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Climbing with the cloud: How using the cloud can help startups attract investment

Climbing with the cloud: How using the cloud can help startups attract investment 

It’s a good time to be an entrepreneur. Canadian tech innovators are on a roll right now, and investors, both at home and around the world, are taking notice. In fact, some might even say that Canadian innovation is at an inflection point with big ideas and big capital hitting their stride at the same time.

2016 was the seventh straight year of growth for venture capital (VC) in Canada, and saw more VC investments in startups than any year since 2001. Additionally, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development now ranks Canada third for VC investment. And according to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, more than $2.6B was invested in the first three quarters of 2017 alone with 431 deals.

This year could be bigger than ever. Just this May, Salesforce Ventures introduced a $100 million Canada Trailblazer Fund to invest in Canadian startups and fuel cloud innovation and customer success in Canada. Along with the launch of the fund, Salesforce hosted a Dreampitch competition in Canada, which saw three Canadian startups pitching to win a $100,000 USD investment from Salesforce Ventures.

While some startups are eager to engage with a VC for the financial backing alone, the guidance, advice, mentorships and access that VCs can provide is often as valuable as the capital. A corporate VC, such as Salesforce Ventures, can add additional value by providing access to our Salesforce ecosystem, along with the experience we’ve amassed over the years of nurturing successful companies.

But with investors hungry to cultivate innovative businesses, startups need more than a great idea to be noticed. In order to push the boundaries and make themselves heard in an incredibly crowded and competitive market — there are an estimated 2,500 to 4,100 active tech startups in the Greater Toronto Area alone — startups need to find a way to stand out.

Whether you’re setting out to dazzle a VC firm, an investment arm of a corporation, or entering a competition to win funding, here are three ways to elevate your startup above the rest through the use of cloud technology:

  1. Count on the cloud. It’s never been easier or more cost-effective to start a business thanks to the cloud. One-person shops can have access to the same software and security as the world’s largest corporations when they use cloud computing. Unlike businesses of even a decade ago, today’s startups are able to forego the capital expenditures tied to infrastructure that were once mandatory. With the cloud, startups can take advantage of features like backup facilities, firewalling and encryption, so they can focus their efforts on generating revenue, growth and attention from potential VC investors.
  2. Scale to soar. Startups spend much of their time racing the clock. They need to get to market before their resources dry up or their competitors get there first. With subscription-based cloud solutions, startups can quickly and easily add storage, more computing power or other resources, putting time on their side. This model also allows for the ability to quickly and easily scale down so you’re not paying for resources you’re not using. Scalability with the cloud means startups are never over-provisioning or stuck in a holding pattern while hardware is installed.
  3. Embrace predictability. Don’t equate predictable with mundane. When it comes to running your startup, having recurring revenue models and a consistent growth engine is always going to be more attractive to VCs. The good news is that businesses using the cloud are more likely to achieve high levels of predictability and can be fine-tuned much quicker if you experience a bad quarter.

Using the power of the cloud to push traditional boundaries, foster innovation and create value for customers can be the rocket fuel your business needs to attract the attention – and funds – of a VC.

By: Adam Kirsh, Area Vice President, Salesforce Canada

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