Cloud computing is an often used term when it comes to new software and software companies. The ‘cloud’ is the internet, and cloud computing “in a nutshell” is having an application available on the internet, without having it to install it on a computer or server.
Google’s Gmail webmail application and Dropbox file storage service are examples of cloud computing applications for available consumers and business. Both can be accessed online without having to install any software. Additional benefits of these services are that they are often available for tablet and mobile devices.
Not only for large companies, cloud computing is accessible, effective, and cost-efficient for small businesses also.
Cloud based business solutions can improve the availability of crucial information for employers and business owners, even from the other side of the world. A cloud-based CRM system can help account managers access clients information while on their way to a meeting. An online bookkeeping application can help business owners, accountants, and investors stay up to date on the financial situation of the company. Cloud computing allows connections to be made world-wide, expanding the scope of a business from one office to anywhere with internet accessibility.
Cloud-computing applications are usually purchased with a monthly or yearly membership, and some operateon a pay-as-you-go-basis. Cloud solutions are often priced lower than licensed software packages. For example Adobe recently released their Creative Cloud solutions service and the prices are significantly lower than their previous Creative Suite software packages. In addition to the lower costs on purchasing software applications, when using cloud-computing companies also save costs on servers and offline storage space.
Back-up and recovery
Most cloud software providers offer back-up and recovery tools. Many cloud applications come with large (sometimes unlimited) amounts of online storage space. This makes it a cost and time efficient way of backing up or recovering important information.
If a cloud application for a specific kind of business isn’t available yet, it might be just a small investment to have a unique cloud solution made. Many software companies and freelance developers around the world are specialized in realizing tailored cloud-based applications.
Cloud computing brings a lot of advantages to small businesses making them more flexible, up-to-date, and cost efficient. Cloud computing also has its disadvantages. Technical issues or maintenance can cause errors in the applications, and since all cloud-based applications need an internet connection, problems arise when internet access is not available. Security of all online stored data and protection from hackers is also a big issue when it comes to cloud computing. It’s wise to always research a cloud computing service or company on their latest security measures before purchasing.
Investing in Internet Startups
Investing in internet startups can be very lucrative. Investors can expect a high return on investment once the internet service or product goes viral. But it isn’t all good, there is also a lot of risk involved. Startups are often looking for investments when an idea is not (completely) developed yet and there is always the risk a startup never makes any serious profit or that their initial product idea is never realized.
Ten years ago, if you didn’t live in the San Francisco area you probably hadn’t heard of investment opportunities in internet startups. Today, there are more resources available to find internet startups looking for an investment. Blogs, business incubators, and demo days cover that scene now, providing more and new ways to invest in starting internet companies.
Angel investors are friends, family or wealthy individuals who believe in a certain startup ideas. They would like to be involved in the company by investing money in exchange for equity. To become an angel investor in a startup, you probably need $25,000 to $200,000 or even more on your bank account for a serious investment.
It is also possible to invest smaller amounts of money in an internet startup. Crowd funding makes investing available to the public on websites such as Fundable.com, Crowdcube.com and Kickstarter.com. Together with other investors you can invest a relatively small amount to reach a startups total funding goal. Most of the startups that are asking for an investment through crowd funding are looking for ‘seed capital’. Seed capital refers to the capital the startup needs to develop their idea into a product or service, and is typically the first round of investments for the company. Startups looking for seed investments are often selling very small amounts of equity in return for the investments, this makes it a high-risk investment. When the company does not achieve the needed funding in the following investment rounds, they fail to deliver the expected return on those initial seed investments.
The next Facebook
Crowd funding makes it possible for anyone willing to invest a small amount of capital to help fund a startup. If you are also looking for equity in a company and a high return on investment, crowd funding can be a risky game. Most people who help invest in an idea through crowd funding do this based on their emotions; they like the idea or the people behind the idea and they would like to see the progress. If you would like to make a nice return on the investment it is wise to critically study the financial projection of the startup. Beware, almost nowhere will you find a financial projection that will promise you financial success similar to the likes of early Facebook investors. A lot of luck and the stars aligning is all you need for that.