Leveraging Open Source to Build Startups


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“Leveraging Open Source To Build Startups” conveyed several important messages to Startups considering Open Source. 1) Contribute before you consume, because Open Source is a community-driven model and being part of the family helps you understand its future direction, a detail which could be important to your Startup 2) Contributing to the Open Source pool gives companies, especially Startups, extra credibility with customers 3) Using Open Source allows you to narrow down and focus on your key challenges, the net result being that Startups gain time and a good quality crowd-tested foundation 4) When used correctly, investors would regard Open Source-usage as a means to reduce technology and execution risk 5) Startups should also consider employing continuous due diligence to ensure that engineering staff follow the intended fit of Open Source within the business. 6) Since it has strong licensing clauses, founders should use Open Source with care – and see if it matches their vision of building the company.

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Leveraging Open Source to Build Startups

  1. 1. Leveraging Open Source Srivibhavan Balaram GM & MD at Vocera Communications India Founder, ex-CEO Cloubyte
  2. 2. What we will talk about • Open Source • Why should we leverage it? • How do we go about it? • Risks of leveraging Open Source • Open Source Start-ups
  3. 3. Open Source • GNU - GPL / LGPL • Free BSD • Open BSD • SUN /Oracle – Opensolaris • Apache • MIT • Eclipse • Mozilla
  4. 4. License Basics • Modifications have to be returned to the source project • You cannot “sell” the software with embedded open source components • BSD and Opensolaris licenses are far less restrictive
  5. 5. Why Leverage Open Source? • Time to market • High quality Software • Cutting Edge Ideas • Builds Credibility with the Customer • Brand Building Happens Through Open Source Community
  6. 6. How? • Choose an Open Source project that is relevant • First get involved in the community and build your credibility • Be a contributor before you use components • To have a sustained involvement, your company will have to invest a few full-time developers to the community • Successful leverage normally implies community leadership
  7. 7. Risks • You can bet on the wrong Project – No momentum • Open Source community can “come after you” if you are perceived as a “downloading company” • Licensing is a key risk and it is best to seek legal opinion on the licensing of the applicable project
  8. 8. Open Source Companies • Example : Red Hat • Package and Distribute Open Source Software – Charge for Support and customization • Continuous revenue stream • Appeals to Investors – Relatively lower market risk, No technology risk • Build your unique value proposition over time • One of the better approaches for Enterprise / Infrastructure Software
  9. 9. Summary • Participation and leadership in community is crucial • It is a good idea to start as an open source Company – Build your value proposition over time • Pay great attention to licensing before you leverage components • Build your brand by contributing to open source
  10. 10. Thank You