Monetizing Businesses Online

Starting up with the Cloud

While the cloud is helping businesses reduce costs, consider for instance that in 2011 starting an internet company cost around $5,000 as opposed to the $5 million price tag of 2000, it’s also encouraging revenue growth. In less than a decade, Airbnb has established itself as one of the world’s largest accommodation providers without owning any hotels, and services such as Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar have taken a significant chunk of the global taxi industry for themselves. The prodigious success of these brands begins with the cloud.


Putting the cloud to greater use, Philips Hue Connected Bulb allows consumers to control their home lighting from their mobile phones. But Philips isn’t only cashing in on the product revenue; they’ve added a one-time pay and free app to their services, too, for an extra revenue boost. Audi is another brand with a new monetization model. The 4G/LTW Wi-Fi hotspot navigation system uses Google Earth and Voice to provide real-time weather and traffic alerts, encouraging users to make use of their hotspot subscription offer. The range of IoT devices taking advantage of one-time pay and subscription monetization models is rapidly growing, and a cloud-connected car might just be the next big IoT monetizing platform with possibilities ranging from fuel efficiency meters to ride sharing to pay-per-use schemes.

Cloud Services

It’s evident that cloud Service Providers have already clued on to the wealth of monetization opportunities the cloud offers, but traditional businesses have been slower to the party. Amazon, Google, and their contemporaries both large and small are indeed using the cloud to its every advantage, but non-tech organizations seem typically to start and stop with the employment of a cloud infrastructure. Some of the larger brands have invested in mobile apps and services, but outside of the innovative world of startups, we haven’t yet seen many radical cloud monetization models.

Cloud Startups to Learn From



Using crowdsourced analytics, this app helps users quickly detect fraud, billing errors and unwanted credit and debit card charges. It tracks a user’s shopping, and when a card is used away from its owner issues an alert.


Making online dating more tangible, Cheekd features cross-platform, low energy Bluetooth technology that works wherever you go and notifies you when someone meeting your criteria is within 30 feet. Meet cute anyone?


Cognotion’s cloud-based workforce solution combines cognitive science research with technology to improve the retention and performance of high turnover workers. Using 3D simulation, interactive cinema, and gameplay, the platform provides screening and predictive analytics for new recruits as well as initial and reinforcement training.


Providing mobile solutions that help doctors make use of evidence-based medicine at the point of care, doctors are connected with relevant research and content. Institutions are also able to use Docphin to circulate hospital-specific protocols, clinical guidelines, and other references.


Founded this year, this startup is developing a streaming service that businesses can use to deliver video to customers. Hosting and processing the video themselves, Mux creates a superior viewing experience with less loading and buffering.


Making payments fun and easy, Venmo is a mobile application that enables instant payment to anyone through money held in the app or from a linked bank account. Unlike PayPal, users are able to transfer money from the app to their own bank account in just one business day.


A learning community providing hundreds of classes taught by both industry experts and everyday people. Skillshare lets users create and share their project-based classes and learn and work at their own pace. Currently, this startup has over 180,000 students in 188 countries.

From workplace to lifestyle to health to education, the cloud is not only improving industry performance but increasing revenues. Isn’t it time conventional businesses make better use of the cloud innovation?

By Jennifer Klostermann

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