It’s rare to find large companies helping out the little guys. That’s why it’s nice when big companies lend a helping hand to smaller businesses such as ourselves. It's a real testament to the executive team understanding that part of the process of building a business is sharing information, resources, customers and of course ideas with others. The more you help, the more you get out of the ecosystem.
This is something that is clearly not lost on Esri who, despite being a behemoth with thousands of employees, still takes the time to put the GIS community first. A good example of this is the Esri Startup Program. There are a myriad of benefits to working with these guys. Here are a few:
Access to high-end customers
One of the toughest problems to solve for a new business is distribution and identifying reliable customer acquisition channels. The Esri ecosystem gives you access to users who are used to paying a lot of money for software. Many of their clients are in well funded sectors including government, agriculture, oil to name a few. If you're building enterprise solutions, these are definitely the type of customers you want access to.
The ArcGIS marketplace
The ArcGIS Online marketplace is basically free marketing for your ArcGIS enabled app. In our experience, the marketplace has proven to be a great customer acquisition channel. A good rule of thumb is that 10% - 15% of leads from this channel will convert to actual signups.
The Esri ecosystem is by far the largest in the geospatial industry. This is clear when you attend their various conferences targeted to their partners, customers and developers who come out in droves with thousands of attendees. These conferences are filled with potential clients who are keen on using the latest and greatest technologies. These conferences are good places for businesses development initiatives including partnerships, long-tail enterprise sales and building relationships within the community.