machines is the “accidental installation” of malware or the infection of viruses. One of the best ways to help yourself out is to use an antivirus solution (such as Symantec Endpoint Protection) that can be managed from a centralized location. Regardless of what you use, it is crucial to make sure that all antivirus and anti-malware software is up to date (both the application and the definitions). It might also behoove you to make sure that end users aren’t installing extra “features” for their browsers — such as coupon finders.
8. Encourage creative thinking (solutions for unique problems)
This is more for your IT staff. Encourage the use of creative thinking to solve issues with client computers and servers. Most every computer issue has multiple paths that can arrive at a solution. Sometimes the creative solution is the one that can help save money in the end. Not all administrators can think along these routes, so don’t press them if they aren’t capable. But encourage those who can think creatively and on their toes.
9. Document, document, document
You want to save time? Document your hardware, your network topology, and your software. Document your users, your users’ PCs, your backups — anything you can possibly think of that will help you save time and make transitions from one software/hardware/administrator to another as smooth as possible. This documentation will also go a long way toward helping you see how everything on your network is used and what can be used more efficiently.
10. Implement a help desk solution
Many smaller businesses don’t employ a help desk solution because they assume you can keep track of all the issues on your own. That is a big mistake. The ability to track progress on issues and to review previous issues (and how they were fixed) can really save you time and money. And enabling end users to submit tickets will help ensure that issues are better managed and resolved more quickly. Plenty of open source solutions are available for this. (My favorite is OS Ticket.)
Have you found some other strategies that have helped you reduce spending? Please, share your suggestions bellow.
In IT world everybody knows what Dedicated Development Team approach implies. Right now take half a minute and try to describe your associations with DDT:
Hmmm…5 developers… more?.. big project…half a year or longer… long negotiations…administrative formalities…we will start in a month?…Hmmm…maybe we are too small for this… That’s what most probably has come to your mind first.
Indeed, not so long ago DDT model was considered a long-term, continuous, stiff cooperation approach. That’s how it classically looks like. Still now we are not longer in the era of big-big system projects prevalence and large companies domination. Large basic systems have already been developed, the majority of companies in the market are SMBs and start-ups. It’s evident that today’s reality dictates new standards for cooperation approaches. And outsourcing is adapting to newly arising demand specifics as well.
Since average project looks differently now, DDT model is undergoing changes too. Today the dialogue between customer and vendor runs like this, at least at Altabel:
- We’ll need 3 Java developers for the server part. There will also be iOS mobile client part, so 1 iOS developer? And Android client will follow…Also our target audience has demand for Windows Phone….Yeah…
- Ok, let’s agree on an approximate schedule for these assignments. We will pick candidates for you.
-Maybe testers for active testing before releases…
-From time to time? On a short notice, that’s Ok.
- What if we start with one developer only?
- No problem. Decide when.
- Have work in 1-2 weeks already…
- Review CVs please and we’ll arrange interviews. Simultaneously, let’s discuss contractual terms.
-Oops, we need to integrate with a highly specialized service. We need to add specific skills to already established core team. Great to have it all together…
- Which skills? Will try to find them too, in our or partner’s pool.
-Our product needs new technology. In-house team is taking on this strategic task, but they can’t keep up with supporting the current system… Still our users need decent level of support service!
-We may assist with maintaining your system working stably.
- Have a project vision, but details are still emerging. Looks like elaborating an accurate spec will take ages, but need to start soon since the market won’t wait…
-We may assign a dedicated specialist to elaborate all the details along with you and perhaps prototype for you. Then approach may be changed if you still wish so.
-But the developer’s engagement will be for this project timeframe only?
I guess flexibility becomes an inalienable characteristic of Dedicated Development Team approach. Now it’s just “folk” and is adaptable to a particular company, project or condition.
Let it be a womanly sounding comparison, still this is like with clothes: casual is popular nowadays so dress your company in a new comfortable “casual” DDT style!
Thanks for attention. Your comments are appreciated, as usually
Helen Boyarchuk – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Helen.Boyarchuk@altabel.com | Skype ID: helen_boyarchuk
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development