Software companies can achieve greater revenue pull-through and scale by pursuing a platform approach. This might be in the form of data aggregation (e.g., RunKeeper‘s potential to become the repository of fitness and health data) or a software platform (why large softare vendors have substantial partner programs). Platform providers should view the startup ecosystem as a channel for future growth and engage scalable methods to nurture and ultimately monetize those that thrive.
Let’s switch gears to consider the startup ecosystem from a “local software economy” perspective.
Startup Ecosystem Reference Model
In this model, the Attract stage refers to inputs to the startup creation including talent (e.g., University programs such as the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute), networking and support groups, incubators and accelerators, access to research and IP, and the economic environment provided by the State.
The Enable stage refers to business expertise (mentors, EIRs), investors (VCs, Angels, Crowdfunding), and other supporting services (e.g., legal, tax, loans).
The Market stage is about providing channels for startups to gain visibility. The State has aligned interest to enable this kind of exposure because their ultimate objective is jobs. In Australia, we sponsored a “Buy Australian” catalog which served as the catalyst for partner action (in that case, to initiate their Cloud adoption) and provided a marketable context in which to promote their solutions. The Connecticut analog is the recently announced “Still Revolutionary” campaign. Powder up your muskets, it’s time to disrupt the incumbents! 🙂
Note: the Attract/Enable/Market stages differs slightly from the Partner Strategy Framework (Reach/Enable/Activate/Sell) because there usually isn’t enough ROI to engage in depth selling with individual startups (so Activate/Sell is merged into ‘Market’).
Following is an assessment of Connecticut startup resources by stage, based on surveying Startup Connecticut resources and my own observations as a part of the CT ecosystem. The green areas seem to be fulfilling or will soon fulfill startup demand whereas the yellow areas feel like significant work remains.
The next year will be exciting as the State gives a nudge to the local software ecosystem (and the ecosystem as a whole). Ultimately, I feel validation of the State’s job stimulus investment (specific to startups) will be in demonstrating valuable execution in year 1, measurable growth in the startup ecosystem in year 2, and job creation (relative employment levels) in year 3.