How did you mitigate the risk of a startup potentially failing and you having a product that is no longer supported by a vendor? How did you mitigate the risk?

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Board Member, Former CIO in Software, 10,001+ employees
There were probably three or four startups that I can think of that went under during my time at Facebook. I think that we had gotten to the point where we were so used to moving quickly and evolving our technology that the concept of a startup disappearing was really not a show stopper. We knew that we could move beyond them - just disappointed when it happened. I think the bigger risk was when startups would get acquired and that their technology would get into a zombie state. It would be still there, still functional but it wouldn't get the same level of attention and innovation that it was when it was run by the start up.
Advisor | Investor | Former CIO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
It also helps if you approach the startup as if you're going to acquire them. Who are the founders / co-founders? What is their track record? How long has the company been in business? What is the overall strategy of the company? Who are their competitors? What is this community saying about the startup, if any? Who are their major customers? etc.

By taking such an approach, ideally you'll have a mix of qualitative and quantitate inputs to make a better informed decision.

BTW, I've never seen code from the startup being put into escrow actually work. However, it keeps the lawyers happy.
CEO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
We had the code put in escrow, bound the lead developers ( not business founders) to a rigorous five year NDA and non compete. For a sweetener we tied a one year employment contract with us to support redevelop, if a liquidation event occurred.
We took a board seat and held a minority interest to assure we'd have a say in the product roadmap as well as direct growth. All with the idea we
could preemptively acquire.
Senior Director, Defense Programs in Software, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
The best mitigation really is having the rigor and velocity to replace without disruption.

This means having a great architectural runway, a team that has an understood velocity, healthy management of tech debt, solid prioritization of trade offs, and of course, a really good understanding of what makes up an offering.

Good continuous deployment and integration systems and teams mitigate a lot risk.
Director of Information Security in Energy and Utilities, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Used to be an source code escrow for this type of scenario but in reality it isn't really a realistic option given how complex software is etc. The best mitigation is to make sure your MSA/agreements contain data export clauses, you have certain SLA's that allow you to export your data out, and the software/hardware you are using is inter-operable with other platforms. This is one of the advantages of using standard K8's vs. being locked into a more specific vendor infrastructure platform for example. Overall though you need to do your own due diligence and placing critical reliance on a startup that is less than 5 years old with a few clients might not be a good example of due diligence on your side.

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CTO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
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