Terraforming SMBs with Terapad

by admin on January 5, 2007

in Cloud Computing/SaaS,Innovation

I’ll come right up front. I really like Terapad but I have no involvement with the business whatsoever.Last September, I took a peek at the offering and after a slight kerfuffle over Ts & Cs, I said ‘great stuff…but…’ caveating because there was not enough integration to popular third party stuff. Today, I revisited following a ping from CEO Stephan Tual and WOW! How things have changed. Lots more stuff with which to integrate or composite if you like.

Any startup business looking for a bunch of Internet tools would be hard pressed to get all Terapad’s features in another package or as elegantly gift wrapped. Last time out, I thought pricing was a bit steep. Thankfully that’s been addressed. Users can opt for AdSense ads on the site giving them free usage of the Terapad service. Personally, I’d pay the cab fare equivalent of $5 a month, to be rid of them. I view AdSense as little better than digital graffiti where the only real winner is Google. But that’s me.

Terapad scores by providing something beyond SoSaaS as Phil Wainewright might say. The service allows users to go at their own pace, adding in features as they gain experience. I like that approach because non geeks are easily lost by services many of ‘us’ blogerati routinely use. Today’s technology is unquestionably easier to understand than in years gone by but when you’re faced with a long list of features, each has to be learned. There’s a lesson in there for all startups IMO.

Terapad claims to integrate to any third party service – yeah right. So where’s Freshbooks or Blinksale integration? Not done. Please, will someone sort this out? I know it’s good to have PayPal to help manage business cashflow but businesses need proper billing or accounting services if they are to keep professional costs within reasonable limits. I’m not convinced that accounting has been totally cracked by any of the current crop of SaaS players but there are useful services when put in the right hands.

The true test comes from users. Stephan references Atlanta based artist and jeweler Wyanne as an example of a person using a combination of services to good effect. It’s good to see technology crossing the Atlantic Ocean in this way but I really want to see many more examples. Which neatly brings me to the all important Go To Market question.

I’ve hooked Stephan and David Terrar together. David has an event coming up which will (hopefully) be held at the offices of a London firm of CAs. Every partner I’ve come across usually, but not always, has responsibility for 50-100 clients. So if you’ve got 10 partners, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise this is a potentially large addressable market. There are many such firms in the English speaking world.

Here’s another thought. I’ve been giving some basic (free) advice to an organisation that aggregates public service sites that provide access to regeneration funds in a certain part of the UK. It struck me that such a service could be truly end user friendly by carrying a link and discussion about Terapad. That’s another potential market.

I know there are no certainties in software and startups have a mountain to climb if they’re to grow into something substantial. Terapad has the makings, now it has to make the right connections in the real world. I wish them well. They deserve to succeed.

Endnote: Stuart Bruce provides a brief write-up as does Ivan Pope.

Technorati Tags: ,

Comments on this entry are closed.

Jason Holden January 5, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Terapad looks very interesting, I will be taking a closer look over the coming months (after 31 January 2007).

Previous post:

Next post: