Enterprise Software Startups Are Difficult

I’ve gone through several cycles of trying to get a startups going. The most recent attempts have been trying to get an enterprise software product to market since that has been a bulk of my experience. I have to say that I wouldn’t recommend focusing on enterprise software for the following reasons:

  • Cost and Time To Market — Enterprise products typically take many engineers a nontrivial amount of time to build. The extra costs usually force teams to immediately go for funding.
  • Difficult to build without a design partner — Even as we model the bleeding edge features of the current enterprise product I’m working on at HP, we have a design partner walking us through every step of the way. For startups, it’s difficult get good design partners unless you have a relationship already in place.
  • Difficult to take to the market — Depending on who you are targeting in the IT department, its difficult to get onto their calendar. Taking the product to market typically requires building a sales force and big dollars

In the time I unsuccessfully tried to take two enterprise software startup ideas to market, my friends successfully took several consumer startups to market. Over beers last night in San Francisco, my friend said that he’s launching a consumer focused startup this weekend based on the Facebook application platform. He’s been coding day and night for two weeks . Amazing.

So, its time to shift focus away from enterprise software and look at consumer options. Basically, they are

  • Easier and cheaper to develop
  • Require no design partners because you typically already identify with the problem
  • Less difficult to take to market

The question becomes, can you come up with a consumer facing product that adds value to the user rather than just providing another time waster.

It’s a good question and I plan to find out.

One thought on “Enterprise Software Startups Are Difficult

  1. Paul

    Well, at least you came to this conclusion before getting too far along!

    I think if you found a business guy with the right connections you could make it happen.

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