Working for My Financial Broker as a startup venture there are a few things that just have to be accepted. Some things are good, some, not so much. You have to accept that cash flow, especially at the beginning, is a little tight. This means that you need to have many hats so anything you can get for free is viewed as a massive win.
As work commenced here at My Financial Broker we quickly started to need to integrate third party APIs. Off we went to the suppliers we used in the past only to realize that most did not present the prices up front. This annoys us because we believe that friendly finance should not hide the costs.
A quick web search later lead us to companies who not only provided great APIs and transparent pricing but also allowed us to start testing the water with free account credits. While this was not a large number it did allow us to get all the testing and integration done without spending a penny or having to phone for prices.
So in the interest of sharing and the hope that others on their startup journey stumble across this here are a few of those companies:
We use their address lookup services but dig around and you will find a wealth of other services centred on location data.
OneSixty provide SMS and MMS fulfillment. Ask nicely and they will give you some test credits
Gorgeous website, SMTP Relay service, awesome reporting, a great API, transparent pricing and 6000 email a month for free entry account.
Marketing email fulfillment, basic account serves up 12k email a month
It is also worth mentioning that if you look hard enough you can find free stuff every where. At My Financial Broker HQ, we use Microsoft technology to build our systems. Microsoft provide great software development starter kits. Their express range, while limited, will get you off the ground for free and when you’re ready to move to the next level you can use trial Visual Studio and SQL server for 90 and 180 days respectively. So three months into your build without spending anything.
There are also schemes in action like Microsoft BizSpark and WebsiteSpark for startups where you can get the tools for your trade for up to 3 years (with some conditions).
Go get that free stuff and happy coding!