Oracle is rolling out a revamped program to court startups, offering free cloud credits and software discounts, plus online mentoring resources and migration assistance to startups of all sizes and stages worldwide. Unlike an earlier startup initiative that required an application and admitted a cohort of select startups for an onsite program, this effort, Oracle for Startups, lets any startup sign up online and start developing immediately.
The idea is to encourage more startups like UK-based Snap Tech. Snap Tech offers visual search tools, so a shopper can upload a picture of a dress in a color they like and then search for shoes, scarves, and handbags in that same or matching shade. CEO and founder Jenny Griffiths says she moved to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure from another cloud provider and saved 40% in hosting costs alone. Snap Tech relies on computer power from Oracle Cloud to train its neural network to match millions of consumer-posted apparel images with retailers’ inventories. “We’re delivering technology that we never could have dreamed of,” Griffiths says.
Once enrolled, startups gain access to a members-only portal, which offers detailed descriptions about the program’s services, hands-on development labs, and other how-to assistance for migrating an existing instance or spinning up new ones, says Jason Williamson, vice president of Oracle for Startups.
By closing its onsite coworking spaces, Oracle could reallocate resources, expanding Oracle Cloud credits and offering a 70% service discount, which is good for two years from the time of enrollment. Participating startups can also apply for additional services on the portal, including access to marketing resources, such as the opportunity to participate in Oracle’s global conferences and partner events, where startups have made valuable connections with Oracle’s network of 430,000 customers.
As a startup, working with Oracle “has been invaluable for Snap Tech,” Griffiths says. “We can scale our technology and grow our business. They are a fantastic group of people truly invested in our company’s growth.”
But free credits and discounts only matter if the service helps a startup innovate new products and get them to market quickly and cheaply.
Austin-based blockchain services company Transmute uses Oracle Blockchain Platform, for example, to create, secure, and integrate personal identities, business credentials, and multiple-party activities within blockchain applications for its enterprise customers. Using a cloud service “helped our engineers focus on chaincode development, testing, and integration, instead of DevOps,” says Karyl Fowler, CEO and cofounder.
In the new model, Oracle gives qualifying startups expert training, mentorship, and partners that startups’ customers will trust—all things that Higinio (H.O.) Maycotte, founder and CEO of continuous data-streaming and analytics platform Molecula, says drew him to Oracle. The access to Oracle’s technology, engineers, product marketers, and sales teams “is invaluable to us as we scale globally and continue to pioneer the data streaming space,” he says.