Would you invest in an SOA startup today?

Is it still possible to have entrepreneurial stirrings in the SOA space?

As noted here in recent posts, there's concern about the dearth of enterprise IT startups, to the point that Intel and other bigwigs are putting money out there to spark things up.

Maybe we already have enough SOA companies

The prime time for the "SOA" startup probably came and went a few years back, as many of the original class of 2005 have been swept up by the larger vendors. Nowadays, venture capital funding and innovative zeal seems directed at social networking, iPhone, and cloud startups.

So, just to see if there is some entrepreneurial spirit left in the SOA segment of the world, Peter Schooff at ebizQ posted the question (per my suggestion): "Would You Invest Money Today in a Startup That Was Offering an SOA Solution?"

The consensus seems to be mixed. Michael Poulin, for example, says a startup offering purely technical solutions would be a no-go. However, if there is a business application, "certainly yes; SOA is the future business model, so I do not have doubts with this matter." Avi Rosenthal appeared to echo this sentiment, noting that an ESB solution would not get his money. However, an SOA-based solution with business value would be worth considering.

Peter Evans-Greenwood, on the other hand, gave an emphatic "no," observing that "there's more than enough SOA-based technology and solutions on market (governance, BPM/SOA frameworks etc) which is under utilized. We don't need more, we need to understand how to get the value of of what we've already got."

Mike Kavis says he works for a startup that bases its offering (point of sale content aggregator) on a service oriented architecture. "For us, SOA is a no brainer. Also, our data requirements sometimes dictate where our data physically resides (public cloud, private cloud, or client data center). Again, SOA is the answer."

My own observation is that a company offering SOA support from the cloud is worth looking at. Many companies are still tangled in spaghetti architecture, and don't have the time or resources to undertake the scale of transformation required to service orient. As Chris Harding (Open Group) says, maybe it's time for "SOA as a Service."

Readers, if you had money to invest in a startup, would you consider an SOA-focused provider?