I was looking into joining BizSpark since it seems there is a ton of great benefits. My buddy and I want to create a startup using .Net technology, so how can this not be a win-win? We are going to create a web app together, when maybe move on to consulting on the side.
Am I missing something? Are there any disadvantages to joining BizSpark? Are there any other programs I can join that are similar?
BizSpark is great. There is a downside; but it is tiny: At the end of your BizSpark term you must pay a fee of 100 USD. There is one more thing that could be mentioned as a downside, getting approved for BizSpark can be harder than some other programs.
Other than that -- well, think about what your startup will really do, and consider if perhaps some of the other Microsoft programs are a better fit. BizSpark is geared towards startups creating a product or Software-as-a-Service (webapp) based on Microsoft's platform. If that's not descriptive for you then have a look at:
Oh, and BizSpark is great.
Bizspark is a really great program. If you are developing on .Net there is no reason you should not go for it. You get a lot of really great software for .Net development, and a lot of help and exposure.
Bizspark is an incentive for startups to build on Microsoft technologies and not move to Open Source like Google or Facebook, they dont want another one coming up :-)
If you are a conspiracy/paranoid person you could consider it one way that Microsoft is keeping an eye on upcoming technologies/businesses and a way for them to step into new opportunities.
I doubt this is their motivation, but they do collect information from you about your business.
My startup has been a Bizspark member and we are very happy with it.
No, there is nothing at all wrong with BizSpark for a small business. Just make sure that you remain within the constraints or you might have to pay for the expensive licensing. Granted the constraints are pretty large, you still need to take them into account. I'm sure you're aware, but for the people reading this article, the constraints are:
Those shouldn't be a problem to new startups, but something to keep in the back of your mind.
I would be wary to join a program like bizspark only because I don't think that MS software is really a strategic direction that statups should take. ESPECIALLY, technology startups. While BizSpark is a great way to set up development environments, you're still responsible for licensing fees on hosting your software, or any software from Microsoft you put out into the field. These costs can add up - especially if your software is an on-premises offering.
Additionally, there is more open source software on other technology platforms (Java for example) than there is on .NET, so there is less reason to re-invent the wheel.
Moreover, other than Microsoft software, traditional hosted software stacks like PostgreSQL/MySQL for DB, Apache/NGINX for Web, Ruby/PHP/JSP/GSP/etc for delivery run better on Linux than they do on Windows.
My experience tells me that MS software also has more operational overhead and thus utilizes your server less efficiently than comparable software on Linux.
So, unless you're doing all .NET and all Windows, I'd stay away from BizSpark. However, if you plan on doing it all in MS' walled garden, BizSpark is cheap and easy.
That said, if you want to get something up and running quick, don't have much Linux expertise and want to just put a prototype in place, Free is a good price. Just make sure you understand the application requirements before proceeding into .NET in any strategic way (long term, in other words).