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Start-ups Leveraging the Cloud

Combining social networking, mobile and cloud gives companies a unique advantage

A lot has been talked about upcoming information technology delivery trends and its effect on the innovative start-up solutions.  Mark Andreessen recently commented that Facebook would not have been viable as a company without leveraging these new technologies to deliver their product.  While a lot of attention is paid to huge success stories like Facebook, a small start-up in Cincinnati called CoupSmart has leveraged a whole different approach to combine mobile and social networking capabilities to deliver a unique solution.

The recent deal environment filled with daily deal sites, "extreme couponers" and other consumers who try to take advantage of the system has made offering discounts (traditionally a key driver of new customer trial) a hazardous proposition.  CoupSmart offers businesses of all sizes a better way to serve deals to their customers by combining Facebook data, mobile technology, and hardware into a system that can tie a paper or digital coupon to an exact individual by name.  These "socially identifiable deals" eliminate fraud and let businesses track the individual consumers who are viewing, sharing, and redeeming their offers and control the entire process. It also allows for novel in-store offer systems like in the following diagram.

Using Amazon's EC2 server infrastructure and S3 data store allowed CoupSmart to get their startup running on a tiny budget compared to its competitors, which use more traditional data center approaches for their infrastructure.

One of the other advantages of the cloud was the low up-front investment. When CoupSmart underwent a pivot point in their business last year, they were able to change their entire business model and product offerings without having to raise additional capital. The flexibility of dropping and adding cloud services without financial penalty kept the investors happy, and made this shift faster and much less painful.

Cloud Computing is changing the landscape for start-ups, large and mid-size enterprises, Independent Software Vendors and Systems Integrators.  To learn more (including the CoupSmart story) attend Cloud Computing Bootcamp, a unique track being held in conjunction with Cloud Expo next week.

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

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