How Twilio Startups and DigitalOcean work together to support founding teams

February 27, 2020
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Twilio Startups and Digital Ocean

The Twilio Startups Team is excited to announce our new partnership with DigitalOcean. DigitalOcean is a cloud company that simplifies app creation for new generations of developers working independently, at tech startups, and within small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Their infrastructure and platform-as-a-service (IaaS and PaaS) solutions simplify the complexities of the cloud so developers and founders can focus their energy on creating great software. 

The Hatch by DigitalOcean program was launched with the goal of driving impact for the global startup community and we’re excited to combine our efforts with the DigitalOcean team. Hatch program and alumni are now eligible to apply for Twilio Startups program. 

In order to kick off this partnership,  we interviewed the DigitalOcean team to better understand how one of the most beloved brands in the developer ecosystem got to where they are today, and see what advice they have for founders at any stage of growth.

In this interview, you will:

  • Learn from the teams who have "been there, done that" 
  • Get the advice you need to scale your startup
  • Find out which startups and companies are crushing goals and scaling fast
  • Learn more about Hatch, DigitalOcean’s startup-focused program

Hot off the desk from the DigitalOcean team:

Why do you feel that DigitalOcean is such a beloved brand for developers? Are there specific tweets or stories?

DigitalOcean combines the power of simplicity, love for the developer community, an obsession with customer service, and the advantages of open source. In doing so, DigitalOcean has established a company and community whose mission is bringing software development within technical and economic reach of anyone around the world. DigitalOcean was founded on a set of values that drives everything we do. “Our Community is bigger than just us,” and “Love is at our core,” are just two of these important guiding principles that are highly reflective of our brand. 

From the beginning, we have focused on providing developer education through our tutorials and Q&As as well as community events like Hacktoberfest.

Through this work, we have fostered a community of more than 4 million, often being seen as the “lifesaver” developers turn to when trying to figure out a new project or learn a new language. 

Love is another core piece of our brand. 

In everything we do we make sure we are showing love to our customers and community. This includes designing our products so that customers love using them, offering free support to all customers, and going out of our way to show love to our customers with swag, events, and more. 

What are key differentiators between DigitalOcean and everyone else?

From the beginning, we’ve focused on creating an offering specifically tailored to the needs of an underserved segment of the market–the developer. Over time, as our offerings have expanded, we have broadened our focus to include entrepreneurs and SMBs. While others may claim to have offerings for this group, we differentiate in a number of key ways. 

    • Simplicity. We strip away infrastructure, pricing, and feature complexity, allowing developers to focus on innovation and building great apps. Our products are easy to use for beginners and powerful for professionals, and we operate in a way that makes doing business with us a breeze. 
    • Community. We are devoted to fostering developer education and enablement through free tutorials, forums, and support on cloud-agnostic topics from programming languages to server configurations. We share knowledge, engage in conversations, and help developers learn and grow regardless of whether or not they are customers. We are a company of developers, making solutions for developers.
    • Service. We treat every developer and customer, large and small, as uniquely valuable and human, always acting with a spirit of generosity and empathy. Our support is heartfelt and our service is unparalleled. We always go the extra mile to ensure the success of developers around the world on their unique journeys–from students to professionals and from startup founders to business leaders.
    • Open. We share knowledge and guide developers through the powerful landscape of cloud-native and open source technologies in their quest to create modern apps. Our commitment is to the ethos and technology of open source:promoting open standards and architectures, providing easy-to-consume OSS building blocks, and contributing through hackathons and open source projects.

What best practices has DigitalOcean used to scale their company?

Since the time we started, we have been focused on super-serving the needs of developers. The simplicity offered through our platform meant that all types of customers, irrespective of their technical know-how, could self-serve and launch their businesses on our platform. The simplicity of our platform coupled with transparent and competitive pricing has been one of the key drivers of growth for DigitalOcean.

Also, our high-quality tutorials, use and support for Open Source tools, focus on Community through our Q&A portal, and programs such as Hacktoberfest and meetups have helped us engage and grow mindshare with developers. 

Being remote-friendly has helped us hire the best talent available in the market without being restricted by geography. 

What is the Hatch Program and why is it important to DigitalOcean?

Hatch by DigitalOcean is our global startup program where we work with 600+ global partners–accelerators, incubators, venture capitalists, and other startup sponsors–to identify high-potential startups and support them on their entrepreneurial journeys. 

In its initial years, DigitalOcean participated in the Techstars accelerator program in Boulder and our founders greatly benefited from the mentorship and the support of the global Techstars community. Launching and scaling the Hatch program is our way of giving back to the startup community. Since its inception in 2016, Hatch has supported and built a global community of 5k+ startups. 

What perk or program do you provide to founders and what impact does this program drive?

The Hatch program benefits include membership and access to our thriving global community of founders and partners, free technical support, mentorship through our developer advocates and solution engineers, and of course DigitalOcean Developer Cloud™ credits.

DigitalOcean’s simple cloud offerings ensure that founders can focus on their business and core product offerings rather than manage infrastructure. Our easy-to-use platform enables founders to keep their tech teams lean without having to hire costly, certified engineers to manage their infrastructure. And, with our affordable plans, they can keep their infrastructure spend low and predictable, which is valuable especially for early-stage companies.

Can you share your most inspiring Founder stories? 

As part of Hatch, we interact with inspiring founders who are ambitious, excellent team leaders and constantly changing the world! 

For instance, Wingly is a flight sharing website that connects pilots and passengers and aims to democratize the world of aviation. Lars Klein, the founder and CTO is one of the most engaged members of our Hatch community and his drive and vision for Wingly always inspires us. 

Cherae Robinson, CEO of Tastemakers Africa is another inspiring founder. Her peer-to-peer marketplace connects curious travelers to local insiders who can offer unique, curated and quality African experiences.

What startups do you think are driving impact right now and why? 

Today’s entrepreneurs are disrupting entire industries and changing the status quo:

  • Hatch company was born out of the founders’ frustration with legacy CDN’s
  • NoBroker is rewriting the rules of real-estate brokerage in India and Accern leverages cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies to help global organizations automate their research and data analysis processes. 
  • GitLab, a Hatch alumnus, is today an essential part of every developer’s toolkit around the world! 

Do you have a favorite demo and what is it about the demo that makes "magic"?

At our recent company conference, we had one of our customers, AccessiBe, do a demo of their platform. AccessiBe’s AI platform helps people with disabilities tailor any website to their personal needs, making technology truly inclusive and accessible. The magic of that demo was seeing how entrepreneurs can reimagine the world. Technologies like Cloud and AI can be true enablers in bringing positive change! 

If you could give one piece of advice to founders - what would it be?

Keep it simple

At DigitalOcean, one of our key values is “Simplicity.” This has held us in good stead especially as we try to differentiate ourselves in a highly competitive market. 

For founders, it’s tempting to want to do a lot, like add more products, features, and functionalities. Founders can easily and inadvertently complicate things for themselves by trying to increase their product portfolio too soon. But if they can focus on a few things they do really well and strive to keep things simple, their customers will directly benefit and have a positive user experience overall. Keeping things simple is extremely hard but worth it!

Learn more about Twilio Startups

We hope you enjoyed this interview with DigitalOcean and the opportunity to learn more about how we’re extending the Twilio Startup program to Hatch participants and alumni. The Twilio Startup program is a comprehensive program that provides perks, mentoring, and networking opportunities to eligible startups. You can apply to the Twilio Startups program here.