Well, looking at the number of myths surrounding the framework, we can understand why they would be worried. Since startups run on a tight budget and their teams are usually pretty small, they want their websites or apps to run on something that is affordable, flexible, and easy to work with.
.NET actually fits all those requirements perfectly though. And to prove it, we’ll show you five development cases where .NET is very often the best choice for startups.
Why are startups so wary of .NET development?
It may be hard to believe, but .NET is already over 20 years old – the framework was first released in 2002. And while the modern version, .NET Core, is vastly different from the original .NET framework, many people still mix the two up.
Because of that, so many of our startup clients often ask questions or make statements such as:
- “.NET? But we want to build a web app. Isn’t .NET only for Windows?”
- “We heard that .NET is very slow, and we are looking for a high-performing framework. Is .NET really going to be the best choice here?”
- “Isn’t .NET a legacy solution already? We’d rather use something more modern.”
- “Visual Studio is so expensive though, and we have a tight budget.”
- “.NET is probably too complicated for our simple app to use.
None of those things are true anymore. In fact, it would be hard to find another framework as flexible and high-performing as .NET nowadays. We discussed what exactly makes the .NET technology so powerful in a previous article, so we won’t repeat it here.
Instead, let’s explore some specific development cases where startup businesses might find .NET especially useful.
5 cases when .NET is an excellent choice for Startups
Need for high performance, scalability, and productivity
The early .NET gained a reputation for being stable and secure, but unfortunately also relatively slow and not the easiest framework to work with. That’s why Microsoft paid special attention to .NET Core’s performance, scalability, and productivity when developing the technology.
The results? One of the fastest and most flexible frameworks available right now.
For example, in TechEmpower Round 21 benchmarks, .NET was able to handle over seven million requests per second with ease. Another performance test meanwhile found that .NET is faster than Java, C++, and even slightly faster than Go.
How can .NET be useful for boosting performance and scalability?
To make .NET blazing fast, Microsoft used a Just-in-Time (JIT) compiling method, where the code is translated into native machine code at runtime. That way, the code can be compiled into native much faster than through interpreters, and so applications run smoother as well.
The technology also includes memory management with garbage collection features, through which the application can automatically use and then remove no longer necessary data from memory. For developers, that means much less tedious coding work to do.
With other Microsoft technologies, like Azure cloud services, scaling up the infrastructure to meet growing demand is no longer a problem either. The service can monitor application demand in real time and then either increase or decrease the amount of resources the application will be using to ensure that it can handle peak periods with ease.
Plus, .NET applications can be easily containerized and deployed with container management platforms such as Kubernetes, allowing developers to update or bug fix an application much faster.
So, for companies who plan to scale and therefore require a flexible architecture, .NET is often the ideal solution.
Strong security features for protecting sensitive data
Startups who know that their product will be gathering and storing plenty of private or sensitive data have one more thing to worry about during development. Namely, how they can secure the website or application to prevent attacks and breaches when they are on a tight budget and often without a cybersecurity expert on board.
Startups in industries such as fintech and healthcare also need robust security features within their applications in order to stay compliant with regulatory requirements. For them, going with .NET’s sophisticated security features is often the best solution.
Being built and still actively supported by Microsoft makes the framework stable, secure, and trustworthy. Furthermore, .NET applications don’t require external libraries or tools – they’re built with ready-made “building blocks” that meet security requirements.
How can .NET be useful for enhancing security?
.NET is well known for being one of the most secure frameworks available, since it has many advanced features and mechanisms that ensure secure development, deployment, and execution of applications.
What also makes the .NET platform exceptionally safe is that, with so many tools and libraries available, developers don’t really need to use any additional tools for their projects. All components included in the framework are also regularly tested for compliance with security regulations, so that’s one less thing that startups have to worry about.
Developing applications that can run across multiple platforms
In the early days of .NET, applications built with this framework could only run on Windows OS. So, for many businesses, .NET development became almost synonymous with “can only be used on Windows”. As such, .NET is still very often overlooked when startups are choosing cross-platform-friendly technology.
That’s why our clients are often surprised when we recommend .NET for cross-platform applications, and even more so when we show them the framework’s potential.
How can .NET be useful for developing cross-platform applications?
Unlike the older .NET framework, the current version is platform independent, so it can be used for creating applications for many different platforms. A single desktop application that can run on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems? A mobile app that can be used both by Android and iOS users? Deploying your own cloud service? With .NET and its tools, such as Xamarin, that’s entirely possible.
For startups, that means they no longer have to pick between, for example, creating a mobile app for Android or IOS because they can’t afford to build two separate apps. Instead, they can develop an app that will work smoothly on both systems with most of the code being reusable.
In preparation for a conference speech, I wrote an application for my Windows 11 computer with an Intel processor, which I then ported to a Raspberry Pi – a computer with a completely different processor architecture and operating system Raspberry Pi usually runs on Linux and a different processor architecture]. Without changing a single line of code, I was able to compile a Windows-targeted project then run it on Linux and on a different processor architecture than this application was typically implemented on.
Quick development of a working demo/MVP to secure funding and move forward with a project
What investors want to know most when considering whether or not to fund a startup project or not is if there’s real interest in a certain product. They want to see tangible evidence that a given idea really has potential. An MVP or demo works exceptionally well as proof, since they help investors to better imagine how the final product will look and work like.
This gives them more confidence in the product and its potential for success, ultimately increasing the likelihood that they will agree to invest in the startup.
How can .NET be useful for building an MVP?
The sooner a working MVP is ready, the sooner talks with investors can begin. But how to build an (even simplified) application when short on staff and on a tight budget? For many startups, going with .NET turns out to be the best option.
One reason why developers like working with this framework so much is that .NET Core 6 supports frequent deployment. This type of deployment simplifies many things for the developers, such as bug fixing for example. As there’s less code to search and test, developers can more quickly find (and fix) code issues, making the process far less stressful.
Releasing smaller updates more frequently also means that development teams can quickly respond to the feedback they receive and thus share new features or improvements with their users increasingly often.
But what can really speed up their work is the vast number of libraries available inside the framework.
That way, developers don’t have to code every single element from scratch. Instead, they can use the ready libraries or reuse components they have already created as and when they are needed. And the less time they have to spend on redundant programming or testing, the faster the MVP can be deployed and shown to potential investors.
Minimize development costs, streamline the development process, and improve synchronization between teams
Do you know what also comes with all of the benefits we mentioned earlier? Much lower development costs – thanks to .NET, you can save money in quite a few places:
➡️ Programming languages, compilers, libraries, and everything else that make up the .NET platform are free to use.
➡️ Instead of developing everything from scratch, developers can use the pre-made libraries and components available inside .NET or reuse previously created components, significantly reducing development time.
➡️ Startups don’t need to hire separate teams to handle the front and back end of an application – instead, they can use C# (or other .NET-supported languages) across the entire project.
➡️ With Azure cloud services, startups don’t have to spend money on building, maintaining, and upgrading their on-premise infrastructures – they can rely instead on Azure’s infrastructure and only pay for the resources they actually use.
➡️ With .NET’s cross-platform capabilities, startups can build one application that will work on as many operating systems as required rather than limit themselves to only one.
But there’s one more aspect by which .NET can help lower both development time and costs. Namely, by massively improving collaboration between team members. As .NET is platform-independent, each developer can work on the application using their preferred operating system and then deploy it using the Azure cloud platform.
Stack Overflow Architecture Lead
With .NET Core 3.0, we can build an app and then run it on our Windows developers’ machines, design computers on Mac, and the enterprise cloud in Linux. We can build the application in one way, and that’s tremendous.
When adding all of those benefits together, the savings from using .NET technology can be quite significant. So for startups running on shoe-string budgets, going with this framework might be just what they need to develop high-quality applications and also reduce their development expenses.
Case studies of successful startups using .NET technology
As a last point, we’ll show you a few case studies of startups using .NET technologies for their projects.
Stack Overflow, a community-based Q&A website for developers, has used the .NET framework for its website and applications from the very beginning. In 2018 though, they decided to migrate their systems to the newer version, .NET Core, in order to take advantage of some of the features that weren’t available in the original framework.
And they very quickly noticed that moving to Core was the right decision:
- All Stack Overflow applications became much faster, enabling users to find the information they need more easily.
- The cross-platform capabilities of Core allow them to build and run one application on multiple operating systems (Windows, MacOS, and Linux).
- Their applications are now stored in several servers spread around the country, thanks to the Azure cloud infrastructure.
Testing applications has also become easier with .NET Core. Developers can now test applications in any way they want (method, server, or end-to-end) and quickly add updates or patch issues inside the application.
The Postage is a startup company whose goal is to help people store and organize documents for their families to use after they pass away. Their aim was to design a highly interactive and intuitive but also exceptionally secure application, as they knew they would be storing plenty of sensitive data.
The problem was that they had a very small development team but required a working demo as quickly as possible. .NET turned out to be the perfect solution for their needs.
With .NET applications such as Blazor and Xamarin, their development team was able to develop web, back end, and mobile versions of their application mainly using C#. The robust security features inside Azure Cloud Storage also came in handy, since all the data stored on their servers is encrypted, split into different buckets, and secured with 256-bit SSL technology.
Xamarin with reusable components meanwhile helped them quickly build highly customized Android and iOS mobile applications and release them on the respective app stores.
Chief Technology Officer
In the past, before Xamarin.Forms 5, I’d estimate we could have achieved about 70% code reuse across our Android and iOS apps. With Xamarin.Forms 5, I’d say we can hit 90% reuse.
BurnRate aims to help companies decide when and how they should scale their marketing, sales, and customer success teams by providing them with automatically updated revenue, demand, and headcount planning data. Using this information, companies can then better estimate how many deals they need to hit their targets and how many employees should be in each team.
When the CEO, Robert McLaws, began looking for technologies to build BurnRate, .NET Core had just gone live, so he decided it would be the perfect choice. For the backend, Azure SQL and Microsoft Restier were more than capable of handling the project’s queryable API needs. .NET Core’s capabilities also made his bespoke “People Algorithm” lightning fast and able to handle complex calculations from highly structured data in fractions of a second.
For the front end, meanwhile, McLaws’ team used Blazor, thanks to which they were able to build a working prototype in only a few weeks.
Founder and CEO
We can write unit tests in the same language we’re writing the back-end code. That’s huge! Why wouldn’t you want to build that way? It eliminated thousands of lines of code and was so intuitive for anybody that had spent even five seconds in the WPF world.
These are just a few examples of companies that decided to trust .NET for their projects – Microsoft has nearly 50 case studies on their website featuring companies of all sizes and from various industries.
We’ve looked at some of those customer stories in another of our articles, “9 examples of .NET applications”. Therefore, if you’re wondering how .NET can be used for games or healthcare apps, that article is a must-read.
Nowadays .NET can be considered as one of the best choices for startups. Easy to use, incredibly flexible, and full of features and libraries that growing businesses can use to make their development faster and more enjoyable. It’s almost like a Swiss army knife for web, desktop, and mobile development.
To make sure that .NET tools really will be the perfect technology for your startup needs, it’s best to first talk about your project needs with experienced .NET developers like our Inwedo team. We’ll take a look at the requirements, have a chat with you about your goals for the project, and then pick the best tools and technologies for your needs.
We can’t wait to see how .NET technology together with our developers’ experience can help your startup grow.