Photo: Twitter / @debergalis
Starting a company used to be incredibly hard — you had to buy up a ton of software licenses and hardware, like SharePoint and Oracle servers, to get anything off the ground.Nowadays, it’s still incredibly hard to start a company, but thanks to a whole suite of new cloud-based applications that simplifies everyday tasks, it’s less of a headache.
And more often than not, you’ll find a few favourite mission-critical applications among Silicon Valley’s newest wave of red-hot startups.
There’s a new site called WeUseThat that’s profiled a number of the top rising stars in Silicon Valley to find out which apps are their favourites.
We’ve assembled the best for you below.
Startups using: Most newer startups, including Beeminder
Stripe is rapidly becoming the go-to payments option for any new startup. It's a few lines of code that you add to your software that immediately enables you to accept credit card payments.
It's one of the easiest payments solutions in the world, and the terms are much nicer than some typical credit card companies.
Startups using: Beeminder
If you want your application to have anything to do with phone calls or text messages, Twilio is the go-to API. It lets you plug your service into a phone line that can accept phone calls or deliver text messages.
The best example was GroupMe in its earliest days, which let you send text messages through its service to multiple recipients, creating a text message 'chat room.'
Startups using: Beeminder
If you can't afford an expensive customer relationship management suite, Rapportive is a great option because it shows profiles right inside your email inbox.
Most startups today use Gmail, and Rapportive assembles a lot of information about an incoming contact and displays it neatly in your inbox.
Startups using: Most new startups, including Meteor
Instead of buying up a ton of servers and having to maintain them, you can offload all your hard work onto powerful remote servers run by Amazon.
This has made the computational cost of running a startup much, much smaller -- so it's easier to get a startup off the ground when you are just getting started.
At a certain point, though, you might consider switching back to in-house servers.
Startups using: Meteor
If you want to keep everything in your startup running as smoothly as possible, every employee has to be up to date with what tasks are currently in process.
That's where a lot of productivity flow startups, like Asana, come in. They ensure that there is no confusion about what tasks need to be completed immediately, and it makes it easier to communicate across the country.
Startups using: Meteor
Aside from the hard problems your startup is trying to solve, you'll also have to handle a lot of day-to-day office tasks.
Like assembling furniture or buying food, for example.
Luckily there's a startup that lets you hire someone specialised in completing those tasks called Exec -- another Y Combinator graduate. It's a flat hourly rate, and you get exactly what you need out of it: an on-demand office manager.
Startups using: Beeminder, Meteor
Most of the sign-up process and interaction your users are going to experience is going to be through email.
Mailgun offers an effective way to keep track of all those emails that are flying around -- whether they are being read or just sitting in an inbox, or being deleted right after they arrive.
Startups using: Pretty much everyone in Silicon Valley
When it comes to collaborating and open-sourcing software, GitHub has no equal. It's one of the most efficient ways to check in, check out and modify code across a large number of people.
GitHub also serves as a repository for literally hundreds of powerful open-source projects that you can play around with, which can make your startup's software that much better.
Startups using: Beeminder, GoPollGo
If you want users coming back to your website over and over, you want to make sure that it's actually loading quickly and running smoothly.
That's where New Relic, a web application performance monitoring (that's a mouthful) tool comes in. It gives you a useful dashboard that tells you just how fast your website is running, and whether you need to tweak something.
Startups using: GoPollGo, Punchfork
For newer startups, most times you aren't actually going to be in the same office. In fact, you might not even be in the same state.
That's where HipChat, a group chat and instant messaging client, comes in. Think of it back in the early days of AOL, when chat rooms were taking off like a rocket -- except this is built for business, not fantasy.
Startups using: Punchfork, Meteor, MetaOptimize
Every now and then, you'll want to update your customers on what's happening with your product.
Mailchimp is a good way to quickly put together great-looking newsletters and blast them out to your customers.
Startups using: Punchfork, GoPollGo
You aren't always going to be around when your website decides to take a break, crashing for thousands of users.
Luckily, Pingdom does a good job of keeping track of it, and will alert you when there are any critical problems with the website.
Startups using: Pretty much all startups in Silicon Valley
If you need to quickly spin up some email addresses, file sharing or any number of other mission-critical services for your company, Google is your go-to provider.
Gmail has become the de-facto standard for email in Silicon Valley, and it's dirt cheap for most startups. And Gmail is hardly the only business app available through Google's enterprise app store.
Startups Using: PagerDuty
If you're running a startup, you're going to have to manage customer service in some way.
ZenDesk gives startups a way to efficiently store, sort, and access customer service complaint tickets.
Startups using: Pretty much every Silicon Valley startup
You're going to have to move around a lot of very large files while building and launching an app.
Instead of carrying around and mailing flash drives and DVDs, Dropbox gives you a way to securely upload files to a remote server that anyone can access anywhere around the world.
Startups using: Olark, Pulse
Trello is another alternative to Asana that is popular among Silicon Valley startups for managing your work flow. It keeps track of all the tasks of an entire project in a single dashboard.
If you want to ensure that certain tasks are getting done and everything is running smoothly, Trello is a great way to do so.