“We invite startups to come and challenge our infrastructures!”
Guillaume Fillière, in charge of Digital Launch Pad (DLP) at OVH, looks back on the first six months of the startup assistance program. Launched last autumn, the program has already welcomed in more than 150 startups and continues to support new ones each week.
Six Months after the launch, what is your take on DLP?
The first startups joined the program in January, 2016. Four months later, there are one hundred and fifty benefiting from Digital Launch Pad. Each day, we receive numerous requests and the number of visits on the program’s website doubles every couple weeks.
We have based the program on three stages which correspond to three levels of maturity. The first stage has been christened “Ideation” and for the moment welcomes the majority of the startups joining the program. This stage corresponds to development and first iterations.
At the second level we have the “Build” stage, catering to young businesses which have projects that are well on their way: these startups are able to implement a product or service and are finalizing their strategic positioning. And at the last level, we have the “Market” stage, which permits startups to benefit from OVH’s customized infrastructures once their business model has been established with a product having strong growth potential and having been launched on a clearly defined market.
Feedback around this structure has been positive and the registration process is fully optimized. In most cases, only a few hours pass between registration and validation by the team that credits the OVH customer’s account, making it possible to use their infrastructures.
The DLP teams operate in the same manner as any of the other OVH teams: putting user needs in the forefront. Our assistance program will evolve around the suggestions made by the startups.
What is the profile of a startup looking for assistance?
The European Startup Monitor* has recently published its annual study dedicated to startups. In almost all of the cases, startups meet three main criteria: very young businesses, high technological potential and very strong growth. It is businesses meeting these three criteria who turn towards us. The idea is to not just provide a web server to create an Internet portal but to provide powerful infrastructures to implement a genuine highly available and flexible service.
The startup effiPilot, for example, integrated the Digital Launch Pad program a few months ago. Created by three students, effiPilot looks to measure, using an algorithm, energy consumption of buildings. The startup’s solution is available in SaaS mode: it connects to existing systems of buildings (heating, ventilation, AC, lighting, electric counter, energy meters – gas, electric, water), to extract available data and send it back to their platform hosted at OVH. The data (around 20 million/buildings/month) is collected and analyzed to determine the best heating or cooling strategies. This startup is a perfect example of the type of enterprise we are looking to support: high technological potential and optimal use of our infrastructure for managing data.
In this case, we provide our Public Cloud services so that effiPilot can perform asynchronous computations, process logs, host API servers and continue integrating additional servers.
Today there are numerous programs providing assistance to startups, what sets OVH apart from the rest?
All the big companies in our sector have the capacity to provide startups with infrastructures. The Digital Launch Pad was created to go much further and provide startups with support for the long term. The program not only provides access to infrastructures but also offers the possibility receive training as well as technical assistance. We are really looking to offer the most relevant services.
Once the project is created and financed, a large majority of the startups are just waiting for high visibility. According to ESM* more than 8 out of 10 startups anticipate international expansion within the next twelve months. We want to support this desire for growth by giving startups more visibility on the international scene. Therefore we offer some startups the chance to come up on the stage during the OVH World Tour and present their concept to our customers and prospects. OVH also communicates regularly about the startups in DLP through interviews or by posting customer testimonials on its site or in its newsletters. There is also a plan to provide startups with increased visibility by permitting them the opportunity to offer some of their services on our Marketplace which benefits from the reputation of the OVH group. It is our ability to provide comprehensive support which allows us to stand out.
In addition, we opted for transparency by employing open services and open source. We do not prohibit migration nor hinder the evolution of any startups that we support. The strength of the program lies in the wide range of services offered by OVH which are able to meet all the needs of a startup and support their growth. All service offers are detailed: technical specifications of our platforms are clearly visible, the type of processor used, performance of storage, price… We truly invite startups to come and challenge our infrastructures.
What is the next step?
We wish to welcome more and more startups entry into the Digital Launch Pad and work with them to pass through the Ideation or Build stages to the Market stage, the most advanced stage which corresponds to a real commercial launch. DLP has already welcomed businesses from the United States, Canada and France. We want to continue this global expansion. We look forward to receiving you candidature requests!
* Prof. Dr Tobias Kollmann, Dr. Christoph Stöckmann, Jana Linstaedt, Julia Kensbock, European Startup Monitor, 2015