Launching a startup is hard enough without even considering how all the small expenses impact your cash burn rate and decrease your runway. As an early-stage employee, you must be conscious of every expense – especially the recurring expenses of software.
According to an annual report published by Blissfully, the average annual software spend for a startup under 50 employees is more than $22,000 and the average spend per employee is $1,371.
Thanks to the product-led revolution, there are tons of great software tools that offer free plans and/or startup programs meant to help early-stage companies get on their feet.
There are likely hundreds of free or discounted software tools for startups out there, but we’ve rounded up some of our personal favorites as well as some of the best deals we’ve found advertised.
Can you imagine running a company without a chat in this day and age? With 10k searchable messages, 10 apps and integrations, 1-to-1 video calls, and two-factor authentication, the free version gives your team access to Slack’s basic features.
Airtable is an incredibly useful and powerful collaboration tool and even the free plan provides significant value. With the free plan teams of any size get unlimited workspaces to manage projects from content calendars to kanban boards.
Zoom offers a full-featured video conferencing plan for free with unlimited meetings up to 100 participants. The Zoom basic meetings plan has a 40-minute time limit on meetings with three or more total participants. Pro-tip: connect your Zoom account to your GSuite and Slack for easy scheduling and impromptu video calls.
Sales & Marketing Apps:
Hubspot has both a free plan and a startup program to get companies all the basic functionality of a CRM. Startups who have raised over $2 million in named funding up to and including Series A are eligible for 50% off in their first year, and 25% off ongoing.
Startups with under $2 million in funding are eligible for 90% off in their first year, 50% in your second, and 25% ongoing.
For SEO conscious businesses running on WordPress, the Yoast SEO plug-in is a must. It’s a free plug-in that evaluates whether each page of your site is SEO friendly and offers recommendations for improvement.
There’s a reason that 30% of the web runs on WordPress. It’s a powerful free CMS tool that can power your website or blog. In addition to the CMS, WordPress offers tons of free plugins to enhance your website or blog such as forms, templates, SEO optimization and more.
Not every startup can afford a graphic designer or a photoshop license for everyone who wants one. Canva offers a free plan of its user-friendly design tool that even non-designers can leverage to make quick graphics. It even comes with some free stock photography and lots of handy presets for common uses like social and blog graphics.
Infrastructure/Cloud Computing Discounts
App infrastructure and storage can be one of the startup’s biggest early costs. Take advantage of a number of always-free products, plus a $300 credit from Google Cloud.
Amazon Web Services provides startups with a low cost, easy to use infrastructure needed to scale and grow. With the AWS Activate program, startups get access to the resources they need to quickly get started on AWS – including $100,000 in free credits, training, and support.
Collecting analytics data is critical to finding product-market fit. Eligible startups get full access to Segments Team Plan (up to $25,000 value) free for up to two years. The Segment startup program is offered to new startups who have been in business for less than 2 years and who have less than 5M in funding. This is a must for any product-led company that measures success based on its product adoption
General Business Apps
Busy hustlers and founders don’t have time to go back and forth to schedule meetings. A tool like Calendly can eliminate the hassle of multiple emails by connecting to your calendar and allowing your contacts or prospects to choose an available time. The calendly free plan allows one calendar and one meeting type per free user. It also integrates with intercom.
For the business that only needs to send and sign the occasional document, DocHub offers a free plan that allows up to 5 executed documents per month. Upgrade to unlimited for only $4.99/month. DocHub Integrates with Gmail, Google Drive, and Dropbox for smooth transitions and easy sharing and works with multiple document types – not just PDF files.
Hire by Google
Getting the right talent in place is critical to the success of any business. For businesses that run on GSuite, Hire by Google is a fast efficient way to manage job postings and applicant tracking.
I hope this list of free software for startups helps you discover a new tool and save some precious cash. Do you know of another helpful free software or startup program that wasn’t mentioned above? Drop a comment below and tell us about it so we can check it out!
Free software for startups