Web hosting provider SoftLayer Technologies announced on Tuesday that it is a platinum sponsor of startup accelerator program TechStars. It will provide financial support through its technology mentorship initiative the SoftLayer Catalyst Program, and give qualifying TechStars participants $1,500 per month towards dedicated, cloud and hybrid infrastructure resources and engage its executives as mentors.
This announcement comes a week after SoftLayer expanded its partnership with cloud management software provider RightScale to provide scalability and automation solutions for companies to speed their time to market.
SoftLayer’s relationship with TechStars is not the first time the web host has funded this type of program. In March 2011, SoftLayer began its relationship with Dallas-based Tech Wildcatters Incubator Program. Through this deal SoftLayer provided $1,000 credit per month for a total of 12 months for cloud, dedicated or hybrid hosting.
This relationship illustrates an opportunity for other web hosts looking to become relavant resources for technology startups. By offering free resources like hosting, as well as mentorship, web hosts can engage with companies in the early stages, and attract more startup and developer customers which can be a difficult clientele to market to without existing customers. Web hosting is an integral part of any startup, especially technology-based companies, and uptime and scalability can be crucial at this point in a businesses development.
“In today’s competitive environment, entrepreneurs deserve the best resources they can receive. Those entrepreneurs are finding the support of an accelerator program like TechStars helps them get their companies off the ground and running well because of the vast resources available to them,” David Cohen founder and CEO of TechStars said in a statement. “It is critical we work with sponsors, such as SoftLayer, that can help new entrepreneurs offset their costs, minimize risks and provide the wise advice from the perspective of someone who was once in their shoes.”
SoftLayer itself grew out of a classic startup environment, according to the press release, and started its Catalyst Program in 2011 to mentor technology innovators, and provide novice entrepreneurs with advice, best practices, industry insight, marketing support and hosting resources.
“Our involvement with TechStars is not simply about development of new technology. It is ultimately about being a catalyst for change – inspiring new entrepreneurs and positively impacting the national economy,” Paul Ford, vice president of community development at SoftLayer said in a statement. “As former entrepreneurs, we believe it is our responsibility to share our knowledge and experiences with startups to give them the business agility they require to speed their development time and rapidly respond to market needs and opportunities.”
Recently, Microsoft provided TechStars startups with up to $60,000 of Windows Azure compute and storage. In October 2011, web hosting provider Rackspace partnered with TechStars Cloud to bring cloud startups to San Antonio for a four-month program where they received seed funding, mentorship and perks.
Talk back: Have you ever worked with startups as a mentor? Did you do it through a startup accelerator program like TechStars, or pursue the opportunity independently? Let us know in a comment.