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Why flexibility is the future, and multicloud is the strategy for startups

By Jason Williamson, Global Head and VP of Oracle for Startups and Oracle for Research.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, multicloud is the future — not only for enterprises, but startups too. Yes, startups can run on one cloud, as we see many do on Oracle Cloud infrastructure (OCI). But  more and more startups are choosing a multicloud strategy for growth.

How can I be so sure? Because we learn so much from the founders, creators and innovators we have the pleasure to work with in our Oracle for Startups program. They’re telling us they are benefitting from a multicloud strategy that includes OCI and love the flexibility it gives them to cherry pick the best products, satisfy the demands of their customers, and stay flexible. 

When I hosted a roundtable recently with three founders for a conversation about innovation, global business, and their experience working with Oracle, it was another chance to learn what’s working and what we can do better. 

Hands-on support makes multicloud easier

Cloud has amazing benefits, but it comes with some complexities. That’s why we have a dedicated team to give hands-on support while creating partnerships to ease interoperability.

Jenny Griffiths, CEO and founder of Snap Vision, benefits from the OCI and Azure interconnect to run her fashion-focused visual search business. She told me she started pursuing this multicloud play to satisfy her customers’ cloud preferences, and said that Oracle’s partnership with Microsoft makes it easy to use Azure for testing and development and OCI for production-ready workloads for customers.

Jenny migrated Snap Vision’s platform to OCI, calling it “a perfect integration” with no disruption of services, in part thanks to technical experts who were available to answer questions. We know people appreciate talking to real people with real expertise, so our team of engineers is available to support with migrations and technical audits. 

Alexandre Pédemonte, CEO and founder of Vistory, a startup in the 3D printing industry, also running a multicloud strategy with OCI, told me: “It’s the best experience I’ve had in 20 years’ of migration. Whether it’s on the technical side and on migration, or business side…being able to navigate the organization with help, that’s probably been the main strength [of Oracle for Startups] for us. For me, it’s like gold, because it saves us time.”

Portability gives flexibility

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There are lots of advantages to pursuing a multicloud strategy, but one of the most important benefits is flexibility. Startups can capitalize on this by using container-based architecture and orchestration like Kubernetes, as they make moving workloads between clouds much easier and can prevent downtime.

Rikard Kjellberg, COO of B-Yond, shared that the 5G startup uses Kubernetes to scale horizontally. Jenny from Snap Vision told me that using it cuts architecture running costs and frees up time from managing engineering tasks, enabling her team to shift their attention to customer-facing tasks.

Oracle is pro-portability, even though we are confident in our own cloud offering. We’re against vendor lock-in, where the further you go up the stack of services, the more difficult it is to leave. Of course we want startups to use our products and work with us to integrate their services into OCI, but also use other vendors when it’s best for their business. 

What’s good for startups is good for us, and vice versa. 

It’s more than the tech

A consistent message I hear from founders is that startup programs should be more than free credits and a how-to manual. I agree, and our goal is to be a strategic partner. Oracle’s business resources can accelerate growth for multicloud startups, which tend to be in the scale-up phase. 

Free cloud credits and a 70% discount on OCI from day one also help startups extend their runway and scale. “The credits at the beginning were amazing… and we’ve saved 40% on our hosting costs that we’ve been able to reinvest back into our business,” Jenny told me, while Rikard praised our transparent pricing model, adding, “the price points are very attractive for early-stage companies.”

The importance of transparency goes way beyond pricing. I not only believe in startups using multiple clouds, but in having open conversations, whether that’s with our tech teams about the pros and cons of using one of our products, or our business development experts about how a startup’s products can connect with Oracle’s and reach our enterprise customers. And I know this is important to startups, too.

Understanding founders’ needs and how we can help is key. 

“You have quite an open, honest dialogue; they’re happy to talk you through pros and cons of different things with the system,” Jenny said. 

Rikard added, “Very quickly in our engagement, we started to look at go to market, and synergies between what we do and what Oracle has.” 

Faradai CEO and cofounder Şahin Çağlayan confirmed, “We see Oracle as more of a strategic partner than just a cloud service provider.”

The future is flexible

Image Credits: Getty Images

Maynard Webb, the tech industry veteran and best-selling entrepreneurship author, noted: “Flexibility has become a modern-day value that everyone wants. But flexibility comes with a cost.” 

Indeed, multicloud means that startups in our program are also using our competitor’s products, but I really believe in the mutual benefits of the virtuous cycle. If these startups are successful, we’re successful, and we work hard to make that win-win scenario happen by encouraging flexibility, transparency and trust in Oracle products and people. Those qualities, mixed with talent and plenty of resilience, are the key to helping all of our businesses thrive.