Why Smart Entrepreneurs Build Plans For Their Startup

business-idea-planning-business-planMost technical entrepreneurs I know demand the discipline of a product specification or plan, and then assume that their great product will drive a great business. Serious investors, on the other hand, look for a professional business plan or summary first, and hardly ever look at the product plan. Is it any wonder why so few entrepreneurs ever find the professional investors they seek?

Just for clarification, I characterize a product plan as a formal description of your product or service, with a quick business description at the end for effect. A business plan is a careful layout of the business you are building, with a quick product overview in the intro to set the stage. In reality, you need both, to clarify for yourself and team that you have a viable business solution.

A product plan has tremendous value inward facing, telling your product people what to build, while the business plan has maximum value outward facing, explaining to the rest of the world how your new company will survive and prosper. A product plan is never a substitute for a business plan.

Because the product plan is aimed internally, it can assume the reader has the relevant technology and jargon background. Here are the major elements of the best product plans:

  1. Market requirements section. This first section of every product plan defines the market, sizes the opportunity, and discusses individual needs and requirements that will be provided by your product and service. These requirements must be based on market analysis, expert input, and existing customer feedback.

  1. Technology, architecture, and feature descriptions. This section of the product plan details every element of the product or service that is your solution. It allows all members of your team, including marketing, support, and sales, to size and build the business plan processes they need to find customers, deliver, and maintain grow the business.
  1. Development schedule and checkpoints. A product plan must include the timeline and milestones involved in product research and development. Each of these activities should have associated costs and resource requirements. Related activities must be defined, including performance expectations, quality certification, and proof of concept.

  1. Quality testing and approval processes. Product certification or product qualification requirements and processes are a key part of every product plan. This section of the plan would include the definition of specific test processes, how results will be measured, and who has responsibility for execution and approval.

Now let’s talk about the basic components of a business plan. Since this document is outward facing, it is important to keep the terminology and tone consistent with that of your customer set, investors, and business partners. It does need to include a high-level summary of the components in the product plan, with key additional sections as follows:

  1. Definition of customer problem, followed by your solution. The customer pain point must be defined before the solution is presented, so it doesn’t look like you have a solution looking for a problem. Use concrete terms to quantify the value of solution, like twice as fast or half the cost, rather than fuzzy terms, like cheaper and easier to use.
  1. Opportunity segmentation and competitive environment. The market for your solution should be quantified in non-technical terms, with data sourced from professionals in the industry, rather than your own opinion. List key competitors and alternatives, highlighting your sustainable competitive advantages, such as patents and trademarks.
  1. Provide details on the business model. Every business, including non-profits, needs a business model to survive. Providing your product or service free to customers may sound attractive in marketing materials, but you need revenue sources to survive. Free is a dirty word to investors, since it’s hard to get a financial return from free.
  1. Executives, marketing & sales, financial projections, and funding. These are additional critical sections of a business plan to define who is running the business, business strategy activities, and financial expectations. There are many good books and Internet articles describing each of these sections, so I won’t cover the details here.

In principle, there is very little overlap between these two plans, so it never makes sense for an entrepreneur to build one without the other. Yet I’m still often approached by aspiring entrepreneurs who have neither. If you are still in the idea stage, meaning you have nothing but a passionate verbal description of an idea, approaching investors is a waste of time and a recipe for failure.

Savvy entrepreneurs always remember that they are the key investor in their company, so they measure themselves against the same standards as professional investors. That means they invest first in a set of plans.

Marty Zwilling
Startup Professionals Musings

6 CISOs share their game plans for a post-pandemic world

Like all business leaders, chief information security officers (CISOs) have shifted their roles quickly and dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many have had to fight fires they never expected.

Most importantly, they’ve had to ensure corporate networks remain secure even with 100% of employees suddenly working from home. Controllers are moving millions between corporate accounts from their living rooms, HR managers are sharing employees’ personal information from their kitchen tables and tens of millions of workers are accessing company data using personal laptops and phones.

This unprecedented situation reveals once and for all that security is not only about preventing breaches, but also about ensuring fundamental business continuity.

While it might take time, everyone agrees the pandemic will end. But how will the cybersecurity sector look in a post-COVID-19 world? What type of software will CISOs want to buy in the near future, and two years down the road?

To find out, I asked six of the world’s leading CISOs to share their experiences during the pandemic and their plans for the future, providing insights on how cybersecurity companies should develop and market their solutions to emerge stronger:

The security sector will experience challenges, but also opportunities

The good news is, many CISOs believe that cybersecurity will weather the economic storm better than other enterprise software sectors. That’s because security has become even more top of mind during the pandemic; with the vast majority of corporate employees now working remotely, a secure network has never been more paramount, said Rinki Sethi, CISO at Rubrik. “Many security teams are now focused on ensuring they have controls in place for a completely remote workforce, so endpoint and network security, as well as identity and access management, are more important than ever,” said Sethi. “Additionally, business continuity and disaster recovery planning are critical right now — the ability to respond to a security incident and have a robust plan to recover from it is top priority for most security teams, and will continue to be for a long time.”

That’s not to say all security companies will necessarily thrive during this current economic crisis. Adrian Ludwig, CISO at Atlassian, notes that an overall decline in IT budgets will impact security spending. But the silver lining is that some companies will be acquired. “I expect we will see consolidation in the cybersecurity markets, and that most new investments by IT departments will be in basic infrastructure to facilitate work-from-home,” said Ludwig. “Less well-capitalized cybersecurity companies may want to begin thinking about potential exit opportunities sooner rather than later.”

Startups – TechCrunch

This Week in Apps: Houseparty battles Messenger, Telegram drops crypto plans, Instagram Lite is gone

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $ 120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $ 544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

This week we’re continuing to look at how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting the world of mobile applications, including the latest news about COVID-19 apps, Facebook and Houseparty’s battle to dominate the online hangout, the game that everyone’s playing during quarantine, and more. We also look at the new allegations against TikTok, the demise of a popular “Lite” app, new apps offering parental controls, Telegram killing its crypto plans and many other stories, including a hefty load of funding and M&A.

Headlines

Contact tracing and COVID-19 apps in the news 

  • Global: WHO readies its coronavirus app for symptom-checking and possibly contact tracing. A WHO official told Reuters on Friday the new app will ask people about their symptoms and offer guidance on whether they may have COVID-19. Information on testing will be personalized to the user’s country. The organization is considering adding a Bluetooth-based, contact-tracing feature, too. A version of the app will launch globally, but individual countries will be able to use the underlying technology and add features to release their own versions. Engineers from Google and Microsoft have volunteered their time over the past few weeks to develop the app, which is available open-source on GitHub.
  • U.S.: Apple’s COVID-19 app, developed in partnership with the CDC, FEMA and the White House, received its first major update since its March debut. The new version includes recommendations for healthcare workers to align with CDC guidelines, best practices for quarantining if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and new information for pregnancy and newborns.
  • India: New Delhi’s contact-tracing app, Aarogya Setu, has reached 100 million users out of India’s total 450 million smartphone owners in 41 days after its release, despite privacy concerns. The app helps users self-assess if they caught COVID-19 by answering a series of questions and will alert them if they came into contact with someone who’s infected. The app has come under fire for how it stores user location data and logs the details for those reporting symptoms. The app is required to use Indian railways, which has boosted adoption.
  • Iceland: Iceland has one of the most-downloaded contact-tracing apps, with 38% of its population using it. But despite this, the country said it has not been a “game-changer” in terms of tracking the virus and only worked well when coupled with manual contact tracing — meaning phone calls that asked who someone had been in contact with. In addition, the low download rate indicates it may be difficult to get people to use these apps when they launch in larger markets.

Consumer advocacy groups say TikTok is still violating COPPA

Startups – TechCrunch

Clyde raises $14 million Series A to help e-commerce businesses offer extended warranty plans

Four years ago, Brandon Gell was an architecture student who spent most of his time working on 3D printing modular housing. Now, he’s the founder of Clyde, an extended warranty startup that wants to help small e-commerce businesses offer product protection.

Today, the company announced it has raised a $ 14 million Series A led by Spark Capital with participation from Crosslink, RRE, Rea Sea Ventures and others. 

How do you go from being a product person to the founder of an insurance startup? According to Gell: a stint at a four-person 3D scanner startup in Columbus, Ohio.

Because the team and resources were small, Gell was put in charge of finding an insurance company to work with to protect their expensive end product of scanners.  

“I spent six months trying to find a company,” he said. After seeing how seamless it was to work with fintech customer support tools from companies like Stripe, Shopify, Affirm and others, he said it was clear that insurance, and especially the extended warranty space, wasn’t as mature. So he set up an office in his grandma’s New York apartment. 

Clyde is a platform that connects small retailers to insurance companies to launch and manage product protection programs. 

Using Clyde, customers can access a dashboard and e-commerce apps to manage their protection programs. For example, a user can see how many contracts were sold, how much revenue total those bring  and gross profit in real time. It also can see which products are most often purchased with an extended warranty contract. 

“It’s a similar type of offering as Affirm or Stripe,” he said. “We give you access to large insurance companies and we enable you to launch the program live on your website or physical point of sale and store wherever you sell.” It has plugins with Shopify, BigCommerce, Salesforce, Magento, Woocommerce, and more so store owners on the site can add Clyde to their small businesses. 

Clyde’s most critical metric is that it has an 18% attachment rate on average, which means that 18% of people that go through a Clyde-powered purchasing path end up purchasing extended warranties or protection plans. 

The reason businesses care about extended warranty is two-fold. First, insurance benefits the customer experience. Second, insurance purchases are often the highest-margin product that companies sell to their customers. Product protection alone is a $ 50 billion market. Gell said that Best Buy drives about 2% of its annual revenue from the sale of extended warranties, but that generates more than half of its profit. 

Clyde helps small businesses, like a four-person startup in Columbus Ohio, get a bite of this profitable pie. Most e-commerce businesses have to work with Amazon, thus giving a lot of that cash to the big company versus putting it in their own pocket, per Gell. He says that when Amazon sells an extended warranty on a seller’s product, it doesn’t share any revenue with the seller on how the product performs, which prevents a seller from both a stream of revenue and data analytics.

“Our sort of mantra is that the retailers that we work with are basically everybody that’s not Amazon and Walmart,” he said.  

Clyde’s goal is different from Upsie, another venture-backed startup focusing on warranties. Upsie is looking to be a direct-to-consumer warranty replacement, while Clyde works on behalf of the retailer and insurance company to connect the two parties.  

Closer competitors to the startup include Mulberry and Extend, which were both founded after Clyde and have raised less in venture capital funding. Gell thinks his competitive advantage is partnerships with top insurance companies, and a strong product-focused platform. Clyde’s entire founding team is made up of product people. 

Startups right now need to prove that they are viable in both a pre-coronavirus and post-coronavirus world. And Clyde might be exactly in that sweet spot, as it focuses on e-commerce businesses. 

The Series A round closed a few weeks ago, before the COVID-19 craziness began, but he said that the pandemic has led to more inbounds and interest than ever before. Gell says it’s a mix of e-commerce being more important than ever, and customer behavior. 

“It’s a shift of customers that want to buy online more, but also protect their purchases more than ever,” he said. “Companies are realizing how important it is.”

New cash in hand, Clyde’s growing while its customer-base is looking for new ways to bring in revenue and take care of customers. If the startup can handle the influx of attention and importance right, sticky harmony will follow. 

Startups – TechCrunch

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Alpian, a Swiss digital financial services bags €11.5M funding, plans to launch as a fully licensed bank in 2021

Based in Carouge, Switzerland, Alpian, a new digital financial services brand has raised CHF 12.2 million (approx €11.5 million) funding in a Series A round. 

This financing will enable the Swiss fintech company to accelerate its growth plans and pursue its ambitions to receive a full banking license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), launching as a fully licensed digital affluent bank in 2021.

Speaking on Alpian’s strategy Schuyler Weiss, Alpian CEO, said:

 “With Alpian, we will introduce a new way for affluent clients to the bank that is attuned to how they want to manage their wealth. Our approach is client-centric first and foremost, with technology and innovation underpinning everything we do. As we develop our technology, we will be able to scale operations swiftly while maintaining the exceptional service standards set for each and every client interaction.” 

Innovative banking offering!

Alpian’s strong, diverse team is headed up by CEO, Schuyler Weiss, who has a proven track record in digital transformation and disruptive financial technologies (previously at Morgan Stanley), before incubating Alpian at Reyl Bank. 

The Swiss financial service aims to create an innovative new banking offering, tailored to the mass affluent population (those with investable assets of between CHF 100k – 1 million) in Switzerland, worth an estimated CHF 660 billion (approx €625 billion). 

Notably, the platform’s core offerings will include tailored investment boutique products, secure digital face-to-face access to experienced financial advisors, and simplified, transparent everyday banking services. 

Schuyler Weiss added:

“The genesis of Alpian comes from the clear vision of our experienced and well-diversified team. This brings with it an ability to execute our vision, unimpeded. Securing the Series A funding is a testament to our business fundamentals and our ability to execute. Furthermore, it is a big step towards reaching full technological and operational readiness over the coming months.”

REYL partner Pasha Bakhtiar said:

“Alpian started as an incubation project at REYL but we soon realised the full potential of this unique, ground-breaking value proposition. The fact that Alpian has secured such an impressive Series A round demonstrates the confidence investors also have in the blue ocean space we have identified. My Partners and I are immensely trusting in the quality of the Alpian team and we are excited to accompany them on the next stages of the journey.”

Main image credits: Alpian

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

The post Alpian, a Swiss digital financial services bags €11.5M funding, plans to launch as a fully licensed bank in 2021 appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Barcelona-based startup that automates HR processes bags €15M funding, plans expand across Europe and America

Based out of Barcelona, Factorial is a human resources software platform for small and medium companies that integrates vacation management, payroll, document management, and benefits for employees. In the latest development, the Spanish company has raised €15 million funding in Series A round. 

The financing round was led by CRV, a Venture Capital firm based out of Silicon Valley with more than 75 IPOs. With this funding, the company is planning to expand its presence into new markets across Europe and America. 

“After analysing HR management in small and medium-sized companies in-depth, we concluded that 80% of the time invested is spent on cumbersome and repetitive tasks. Meanwhile, just 20% goes to building a robust business culture and increasing productivity and employee satisfaction.”

Founded by Bernat Farrero, Jordi Romero, and Pau Ramon in 2016, Factorial’s business model is based on our job counselling service. The HRTech was born to solve the slow and repetitive processes of HR managers through software and a labour consultant service.  It automates a company’s human resources tasks, reduces errors, and gain visibility of the company’s data. 

Notably, it offers a customised space for every employee from where they can manage all their personal information, documents, holidays, and other features. Moreover, the platform can generate customised reports based on your company data and make better decisions about your workforce and your business. 

Right now, the HRTech platform has around 60,000 clients spanning over 40 countries. On the other hand, the company saw 8x revenue growth as well last year. Talking about security, Factorial complies under  General European Data Protection Law (GDPR), which means users can access all their data at any time and exercise their right to cancel.

“Our goal is to turn these percentages around and offer tools that allow the Human Resources manager to take control of his day to day, leaving aside administrative tasks so that he can reinforce productivity, improve the work environment and take care of employees. of the company.”

Main image credits: Factorial

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

The post Barcelona-based startup that automates HR processes bags €15M funding, plans expand across Europe and America appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Best Cloud Web Hosting Plans

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best cloud hosting company for most people is definitely SiteGround.

Traditionally, there have always been three main types of web hosting.

But cloud hosting is a newer type of web hosting that’s very appealing and rapidly growing in popularity.

Your hosting plan and provider is the lifeblood of your website. So when you’re evaluating the best web hosting providers, you need to consider every possible option.

Just because something is new or unfamiliar, it doesn’t mean that you should take it out of the running for your decision. That was my inspiration for writing this guide.

In many cases, cloud hosting is an ideal option for the majority of websites out there. So if you’re interested in learning more about this alternative type of hosting, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ll explain exactly what cloud hosting is, how it works, and show you some of the best cloud web hosting providers on the market today.

You can use this information to help you pick a cloud hosting plan that fits the needs of your website.

Lets jump into the best cloud web hosting companies first and then I will cover more details around cloud hosting itself below.

There are lots of hosting providers out there right now that offer cloud web hosting services. But not every plan is the same.

I’ve taken the time to research all of the factors that determine a great cloud web hosting plan. As a result, I was able to identify the top cloud hosting providers:

Top 5 Best Cloud Hosting Plans for 2020

Check out the detailed reviews of each one below so you can determine which hosting provider has the best plan for your website.

Cloud Web Hosting Reviews

SiteGround

Starts at $ 80.00/month
Guaranteed Resources
Fully Managed Service
30 day money back guarantee
Learn More

SiteGround cloud hosting is perfect for websites that have outgrown their shared plans.

These plans are fully managed, meaning that their DevOps configure your entire cloud account for you. With SiteGround handling the IT aspect of your hosting, you can focus on other areas of your business and website.

You can add resources like RAM and CPU at any time with just one click in your admin settings. One of my favorite features is the ability to turn on auto-scaling, which will automatically render appropriate resources during times of unexpected traffic spikes.

With SiteGround, you can completely configure your own cloud and plan based on the resources you need. But here’s a look at their basic plans:

Entry Cloud

  • Starting at $ 80 per month
  • 2 CPUs
  • 4 GB of memory
  • 40 GB of SSD space
  • 5 TB of data transfer

Business Cloud

  • Starting at $ 120 per month
  • 3 CPUs
  • 6 GB of memory
  • 60 GB of SSD space
  • 5 TB of data transfer

Business Plus Cloud

  • Starting at $ 160 per month
  • 4 CPUs
  • 8 GB of memory
  • 80 GB of SSD space
  • 5 TB of data transfer

Super Power

  • Starting at $ 240 per month
  • 8 CPUs
  • 10 GB of memory
  • 120 GB of SSD space
  • 5 TB of data transfer

The Business or Business Plus plans should be more than enough resources for the majority of you, so that’s what I would recommend starting with. As I said before, you can always scale your resources to meet traffic demands.

SiteGround provides advanced priority support to its cloud hosting clients.

You’ll also benefit from webmaster tools like a dedicated IP, free CDN, free SSL, daily backups, and a private DNS. Check out my in depth SiteGround web hosting review for more information about their overall services.

HostGator

Starts at $ 12.95/month
$ 4.95/month if you pay annually
Free domain and SSL certificate
45-day money back guarantee
Get up to 45% off

HostGator is one of the most well-known names in the web hosting industry. Their cloud hosting plans are some of the most cost-effective options on the market today.

Let’s take a look at some the three basic cloud hosting plans offered by HostGator:

Hatchling Plan

  • Starting at $ 4.95
  • 2 CPUs
  • 2 GB of memory
  • Single domain

Baby Plan

  • Starting at $ 6.57
  • 4 CPUs
  • 4 GB of memory
  • Unlimited domains

Business Plan

  • Starting at $ 9.95
  • 6 CPUs
  • 6 GB of memory
  • Unlimited domains

It’s worth noting that these prices are introductory rates for 36-month contracts. They are 45% cheaper than the actual price, which you’ll end up paying when you renew your contract.

All cloud hosting plans come with a free SSL certificate. The Business plan comes with a dedicated IP, free SEO tools, and free domain as well.

I like HostGator because the dashboard makes it easy for you to monitor the performance of your website. You can quickly view data related to page speed, uptime, reach, and more.

Scaling your server resources is simple as well. This can be done with just one click, without any downtime, reboots, or data migrations.

DreamHost

Starts at max $ 4.50/month
100 GB of block storage
Free SSD & bandwidth
Full root access & control
Get up to 47% off

DreamHost has the easiest cloud setup in the industry. You can get your cloud servers live in less than 30 seconds. With that said, DreamHost cloud is best for developers.

They have server options that are made for databases, web apps, and running tests in addition to websites.

You can continue working the with DevOps tools that you’re already using. DreamHost also gives you full root access for complete control over your cloud servers.

The best part about DreamHost is that you only pay for what you actually use. You’ll get charged for resources on an hourly basis based on the size of your server.

  • 512 MB of RAM Server — $ 0.0075 per hour (maximum $ 4.50 per month)
  • 2 GB of RAM Server — $ 0.02 per hour (maximum $ 12 per month)
  • 8 GB of RAM Server — $ 0.08 per hour (max $ 48 per month)

The 2 GB server is the recommended option for websites.

You will not be billed anything when you sign up. Instead, you’re billed based on your monthly usage.

The only area where DreamHost falls short that I found in my complete review of DreamHost web hosting services is their customer support. You can only contact customer service via email or live chat, which is only available for 16 hours daily. So if you prefer phone support or need help in the middle of the night, you’re out of luck until the morning.

A2 Hosting

Starts at $ 5.00/month
Up To 20X Faster Servers
Managed & unmanaged options
30-day money back guarantee
Learn More

A2 Hosting has a reputation for being one of the fastest web hosting providers on the market. Their cloud plans are just as fast and reliable.

I like the A2 cloud options because the plans are fully customizable based on your needs.

Plans start at $ 5, $ 10, and $ 15 per month, respectively. But you only pay for the resources that you use based on how you configure your cloud servers.

If you want to have cPanel, it’s an extra $ 19.95 per month and not available with the lowest-tier pricing plan.

As I mention in my full review of A2 web hosting services they offer a 99.9% uptime promise as well as an anytime money-back guarantee. Although there are some contingencies to both, so make sure you read the fine print of your contract.

If customer support is important to you, then you’ll definitely be satisfied with A2’s 24/7/365 guru support team.

This cloud hosting provider is ideal for those of you who want unmanaged cloud hosting with lightning fast page loading speed.

InMotion

Normally $ 64.99/month
Free domain and SSL certificate
Free launch assist service
90-day money back guarantee
Get up to 64% off

InMotion may not be the most well-known hosting provider in the industry, but its cloud hosting plans are certainly some of the best.

They have cloud hosting solutions for everyone.

  • Small business cloud hosting
  • Agency cloud hosting
  • Application cloud hosting
  • Enterprise cloud hosting plans

Altogether, InMotion has 10 different plans and pricing tiers for cloud hosting, which is the most I’ve seen offered by any provider.

For website owners, you’ll want to focus on the small business plans. InMotion makes it easy for you to scale your resources as your site grows I found in my complete review of InMotion hosting services.

You’ll also get a resource monitoring dashboard, free auto backups, rapid provisioning, and full snapshots of your servers. InMotion offers a free SSL and free cPanel license with all of its cloud business plans.

What Is Cloud Hosting?

Broadly speaking, “the cloud” typically refers to remote storage solutions. For example, you can store pictures from your smartphone or documents on your computer to a cloud storage space like Google Drive.

This is different than storing files locally on something like an external hard drive. I’m sure you’re familiar with both of these scenarios, and you probably even use cloud storage for something in your digital life.

When it comes to web hosting, the cloud is a little bit more in-depth, but the same principles still apply.

With cloud hosting, your web host isn’t connected to one physical location. Your website resources are maintained across multiple virtual servers in the cloud.

Each cloud server is responsible for specific sets of tasks. If one of the servers in the cloud fails or goes down, the others will automatically pick up the slack to render those required resources.

Cloud Hosting VS Traditional Hosting

As you can see from this visual representation, your website will continue to run smoothly with cloud hosting, even if there is a problem with one of the servers.

Your website will benefit from increased uptime rates and won’t be as susceptible to unplanned downtime.

With a singular server, you’re essentially putting all of your eggs in one basket. This is a huge risk when you’re dealing with something as important as your website.

In addition to fixing potential problems with one server, cloud hosting will keep your site stable, even as your traffic increases.

Cloud hosting is also extremely easy to set up. For those of you who want to start hosting on the cloud right away, it can be a faster deployment option than something like a dedicated server or shared server.

Who Is Cloud Hosting For?

Cloud web hosting is ideal for medium to larger-sized businesses and websites that are growing rapidly. One of the major benefits of cloud hosting is the ability to scale resources on-demand, which is crucial for growing websites.

Most cloud hosting plans have flexible pricing options, meaning you’ll only pay for the resources that you’re actually using.

If you’re anticipating random traffic surges or a steady increase in website traffic in the coming years, then cloud hosting is the perfect option for you.

Cloud hosting isn’t for everyone.

For those of you who have a small personal website, small blog, or a micro-business, you probably don’t need to use cloud hosting if there is no growth coming in the future. A shared hosting plan is fine for those types of websites.

When you’re ready to grow your website, you should consider upgrading to a cloud hosting plan as opposed to a VPS. While a virtual private server will be able to deliver enough server resources, a cloud plan is usually more cost-effective.

Enterprise-level websites with the need to customize their server settings would benefit from a dedicated hosting plan rather than a cloud solution.

Any website with more than 50,000 monthly visitors is a viable candidate for cloud hosting. It’s the perfect option for larger websites that can’t afford to have any downtime.

How to Find the Best Cloud Hosting Plan For You

Not every cloud hosting plan is the same. Some hosting providers offer different features and benefits compared to others.

When you’re evaluating a cloud web host, these are the factors that you should take into consideration.

Scalable Resources

You need to make sure that you get a web hosting plan with enough bandwidth, storage, and disc space. In order to make this decision, you need to have some idea of how much traffic you’re going to get. But new websites face a common dilemma when they’re looking for a hosting plan.

They have to decide if they want to get the highest possible bandwidth, even if they won’t come close to exceeding those limits. Or should they start with a lower bandwidth plan and upgrade as their traffic starts to increase?

Cloud hosting solves this dilemma.

Since your website is hosted on multiple servers, you won’t have to worry about exceeding bandwidth. If one server is maxed out, you can always pull resources from another.

Look for a cloud hosting plan that lets you easily manage and configure your server resources in-real time.

Here’s an example of what this looks like on HostGator Cloud, which is a provider that we reviewed earlier in this guide.

Hostgator Resources

I’d recommend a cloud hosting plan that allows you to scale your server resources without needing any approval from the provider. This is something that can be managed from your admin dashboard.

Price

Most traditional hosting plans require you to pay a fixed monthly rate. You’ll be charged this amount even if you don’t use all of the resources on the server.

But cloud hosting is much more flexible in terms of pricing. So I’d look for a hosting provider that charges you based on the resources that you actually use.

Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you go to an all you can eat buffet, where the food options can also be purchased à la carte. The buffet price is $ 20 per person, which is the most you’ll have to pay, regardless of how much food you eat.

But if you only eat $ 10 worth of food, then wouldn’t it be nice to get $ 10 back?

That’s how some of the best cloud hosting plans are structured.

This relates back to our previous point about being able to scale your resources on demand. For example, let’s say you just built a bunch of new backlinks and you’re expecting a particular blog post on your website to go viral.

Rather than upgrading your entire plan (which you’d have to do with other types of web hosting) you can just increase the resources needed during that traffic spike and put everything back to normal when your traffic levels out.

In this case, you’d only pay for the actual server usage during the surge. Here’s an example of this pricing structure from another one of the providers on our list, DreamHost.

Dreamhost Useage

As you can see, pricing is based on usage. Each plan has a maximum monthly rate. Even the fine print at the bottom of the page states that you’ll only be billed for what you use.

So look for a hosting provider that offers a similar pricing structure.

Speed and Performance

Uptime rates, speed, and performance need to be a priority for every website owner. If your hosting plan doesn’t deliver the best performance, then it doesn’t matter how cool, new, or high-tech the solution is.

The majority of cloud hosting servers will increase the capacity of your website, which boosts your page loading speed.

Cloud hosting doesn’t put as much strain on a singular server, the same way it would if you had a shared, dedicated, or VPS plan. If your website has lots of resource-intensive data such as videos, images, and other media content, then cloud hosting is something that you need to take advantage of.

Look for a cloud hosting plan that delivers content from the nearest remote server. This will ensure that all of your loading times are as fast as possible.

At the end of the day, your website visitors don’t care what type of hosting plan you’re using. They just want your site to be responsive and load quickly.

By prioritizing things like uptime and loading speed with cloud hosting, your website will ultimately perform better from the user end.

Security

No matter what type of web hosting plan you have, security always needs to be a priority.

Fortunately, cloud hosting is known to be very safe. That’s because your website is isolated from any potential problems with a physical server. Everything is being handled remotely, which wouldn’t be the case if you were relying on a singular server that’s hosted locally.

If a local server was compromised, then your website would be at risk. Whereas if one server in your cloud network was hacked, failed, or had a system overload, your website would stay up and running without any downtime or delays.

Look for a web host that offers any additional security protection as an incentive with your cloud hosting plan.

Conclusion

Cloud web hosting is the perfect solution for growing websites. If your shared plan can no longer accommodate the needs of your site, then you should consider switching to a cloud solution.

So what’s the best cloud hosting provider? It depends on what you’re looking for.

Here’s a recap of the cloud hosting reviews above:

Summary: Best Cloud Web Hosting Plans for 2020

  • SiteGround — Best cloud hosting for scaling resources.
  • HostGator — Best cheap cloud web hosting.
  • DreamHost — Best cloud hosting for developer projects.
  • A2 Hosting — Fastest cloud web hosting.
  • InMotion — Best cloud hosting for small businesses.

Quick Sprout

[Zoomcar in dailyhunt] Car rental startup Zoomcar plans to go international next year, targets China and Japan

Bengaluru-based car rental startup Zoomcar is planning to launch in international markets next year. The startup has been working on these plans since November 2016, and will be initially targeting Asia, including markets like China and Japan.

Read more here.

The post [Zoomcar in dailyhunt] Car rental startup Zoomcar plans to go international next year, targets China and Japan appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd

Adyen’s arch-rival Stripe raises €553M at €33.2B valuation, plans big to grow big in Europe

Stripe, Silicon Valley’s one of the most valuable fintech startups that builds economic infrastructure for the internet, has raised an additional $ 600 million (approx €553 million) in a Series-G round boosting its valuation to $ 36 billion (approx €33.2 billion). The funding round was led by investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, GV, and Sequoia.

Hiring, geographic expansion, and more on cards!

The company plans to invest further in growing its platform, including – hiring around the world, deepening its software functionality to simplify business, accelerating its geographic expansion, and pursuing strategic initiatives or acquisitions. 

More importantly, the San-Francisco-based company is planning to launch its platform in various countries, including – Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, and Romania. Stripe’s mission is to grow the GDP of the internet, making it easy for companies everywhere to start, run, and scale their business.

Founded by John Collison and Patrick Collison in 2010, Stripe develops software that allows businesses to accept payments online.

On the right path!

With more than $ 2 billion on its balance sheet, a capital-efficient business model, and a highly-diversified, growing, global user base, Stripe is in a position to both provide uninterrupted service to its users in a time of stress and invest in long-term improvements. As per the company claims, the rate of new businesses going live on Stripe has accelerated since the start of the year.

To date, this year, Stripe has added numerous customers, including Caviar, Coupa, Just Eat, Keap, Lightspeed, Mattel, NBC, and Paid. Notably, Zoom Video Communications has joined the list of companies using Stripe to modernize their payments stack and grow internationally.

John Collison, President, and Co-founder of Stripe: 

People who never dreamt of using the internet to see the doctor or buy groceries are now doing so out of necessity. And businesses that deferred moving online or had no reason to operate online have leapt practically overnight. We believe now is not the time to pull back, but to invest even more heavily in Stripe’s platform.

So far, the company has attracted investments from Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Google’s venture arm Capital G, among others. The payment powerhouse is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Dublin, London, Paris, Singapore, and Tokyo.

Stepping up amid COVID-19 pandemic!

Also, the company is working to help its communities and customers navigate the current pandemic, including Fast-tracking support for telemedicine providers in the US, Simplifying the steps involved in launching a business on its platform, helping established companies pivot to the internet and more. 

In addition to it, the platform is providing fast access to funds through Instant Payouts, Stripe Capital, the Stripe Corporate Card, and helping small businesses access government aid.

Main image credits: Stripe

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

The post Adyen’s arch-rival Stripe raises €553M at €33.2B valuation, plans big to grow big in Europe appeared first on Silicon Canals .

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