[Editorial Notes: Guest article contributed by Balaraman Lakshmanan, founder of Crispify.]
There are a lot of aspiring young entrepreneurs around with great ideas in mind but without knowing how to execute it. Mostly so, because, a startup has to stand on its own until it can raise money from an angel investor or a seed investor or a venture capitalist. Incubators and accelerators usually help in bootstrapping your startup at initial stages. But, still an early stage startup cannot afford to outsource, host servers, buy test devices, hire marketeers or professionals for testing etc. But all this is getting better now. Here, I would like to share how our product Crispify was bootstrapped from idea to product with the help of free services available for product startups.
Crispify was incubated at Startup Chile program when it was in prototype stage. They gave us $40,000 without taking any equity. That helped us meet expenses on outsourcing design and development of the Android app for Crispify and covering for the costs of applying for a US regular patent. While I was at Startup Chile, Crispify also got $3000 free credits in AWS and $1000 free credits in oDesk. There are a lot of similar deals available at Startup Chile.
Then, I applied to SoftLayer Catalyst program. I was offered $1500 worth of their services free of cost for a year. Currently, I’m using servers, cloud computing instances and CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) from SoftLayer. I needed high bandwidth and high performance servers to host Crispify. I’m able to support Crispify only with the help of SoftLayer Catalyst program. They were recently acquired by IBM and and customer support is great.
With the help of Queppelin, I got the initial version of my app out. Queppelin team understood my requirement in depth and provided expert insights into the mobile ecosystem. Our testing team from Moolya Startup Test Lab also did a great job and Crispify evolved a lot after Moolya started testing the product. An amazing team from Crispify, Queppelin and Moolya got together to make a fabulous product. Moolya provide free full product testing which includes UI/UX testing, feature testing, performance testing, user testing, scenario testing, market analysis etc., for emerging startups. They were really passionate and continuously gave inputs on improving the product. They document the bugs very professionally in a Google spreadsheet with complete information about the bugs and most of the times they effectively communicate with mind-maps. At one stage, I really forgot that I was getting these services for free as more than 5 people from Moolya were continuously working with me for almost 2 months!
Though I am part of Microsoft Bizspark program, I personally have not used the benefits of the program till now. However, they are really helping a lot of early stage startups by providing free access to a number of development tools, free developer account, Microsoft Azure benefits etc. You can find various startup deals at F6S website. This site also helps in finding and applying to various incubator and accelerator programs.
For better app discovery and achieving faster user acquisition, InMobi app publish will be helpful. I think they also give free advertisement credits for early stage startups. So, My advise is very simple. Before spending on anything for your startup, look for the free alternatives available around you!
About the Author: Balaraman Lakshmanan is the founder of Crispify, an Android application to increase the tempo of the video automatically and intelligently while compressing the file size during the process. Crispify is gearing up for the public launch by this month end. It is already released as a closed beta version on Google play store already!