Is this the best and worst time for online startups, or just the best?

This post is sponsored by Akamai. VentureBeat and Akamai are hosting a webinar today at 11am PST. For more info and to sign up, go here.

We are living in an exceptional time for online startups. The cost and resources required to launch an online company are at a significantly lower threshold than ever before. On the other hand, startups have a much higher threshold of performance required to be successful, particularly in the crowded (and some would argue noisy) media and entertainment space. This aside, startups need to prepare for hyper-growth in order to break out of the crowd, as we have seen with a number of startups such as Groupon, Zynga, Twitter, Foursquare and others.

These startups, which have become market leaders, are the poster children for what we’re talking about. Many other startups are experiencing the variety of factors that have come together to create a perfect-storm favoring hyper-growth opportunities for startups. These factors include a high penetration of broadband networks, smartphones, tablets and other connected devices; consumers coming of age that have grown up with the Internet; migration of businesses to online channels, and revenue opportunities for such businesses through advertising, subscriptions, virtual goods and other business models.

At the same time, this environment also creates new challenges since online startups today need to hit their stride very quickly. This applies to companies in almost any category including video, social, music, publishing, mobile and location based services, SaaS and others. They need to perform and deliver end-user experiences at a level of well established, even mature services from the outset.

It can be argued that startups need to deliver better experiences than established companies. Startups are actually in a more critical position than their established counterparts in some cases. This is because a sub-optimal experience due to poor network conditions or delivery of a startup’s websites is more likely to result in users abandoning such sites as they still need to be convinced of the offering and experience offered by the startups. For example, an outage on Facebook will bring back users after the outage has been restored, but an outage on a new service site may not be tolerated so easily.

The Internet was not designed for such rich media, streaming, social and interactive services that are being pioneered by online startups. Increasingly we’re finding that startups are partnering with us early and in many cases even before they launch their new services because scale, performance, and reliability of their websites is a requirement for them from the very start. We can offer such startups the requirements for a reliable internet performance independent of the amount of users: our advanced features and services such as accelerating dynamic content, security, and high performance video streaming.

Time will tell which of these startups will become the next mega brand, but from our vantage it certainly seems to be an exciting time to be an online startup.

We’re teaming up with VentureBeat for an in-depth discussion about how to build new media startups for growth. The discussion will be in the form of a webinar with an interactive audience Q&A portion, and it’s happening today at 11am PST. Lead VentureBeat writer Dean Takahashi will host the webinar, with participants including: Mark Barron, Principal Solutions Engineer at Akamai; Jacques Chamberland, CEO of Huge Monster; Tal Chalozin CTO & Co-Founder of Innovid; and Max Haot, CEO & Founder of Livestream. You can sign up here.