Ultra Light Software-as-a-Service

September 2009 Entrepreneur's Forum:

Ultra Light Software as a Service (Saas)

One of the key tenets of starting an boot-strapped, ultralight company is to rely on third party providers -- be it software-as-a-service (SaaS) or cloud-computing companies -- to avoid large capital expenditures and "variable-ize" as much of your cost base as possible. This conserves cash and gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed.

But what about those SaaS and Cloud computing companies on whom our ultralight start-ups are built? How did they get started? Is it possible to launch one of those on an "ultralight" budget? How do you handle the capital costs up-front as well as the ongoing maintenance and support costs associated with providing these services to your clients?

At the September ULS New York meeting, we plan to delve into these issues with the following panel of experts. Some are in the middle of the start-up process, others have successfully scaled the business and chosen to take external capital.

Some of the questions we will ask them to address are:

  • How did you cover the up-front expense associated with establishing the infrastructure/software for your clients?
  • How did you win your first clients? As a startup with limited capital, how did you gain the trust of cornerstone clients and convince them to hand over data or integrate your software into their daily lives?
  • How did you cover support and maintenance costs? Did you have revenue to cover this?
  • How significant were outages or lapses in service compare to more established or better funded competitors? Did these hurt business? How did you regain trust?
  • Were you able to scale effectively as a self-funded entity? At what point did you, or do you foresee having to take capital?


  • Ray Bernaz, founder and CEO of Socialibrium LLC

Panelists (alphabetic order):

  • Jed Alpert, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Mobile Commons
  • Sam Lessin, Founder and CEO of Drop.io
  • Peter Stern, Founder and President of Zenbe

Name Sales End Price Fee
Pitch   Ended $10 $0.8
No-Pitch / General Admission Ended $20 $1.05
Pay-At-Door (cash only - no credit cards or checks)   Ended $30 $

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