Our February gift of love — free tools for startups

laptop on a worktable with tools

We’re declaring it “Free February” at the LaunchPad, and our gift to you is compiling a list of free tools for startups, starting with the Techstars Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, an online educational resource, filled with foundational content from the prestigious Techstars global accelerator program. The Techstars Entrepreneur’s Toolkit includes topics such as:

  • Build Your Lean Canvas
  • Check Your Progress
  • Get More Done
  • Give Your Elevator Pitch
  • Grow Your Business
  • Make Progress
  • Master Your Pitch
  • Understand Your Customers
  • 21 Ways to Blow Up Your Company
  • Engage with Mentors
  • Brand Your Business
  • And more

The LaunchPad team at Syracuse University Libraries has also crowdsourced a handy list of free tools and platforms that could be helpful for student startups.  Many of these are completely free, while others have a flexible freemium model, or a scale up fee structure when you hit higher volume usage, at which point you will also have funding and revenue to move beyond free services.

Are you using other free tools?  We’d love to hear about them.  Send us an e-mail, LaunchPad@syr.edu, and we will continue to add to this list.

Accounting and Finance:

  • Adminsoft, free, ad-supported accounting software
  • Money Manager Ex, open-source, full-featured financial software
  • SlickPie, small business/startup accounting software
  • Wave,  financial/accounting/payment/invoicing software
  • Zipbooks, accounting and online invoicing

Cloud (online) Storage:

Communications and Conferencing:

  • ezTalk, video/audio/IM chat
  • FreeConferenceCall, free HD audio/video/screen conferencing and sharing with up to 1000 participants
  • Google Hangouts, online meetings with Google accounts
  • GoToMeeting, online meetings and web conferencing
  • Grammarly, proofreading and plagiarism checker
  • Hunter: Chrome extension to find email addresses from a webpage
  • Join.me, screen sharing, online meetings, team collaboration
  • RocketReach, Find contact information from a name
  • Skype, full-featured online meetings software
  • TeamViewer, remote computer access software
  • UberConference, web conferencing and online meetings
  • WebEx (Cisco), enterprise video conferencing and online meetings/webinars
  • Whereby, free, high-quality video conferencing
  • Zoom, online meetings software


  • Affinity, a creative suite for graphic design, photo editing, publishing
  • Beautiful.ai, an AI-powered pitch deck designer
  • Canva, a simple-to-use design tool for easy slide, logo, social post (and more) creation
  • FlatIcon, a source for icons for pitch decks, websites, etc.
  • Gravit, a full-featured vector design tool
  • Inkscape, an online replacement for Illustrator.
  • Pexels, free stock photos
  • Pixabay, free stock photos
  • Pixlr Editor, free online Photoshop clone.
  • Sketch, Full-spectrum design toolkit.
  • Unsplash, free stock photos
  • Vectr, 2D vector creator.

Digital Content, Marketing and Social Media:

  • Bensound, royalty-free music
  • Brandmark, a machine learning-based logo creator
  • Buffer, social media scheduling tool
  • Feedly, news and content aggregator around specific topics and influencers
  • Hootsuite, an easy social media management tool
  • Hubspot, a marketing, sales, and CRM management software platform that is especially good for startups that are scaling
  • Mailchimp, an easy to use email marketing platform.
  • Medium, blog/publication website
  • Namelix, a machine learning-based company name creator
  • SEMRush, a SEO tool for auditing and optimizing social media and digital content
  • Tepfu, a marketing agency platform for startups and companies
  • Tube Buddy, a management and optimization tool  for YouTube creators

Forms and Data:

  • Doodle, schedule meetings online
  • Google Data Studio, a dashboard and report creator for data
  • Google Formsa way to quickly create forms for surveys, events, and more.
  • Qualtrics, an only tool for surveys, research, customer discovery, and questionnaires that can capture customer, product, and brand insights
  • Surveymonkey, online survey tool
  • Typeform, an interactive form building tool, without code.


  • AngelList, a search platform for potential investors, early hires and team members
  • F6S, a tool to find and apply to accelerators (including Techstars), along with other startup resources
  • FounderSuite, a CRM for raising investment capital

Management and Operations:

  • Acuity, an online appointment scheduling tool
  • AirTable, a flexible company/personal management platform, similar to Excel, but more extensible
  • Asana, a project management tool
  • Boomerang for Gmail, a way to schedule sending email reminders as an extension for Gmail
  • Calendly, a way to set up a central place to book meetings
  • Evernote, a note-management app that comes with a Chrome extension to quickly save web content to notes
  • Fundable, a platform to help founders raise capital from investors, customers, and friends
  • Gust, a suite of tools that can help ventures interested in incorporating (as a Delaware C-Corp), and getting access to simple legal documents as reference points for speaking with professional counsel
  • Gusto, a payroll, HR, and benefits automation platform for startup
  • Notion, a modular platform that can be used for early-stage venture management
  • Slack, a centralized team communication platform
  • Trello, an easy to use visual management tool to track tasks, that is good for small teams and early-stage startups
  • Zapier, a way to quickly connect apps and allow them to work together to automate tasks


  • Bitly, a link shortener that can also create custom URLs
  • Envoy, an open-source edge and service proxy, designed for cloud-native applications
  • Google Trends, trend search with interest level graphs
  • Pomodoro Timer, a tool to stage work in time increments to work more effectively, for longer
  • Thingiverse, 3d models for 3d printing
  • TinyURL, URL shortener

Websites and E-Commerce: