As the economy struggles, the ability to receive funding for an idea and turn it into a successful startup company will become increasingly difficult. But at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco today, nine companies explained how they got their companies off the ground with initial funds of $50,000 or less.
At the event, Guy Kawasaki, managing director of Garage Technology Ventures (an early stage venture capital firm), noted that times had changed for Web 2.0 startups, making the lessons learned by companies that took modest investments all the more important.
[ See releated story "Web startups must up their game in tough economy." ]
"The genesis for this is are the economic times we're in," Kawasaki said. "The old days of starting a company by going to investors and giving a PowerPoint presentation - and then getting $2 million - are over."
With than in mind, here are nine companies that have developed nifty Web 2.0 sites (with only a little cash up front).
Where they're based: Tampa Bay, Florida
What they do: Allow users to make online forms with no HTML experience. They can create forms that help people register for a website, workshop or mailing list. As people respond and fill out the forms, users can measure their responses by running reports and viewing charts.
Quote from co-founder Kevin Hale: "We don't just strive to collect information, but analyze it as well. [With no coding experience necessary], it's for secretaries who want to avoid the IT department."
Where they got funding: Hale says they were initially funded by Y Combinator (a venture capital firm that gives small funding rounds, usually of $20,000 or less, to companies in their infancy).
Business Model: Free for individuals; charge fees for groups and businesses.
Where they're based: Palo Alto, CA
What they do: A Web-based portal that allows you to access your computers or network devices from anywhere, without the cumbersome process of setting up remote desktop capabilities.
Quote from founder, Ryo Koyama: "Our view is that everyone knows how to use a Web browser. So there is no reason all your data shouldn't be accessible from the Web. Setting up a remote desktop tends to be a more complicated thing."
Where they got funding: According Koyama, they launched the product with their own resources before receiving funding.
Business Model: Licensing to networking technology companies.
Where They're Based: Bay Area
What they do: Dropbox allows you to synch and share your files online. One of the upsides to the service is that any change or update you make to a file, it is updated across all your devices that access it. It also has good version control, allowing you to "undelete" files.