The constantly evolving web landscape and advances in technology have made it an exciting time to be a tech entrepreneur.
The dot-com bubble’s rise in the late 1990s and subsequent burst at the beginning of this century still reverberates today. But, today’s tech entrepreneurs have more resources with which to build their businesses than their predecessors, everything from more mentors and networking opportunities to accessible startup tools and virtual platforms.
Technological growth has also lowered the barrier for entry into many profitable markets, such as mobile computing applications and web-based architectures, says Theodor Richardson, Ph.D., the department chair of Information Technology for South University Online.
“With some specialized training, a small group of people can develop a best-selling app or create a really lasting web application,” he says. “This new tech economy is focused on microtransactions which really benefit both the consumer and the developer.”
Going the entrepreneur route today is both easier and more demanding than ever.
The barriers to starting a tech company may have been lowered, but consumers now have higher standards than they did in the past.
“When every dollar counts, you have to earn that dollar from them,” Richardson adds. “I think that is why small shops have had such a success rate in recent years in certain segments of the tech industry — because they can focus on the quality when the larger shops are looking at quantity.”
“It is a great time to begin internet startups,” says Blake Ellis, a founding partner and chief executive officer of CommerceV3 (CV3), a software company based in Savannah, Georgia. “The tools are so robust now.”
The CV3 web-based system was launched in 2001 by Ellis and founding partner and president Nathan Focht, as a way to quickly handle the e-commerce needs of local web customers. The system allows users — primarily multi-channel merchants — to create, populate, customize, maintain, and track e-commerce storefronts.
CV3, the product, quickly gained steam and was spun off into CV3, the company.
Ellis has been involved in a number of web-based startups, but counts CV3 as one of the success stories. He says tech entrepreneurs can now get their companies started in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost than their predecessors were able to.
“The internet business space is a great place to make mistakes,” he says. “It is a great area if you know some programming and have a good idea. You can work weekends to build something and get it out there to market for little or no money and get an idea of whether it will work.”
Technology has consistently grown even during the recent recession. However, customers and investors have tightened their pocketbooks, Ellis says.
“Everything I have done has been bootstrapped,” he states. “We got our initial customers and as we add customers, we finance the company.”
Younger generations have captured the spirit of both technology and entrepreneurship. In the Information Age, the names Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are as significant as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.
While tales of billion-dollar, million-follower tech enterprises can be inspiring, Ellis says the emphasis should be on quality over quantity.
“You don’t have to be the next Google or Facebook,” he says. “Your idea does not have to be adopted by millions. What matters is you have a loyal customer base that believes in your product.”
Tech Entrepreneurship Today
Both exciting and demanding, the tech industry is constantly evolving. Unlike the tech boom of the ’90s, the trends today are based on the ideas of newer and better, Richardson says.
“Even the mainstays in the industry only last so long,” he says. “As a tech entrepreneur, you really need a grasp of where the industry is headed and plot your intersection with its trajectory. It takes agility and adaptability to meet the market.”
There is a large amount of innovation going on in the technological landscape. Desktop computers have started to fade away in favor of portable devices such as computer tablets and mobile phones. Advances in the mobile space have created a whole industry of developers making software and applications for the devices. Meanwhile, social media will continue to move beyond simple personal use, to business necessity.
“Going the entrepreneur route today is both easier and more demanding than ever,” Richardson says. “It’s challenging and exciting; this is a very good time to be in the field of computing.”
Author: Darice Britt