MSPs: Time to Target Startup Customers?
The New York Internet Company (NYI) recently landed a colocation deal with Meetup, a social network site for coordinating local get-togethers. Now here’s the twist: The customer’s selection decision was based, in part, on NYI’s business experience with startups. Is it time for MSPs to specifically target startups as customers? Here are some insights.
Merrill Ferguson, Meetup’s director of technical operations, said in a statement that NYI’s background with technology startups gives it insight into Meetup’s “bandwidth and product-cycle” needs.
Phillip Koblence, vice president at NYI, noted that a sizable percentage of the colocation and managed services company’s business stems from startup businesses — probably more than 20 percent. Those ventures range from pure-play technology firms such as Meetup to financial services companies.
So what are startups looking for in service providers? Koblence cites flexibility as the key attribute.
“The best way to market to a startup is to offer levels of flexibility that are typically lacking from larger corporations,” he said.
Startups generally want to start small when contracting for services from a provider — test an application, get a sense of capacity constraints, and grow from there. Working with a startup isn’t necessarily an exercise in immediate gratification. The provider has to give a startup what it wants, which, at least initially, may not be much.
NYI’s take on flexibility involves letting customers start small and then quickly ramp up as needed. Koblence said IP upgrades that don’t require physical reconfiguration take a few minutes via help desk and portal. A customer request for additional space or power — a couple of cabinets or power receptacles — has a 48-hour turnaround.
Here are a couple of other examples of services for startups:
- The Planet’s Sand Castle initiative aims to help entrepreneurs mitigate their computing costs.
- Sun’s Startup Essentials program offers discounted hosting through partners including DataPipe, Joyent, Layered Technologies, and NaviSite.
No doubt, layoffs and high U.S. unemployment rates have triggered a so-called entrepreneurs by necessity: First-time business owners who abandoned traditional job hunts and instead pursued entrepreneurial ideas. It’s safe to say a growing number of those entrepreneurs need external managed services help.