Born in the Cloud: AWS Start-up Challenge

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) has issued a call for entries to the fourth annual Start-Up Challenge, a contest to recognize innovative start-ups built atop Amazon’s cloud computing platform. The contest provides with a chance to earn AWS service credits and gain attention for their technology, while spotlighting the Amazon cloud’s potential as a launchpad for start-ups.

This year, regional winners will be named for the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe. Regional semi-finalists will each receive $2,500 in AWS service credits, while global finalists will receive $10,000 in AWS service credits and a trip to Palo Alto for the final judging and awards ceremony. The global grand prize winner will be awarded $50,000  cash, another $50,000 in AWS service credits, premium support services and technical mentoring from Amazon Web Services for one year  – as well as a possible investment offer from Amazon.

New Companies Can Scale Quickly
“Traditionally, start-ups and entrepreneurs have been constrained by the availability of resources and infrastructure to develop their products and services. said Adam Selipsky, Vice President of Amazon Web Services. “Since launching more than four years ago, AWS has enabled hundreds of thousands of companies in more than 190 countries to free up their precious engineering resources to focus on work that truly differentiates their businesses.”

“With AWS, developers and companies of all sizes can tap into critical resources such as storage, compute, database and Content Delivery Network (CDN) functionality with no up-front investment or long-term commitments,” he added. “This has helped level the playing field for many start-ups competing in the global marketplace.”

AWS Start-Up Challenge contestants will be evaluated on their implementation of AWS solutions; originality and creativity of the business; likelihood of long-term success and scalability; and how well the business addresses a need in the marketplace. In December, finalists will present their businesses to a panel of AWS executives, venture capitalists and an audience of technology industry leaders. The final event in Palo Alto, will include presentations from all finalists and awards ceremony, and will be streamed live worldwide.

Big Boost for Previous Winners
The Amazon challenge has provided a big break for several past winners. “The AWS Start-Up Challenge literally saved our business,” said Chris Gay, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MileMeter, an innovative start-up that sells car insurance by-the-mile, and finalist of the 2007 AWS Start-Up Challenge. “After sending out a notice to all of my shareholders that MileMeter was shutting down, I got a call from Amazon Web Services informing me that out of 900 promising start-ups, we were one of the finalists for the first AWS Start-Up Challenge. Since that time, AWS has enabled our business to grow, thrive and continue to focus on what’s truly important for our customers, helping them save money on car insurance.”

“Winning the AWS Start-Up Challenge was a watershed for GoodData,” said Roman Stanek, CEO and Founder of GoodData. “It helped validate the cloud as a technically feasible and economically disruptive way to deliver Business Intelligence; and exposed us to the rich and diverse community of AWS start-ups and developers. We were born in the cloud – similar to a lot of other cloud companies, we couldn’t have built our business without AWS.”

All qualified contestants will receive $25 (USD) in AWS service credits to kick-start the process of building their businesses on AWS. Visit Start-UP Challenge page for a complete description of the prizes, eligibility requirements and contest rules.

About the Author

Colleen Miller is a journalist and social media specialist. She has more than two decades of writing and editing experience, with her most recent work dedicated to the online space. Colleen covers the data center industry, including topics such as modular, cloud and storage/big data.

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  1. robert

    We got a pretty sour impression about this contest. In our experience, both years we applied, they didn't connected even ONCE to our submitted website. Also, they didn't visit the documentation page we prepared for the submission (both years). We didn't expect to win, but at least a couple visits to the website. Seems all they do at best is read the 10 'investor-like' answers you have to provide online. At worst maybe they want to harvest cheap innovative stuff.