The Frugal Startups - 29 Bootstrapping Resources That Will Save Your Startup A Ton Of Cash
Just launched a startup? Chances are you are on a very tight budget,
counting every penny, bootstrapping anything and everthing you can and
reading every 'frugal' column and blog post you can find. Here's a big
list of bootstrapping resources that can save a ton of cash for pretty
much any startup.
1. Bitrix24.com - Free CRM, planner, project manager, document sharing (limited to 12 employees)
2. PickyDomains.com - Pay per result naming service, $50 for domain/name/product line, slogan.
3. Reddit/Freebies - Community moderated daily updated freebies list.
4. AppSumo.com - Groupon clone for buying enterprise software.
5. JetRadar.com - Low airfare
meta searchengine (searches through 700+ airlines to find best deals
normally available through direct purchase on airline sites only).
6. SideJobTrack.com - Free invoicing.
7. MoneyBookers.Com (Skrill)
- PayPal alternative, cheap way to accept online payments/credit
cards (25 cents + 3%, please refer to site for exact details)
8. Kodesk.com - Office sharing. You can both buy and sell extra office space, including by the hour.
9. PRLog.com - Free press-release distribution.
10. InternMatch.com - Own slaves legally.
11. RetailMeNot.Com - Discount coupons, business section available.
12. OpenOffice.Org - Free MS Office alternative.
13. WaveAccounting.com - Free online accounting SaaS
14. SysAid.com - Free helpdesk software. ZenDesk.com is worth paying for.
15. CouchSurfing.com - Yes, I do want to let complete stranges sleep in my house for free (so I can do the same when I travel).
16. SubmitYourStartup.Com - Partly outdated list of sites that accept startup submissions.
17. Vator.Tv - Social network for startups
18. LowerMyBills.com - Loan/Insurance/Internet Provider/Phone Carries comparison service.
19. Score.Org - Free consulting from retired entrepreneurs (available in certain areas only).
20. Logaster.com - Free logos. Bad English gratis.
21. 99Designs.com - Cheaper alternative for design work. Designers hate the site, so it must be good.
22. MinuteBox.com - Hire
doctor/lawyer/coffee enema expert - pay by the minute. Lots of
experts, typical pay is around $2.50 a minute. Not sure, but there’s
probably some sort of minimum required.
23. HelpAReporter.Com - Free publicity (pitch your business directly to journos working on certain stories).
24. AVG - Free antivirus.
25. Weebly.Com - Free website creator.
26. GotFreeFax.com - Send free fax online. Limited to 3 pages, US and Canada only.
27. RememberTheMilk.com - Free To-Do list, iPhone and Android support.
28. Zamzar.com - Free online file converter. Let’s pass a law that mandates that only one extension (how does .file sound) is allowed!
29. Join.Me - Free webcast/webconference SaaS.
P.S. I have not included eBay, Skype, etc. since everybody knows about those. Did I miss something? Send me a message.
George Costanza was not known for his largess, or his patience. An episode in which the Seinfeld character angrily circles New York City streets in search of a free parking space sparked something in Ben Sann. A junior in high school at the time, Sann came up with an idea George would certainly have approved of: a website that would post the rates of parking garages all over New York.
"In New York, there is a whole culture around parking," says Sann, now 24, a 2010 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. "There are always conversations about great early-bird parking specials and the price of monthly parking or a frenzy to move the car and circle the block for a new parking space."
Despite the preoccupation with where to park, there was no centralized database of parking rates for the city. Because he didn't have a driver's license, Sann rode around New York on his bicycle gathering data. With $50,000 in startup funds (a combination of bar mitzvah savings and a loan from his father), Sann launched NYCgarages.com in 2007. The website displayed the locations, rates and specials of garages citywide, helping drivers find the closest lot at the best price.
Two years after launch, Sann added six cities to his database--including Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco--and changed the company name to BestParking.com. He hired bicycle messengers to gather data and developed partnerships with parking garages to add their information to the site.
Drivers loved having access to the data, but not all garage operators were happy about having their prices made available to the public. "The industry, in the past, has benefited from a lack of transparency," says Sann, who was threatened with lawsuits and plagued with cease-and-desist letters. Undaunted, he pressed on.
Edison ParkFast was one of the first parking operators to sign a contract with Sann to list its data and offer deals through his website. "We couldn't replicate the services BestParking was offering, so we signed up and went all in," says Edison executive vice president Ben Feigenbaum.
Edison listed 40 garages in New York, New Jersey and Baltimore (representing 10,000 spaces) on BestParking and started getting calls about monthly parking almost immediately. Feigenbaum estimates that 30 percent of his leads for monthly parking come from Sann's site. "We learned very quickly that it was going to be a successful relationship," he says.
BestParking's free mobile app has topped 500,000 downloads and expanded the service to 55 cities and 80 airports across the U.S. and Canada. Revenue exceeded $500,000 in 2012, thanks in part to fees earned for redeemed coupons, monthly parking contracts, airport parking reservations and licensing agreements with Garmin and Magellan GPS systems.
"We started off by saying, ‘Give us a chance in a few facilities and let us show you what we can do,' and the more we sent parking garages cars for spots that would otherwise go unfilled, our reputation and our revenues grew," Sann says. "The accuracy of our data and our relationships with parking operators keep us growing."
You probably remember how free social intranet provider Bitrix24.com
has become the fastest growing social enterprise tool in 2012. But it's
2013 now. Aside from being “social,” Facebook, Google+ and just about
every company in the social arena have something in common – to become
the social layer beneath every service on the Internet and provide
real-time social data that’s measurable, can be referenced and helpful
to marketers and data analysts spanning a broad range of industries.
Facebook’s recent release of Graph Search and everything else Google has
been doing since Google+ was released in 2011 are adding up to this
Launched on January 23, 2013 in 45 countries
and 5 languages, Swipp is a brand-new social media analytics and sharing
platform whose main objective is to find out how the general population
feels about a given topic real-time. User sentiment is analyzed, and
coupled with structured data that is readily available via sites like
Wikipedia, app developers should be able to come up with more intuitive
applications that can better predict users’ needs.
fact that companies providing consumer sentiment analytics have sprung
up from here, there and everywhere, a lot of social data is
unstructured, which means that making comparisons – let alone, drawing
conclusions – from such data is easier said than done. Swipp’s answer is
to recreate the way things are shared via social media to generate more
consistent and functional data.
Technically speaking, you, the
social media user, are still allowed to post random thoughts about
random things – unstructured data, essentially. Swipp, then, would have
you tag your post to signify that it’s under a subject that exists in
its humungous library of structured web data. After which, to explicitly
address the sentiment analysis side of things, it also would make you
rate how you feel about your post using a scale of 1 to 10. And once the
data is entered, Swipp lets you know how other people from different
parts of the world feel about the same subject.
While Swipp may
be able to give its users extra and relevant data, it doesn’t have the
follower base Facebook has for Graph Search nor the user data Google has
for every meaningful thing it has in store for Google+. Swipp is coming
from nowhere and may need to beat insurmountable odds to become a major
player in the social space.
Then again, as per Swipp co-founder
and CEO, Don Thorson: Every big idea looks impossible up until the exact
moment it looks inevitable. Whether he’s right or wrong is left to be
If you haven’t heard of crowdsourcing yet, seriously, I’d think
you’ve wasted your time living under a rock. Okay, so maybe that was
harsh. Let me back down a bit here. Crowdsourcing, if you honestly don’t
know and are not pulling my leg, is the process of involving a crowd
(Internet users) to complete certain tasks. That’s talking PickyDomains
for naming, 99designs for designing or IdeaBounty for ideas pitched to
corporations (and hey, they pay top dollar for the winning ideas). There
are a lot more out there. Yes, a LOT.
One startup that has been in the crowdsourcing space since 2009 is
Chaordix. Chaordix uses the power of the crowd for market research and
insights it provides to its clientele, which include powerhouse brands
like Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, Reckitt Benckiser and IBM.
These brands use Chaordix’s Market Intelligence Platform to connect and
engage with customers, build brand loyalty and innovation and drive
Shelley Kuipers, Chaordix’s founder and CEO, narrates that Chaordix
was spun out of a previous startup, Cambrian House. Shelley, along with
her colleagues at Cambrian House, has seen the traditional way of doing
things – broadcast advertising, focus groups, etc. – and asserts that
participation is now the new brand experience. Customers love to
participate, so that if you’re a brand and you lack an engaging and
lively forum that customers can participate in, you’re most definitely
In 2009, Shelley and her team entered the crowdsourcing market a
little too early. The business model generated a lot of interest, but
instead of doing transactions, for the first 12 to 18 months, they were
educating the market. At the moment, they are in the early adopters
phase and have come to a point where the masses are finding them without
When asked which was more difficult, to attract top talent or to
raise capital, Shelley answered by saying she was fortunate to have
attracted the right people and was more successful with that over
raising capital. While the road to becoming investment grade had been
challenging, it was a rewarding experience.
Chaordix has recently secured $1.5 million in Series A venture
capital funding spearheaded by Yaletown Venture Partners and the
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Chaordix also has secured a
partnership with KPMG UK on a new product that will be available online
and via mobile.
Here's a short video about how to choose CMS (content management system) from BitrixSoft. BitrixSoft is primarily known for its intranet solutions, where it's number 2 right behind Microsoft. BitrixSoft's latest project is Bitrix24 - enterprise social network that offers free crm, free file storage, free project management, and other business tools that are free to companies with 12 employees or under.