How to catch a unicorn on your cloud

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Of course you love all of your clients, especially the profitable ones. But face it, not all of them are cash cows, growing exponentially and driving your revenues skyward. You could wish upon a star and hope one of your current clients suddenly catches fire, or maybe there’s a better way. Maybe you could stack the deck in your favor and attract the next big startup before it gets big. Here’s how.

Make sure you’re attracting the right startup clients

Be a partner, not just a provider. Instead of approaching the relationship merely as a transaction, think of it as a partnership in which you provide more than IT infrastructure and technical guidance—you actually buy into the vision of the founders and co-create value. If your client sees you as a commodity, you will be competing with hyperscalers for the lowest price. Conversely, if your client views you as a key member of the team, the value you create will be rewarded with loyalty. When I asked David Katz, CEO of The Plastic Bank, why he chose his service provider, his response was direct and powerful: “He got it. He understood my vision and embraced it.”

Offer affordable and flexible scaling. Know where your clients’ organizations are going and show them how to get there. Assure your clients you can guide them through the growth process and help them survive their own success. Paul Balogh, CEO of Learn Forward, described the scale-up dilemma companies face when talking about the launch of its product, Hypersay. “You enjoy growth,” Balough says, “which is fantastic, which brings up costs, which are less fantastic. Your hope is crossing that bridge to where you will have all the revenue coming in to cover the cost. When you are in between these two worlds, you need to have partners who will take you across this bridge between growth and revenue.”

Affordability is equal to flexibility. Startups have to react to the market and make changes to their offerings—sometimes drastic changes. If they have made the wrong choices about how to handle scale, they may have to discard work invested to scale services that are no longer needed. If your cloud offers vertical scaling, your clients can start with a monolithic application and focus their creativity on improving their app rather than managing scale-out.

Secure the crown jewels. Prove to your clients you can protect their intellectual property. Often, the principals have invested everything in getting the startup off the ground, and they simply cannot get hacked. You have to prove to them your platform will keep their secrets safe.

Learn from the success of service providers on the right track

Service providers and their customers are finding that IBM LinuxONE servers satisfy the previously mentioned requirements. For example, Cognition Foundry is a multitenancy service provider developing blockchain solutions for startups. A startup themselves, Cognition Foundry has yet to catch their unicorn, but promising signs are on the horizon. Their client, The Plastic Bank, is experiencing global renown. By helping citizens in the world’s most impoverished nations become recycling entrepreneurs, they provide an ecosystem for preventing plastic from entering the ocean. Using blockchain to safely compensate people for scavenged plastic helps lift millions out of poverty across the globe.

Cognition Foundry approached The Plastic Bank just after the organization had completed its pilot project. At that point, the enterprise had no core IT systems. Many startups in that position opt for low-cost commodity products from the major megacloud providers. Cognition Foundry advised The Plastic Bank that building an IT environment on LinuxONE could offer massive scalability instantaneously. This instant scalability results from a low-latency architecture that enables rapid transaction processing and the ability to process up to 30 billion requests per day, 2 million Docker containers and up to 17 TB in-memory MongoDB instances with no sharding.

Scalability was also critical for Huaxia Express, a service provider committed to the design and development of a large-scale passenger ticket system for the Chinese market. With an e-ticket solution from Huaxia Express running on a highly scalable LinuxONE server, travelers can get their tickets in seconds rather than queuing for hours, while Huaxia manages a single server instead of the 4,000 x86 machines that would have been required.

Leverage a platform that scales to help clients grow—not slow them down

If you and your startup clients build solutions on a LinuxONE platform, they have the ability to iterate on applications and improve them as the market offers feedback. And when the apps take off, LinuxONE can seamlessly scale to as many as 30 billion transactions each day without re-architecting anything.

Service providers can deliver the security that startups require in the form of the IBM Secure Service Container (SSC) available on LinuxONE servers. SSC provides isolation of workloads, full encryption of data at rest and in flight, and verifiable integrity of code at boot time. All of which gives service providers the ability and confidence to act as a trusted advisor to promising startups. Learn more by exploring the possibilities of IBM LinuxONE servers or schedule a consult today.

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