In the modern startup world, no company will invest in hardware as most will go right to the cloud for their infrastructure needs. Aiming to attract startups, cloud vendor DigitalOcean is launching its Hatch effort to provide infrastructure credit, training and mentoring opportunities to startups.
Mitch Wainer, co-founder of DigitalOcean, is familiar with the struggles of modern startups, through his own experiences getting the company started. DigitalOcean benefited from the efforts of startup accelerator Techstars, which helped to get the company off the ground in 2012.
DigitalOcean had been providing infrastructure credits to a select group of accelerators, including Techstars and Y Combinator, Wainer said.
"Through the demand of our own community, there have been quite a few requests from startup founders asking for additional support and infrastructure credit," Wainer said. "So we wanted to launch a global online incubator program that provides not just infrastructure credits but offers additional support services, including mentorship opportunities."
DigitalOcean might also use Hatch as an effort to invest in startups in the future.
Initially the DigitalOcean Hatch program will offer up to $100,000 in infrastructure credits to up to 100 companies that can be used for cloud services. Early-stage bootstrapped companies that do not have venture-funding backing often struggle to get access to the necessary resources to build a business.
Given that the cloud is a foundational element of any modern business, Wainer expects to have participation in Hatch across nearly all industry verticals.
From a competitive perspective, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has long offered its users a limited free tier of service that can help get new users up and running in the cloud. DigitalOcean's approach is a little different, and with Hatch, the company is very much targeting the next generation of startups, Wainer said.
"We understand that the cloud infrastructure space is highly competitive," Wainer said. "What we're looking to do is to provide a founder-to-founder connection, provide mentorship and help to provide additional support to founders around the world."
DigitalOcean sees itself as a niche cloud player focused on the developer first, Wainer said, noting that DigitalOcean has been building its brand and community around the developer-first idea and, to date, it has been an attractive idea for many startups. Since its inception, DigitalOcean has also been a strong advocate of open-source applications, including the Linux operating system, which it makes freely available to users.
Wainer is cautiously optimistic that Hatch can grow over time to a community that includes a thousand startups. "Success in the next few years will be having a network of founders around the world that help one another with both an online as well as an offline community for Hatch."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.