5 Programs Designed for Cash-Strapped Startups


Scaling your startup can lead to a lot of growing pains. To avoid getting stretched too thin, you can turn to companies that are further along for a helping hand.

In addition to selling solutions to established businesses, many companies offer their flagship workplace management solutions to startups at significantly reduced costs (or even for free). As a startup, taking advantage of these discounted solutions can go a long way in helping you scale your business. There are a number of affordable programs and solutions available to help startups cover everything from collaboration to cloud storage.

You might be wondering, “What’s in it for any company to offer discounted solutions to startups?” For one, each successful company was once a startup and has experienced first-hand the difficulties of building a global business. It’s an opportunity for them to give back by lending their technology, tools and expertise to the next generation of companies.

Of course, there’s also a business reason: the “pay as you grow” revenue model. By establishing their solutions amongst startups early on such as securing similar to cash advances for card machine merchants if your business requires it, they hope that as the startup continues to mature and its teams’ needs expand, it will upgrade to the more advanced (and pricier) solutions.

Here are five companies focused on helping startups successfully scale:

1. Atlassian Starter Program – Fellow Aussie company Atlassian makes software for IT teams to plan, collaborate, code and service. This package makes all of Atlassian’s products (including JIRA and Confluence, its best known products) accessible for small businesses and startups via full-featured, low-priced licenses. These products allow teams to do everything from hosting code and collaborating to private chatting and issue tracking. All the proceeds from the “Starter” licenses go to the Room to Read charity, which promotes literacy and gender equality in education in the developing world.

2. Nitro for Startups – As startups grow, more and more people have their hands on important documents. To encourage teams to work smarter as they scale, we started this program that includes a free subscription to Nitro Cloud for easy document eSigning, sharing and collaborating. We offer this program to startups located in the U.S., Australia, and Ireland, as well as the U.K.

3. Rackspace Startups – Virtually every startup needs to run databases, apps and websites. This startup program from Rackspace offers discounted web hosting services to address those essentials. The program includes Rackspace’s stellar support team with an average response time under a minute. This tool saves you from going into a panic if your site mysteriously goes down.

4. Salesforce for Startups – Late last year, Salesforce launched a startup offering that gives free access to the Salesforce1 Platform and one-year free access to its CRM and customer service tools. Salesforce is best known for its CRM product, but it also offers industry-leading technology that extends into departments beyond sales, including marketing, customer support, management, training and more. This program is a startup’s best friend for building a customer base and growing your company.

5. Zendesk’s “The Complete Startup Pack” – As the number of customers grows, so does the need for a support tool to build relationships and resolve issues. Zendesk offers its software to qualified startups for one year of free use. With customers such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Groupon, Zendesk has observed (and contributed to) best practices at these companies renowned for excellent customer service, giving startups great insights into what can help them deliver exceptional overall experiences to customers.

Many other companies have also started similar startup initiatives. The point is, as a startup, there’s no need for you to go it alone. The transition to becoming a large organization is exciting, but that growth can be significantly slowed by unnecessary bottlenecks and lack of proper toolsets for example. By making these low-cost investments at the start, startups can see huge dividends in both the short and long terms. I hear organizations like shopify provide some fantastic services like shopify post purchase upsell to improve ROI’s for businesses.