WebRTC opens up possibilities for millions of developers to create new services that we can’t even imagine today. New players are rapidly forming new ecosystems and transforming current ones, and we can’t yet say what will drive success. Will it be new interactions? Or new relationships? Have we learned any lessons so far? There don’t seem to be any definite answers, so let’s start our discussions here.
With that, we introduce our first guest post from Kelly Fitzsimmons. Kelly is a serial tech entrepreneur and co-founder of the Hypervoice Consortium. The consortium has the mission of articulating and advancing standards, capabilities and potential applications for Hypervoice, or the transformation of voice communications into searchable and shareable native web objects.
You can follow Kelly on Twitter at @schnellerkeller
Standards don’t create disruption. Innovators do. The ultimate value of WebRTC will emerge from how well entrepreneurs and technologists put WebRTC into action. By dramatically lowering the barriers to entry, what used to be hard will become easy. The result will be throngs of new startups. So then what?
For telco players looking to partner with hot up-and-coming startups, it is important to focus on the few, not the many. In essence, a telco partner needs to try and spot the "winners" before they know they are winners. And in this way, a partner's role is not that much different than a venture capitalist.
So the real question is, do any of the early WebRTC startups have a discernible advantage?
1. Capitalization - Has the startup raised capital during the downturn? The ability to raise funds in the past – particularly during the Great Recession – indicates that their leadership earned the trust of others and, most importantly, their technology has gone through a modicum (if not a lot) of due diligence. This is proof of some staying power.
2. Team – Does the startup team have experience and expertise in navigating relationships with large strategic partners in the past? Do they understand how to navigating licensing, IP issues, channel? The more seasoned the team, the more likely a successful outcome. If they don’t understand their partner’s world, they are likely to be impatient, which can be exhausting for all parties.
3. Revenue - Does the startup already have revenue from real clients? If so, they have moved past market discovery into market validation. This is a critical step that many startups never make. This step alone will help you significantly de-risk the partnership. If they don’t have revenue now or likely ever, choose another partner.
With so many new entrants, telco has a rich playing field to work from. These emerging companies offer less nimble enterprises ways to innovate quickly and get new products to market. Although acquisition may be one tried and true route, early partnering is what many of these young entrants really want. They want access to your subscriber base and billing systems. For these startups, revenue is king.
The advantage for telcos in partnering instead of early acquisition is that it de-risks the deals. Do these startup partners really walk the walk? Are your customers interested in their products? By partnering early with a few startups, acquisition becomes easier on the backend. First concentrate on being the strategic and essential partner. The more key you are to their success, the better the ultimate terms.
By Kelly Fitzsimmons of the Hypervoice Consortium