Calling all startups! AWS Startup Challenge is back!

Steven Loeb · September 14, 2012 · Short URL:

Four winners will be chosen, prizes include $50,000 cash

Amazon Web Services has launched its sixth annual Start-Up Challenge, to reward start-ups that are built on its cloud-computing platform, the company announced Friday.

There will be four winners selected in all, one each from the following categories: big data and high performance computing; gaming; consumer applications; and business applications. Each company will win $50,000 in both cash and AWS credits, along with Amazon Web Services support service and technical mentorship.

Each company that enters the contest will be judged on how well they implement and integrate AWS services, their originality and creativity, their probability of being able to sustain a business long-term, and how well the start-up fulfills a need in the marketplace.

“By allowing companies to deploy technology infrastructure with no capital expense and low pay-as-you-go pricing, and providing a technology platform with very broad functionality and a global footprint of datacenters, AWS is helping start-ups from around the world do what has traditionally been cost prohibitive in the past – start a company with worldwide customers on a shoestring budget and see whether you have something meaningful,” Adam Selipsky, Vice President, Amazon Web Services, said in a statement.

To be eligible, a company cannot have no more than $10 million in gross annual revenues and or $10 million in outside funding. The start-ups have to use AWS cloud computing solutions, such as Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2), Amazon DynamoDB, or Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

Entries have to be submitted no later than November 9, 2012. AWS will announce the semi-finalists in early December and then announce the finalists in early January. The finalists will be invited to attend the AWS Global Start-Up Challenge event in January in San Francisco. The start-ups will present to a panel of AWS executives, venture capitalists and an audience of technology industry leaders. Judges will include Andy Jassy, Charlie Bell, James Hamilton, Adam Selipsky, and Peter Krawiec.

Previous winners of the contest include Yieldex and Ooyala. Last year’s finalists were included Booshaka, Localytics and, eventual winner, Exeter, England-based Fantasy Shopper.

Following its win at last year’s content, Fantasy Shopper raised $3.3 million from Accel Partners and NEA.

“AWS provides an opportunity to start-ups that simply didn’t exist a few years ago. Today, it’s possible to build a platform that can scale globally with minimal cost and genuinely compete with the biggest companies. This opportunity enables entrepreneurs to dream big and that is a great thing,” Fantasy Shopper Co-Founder and CEO Chris Prescott said in a statement.

“Winning the AWS Start-Up Challenge was a fantastic moment for our team and a real vote of confidence to our platform and business model. The prize money and AWS credits helped immensely and furthermore, the competition helped us gain the attention of some of the world’s largest VC’s who chose to take part in our first round of funding in January this year.”

Cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services was launched in 2006. It currently powers hundreds of thousands of enterprise, government and startup customers businesses in 190 countries around the world.

Amazon was not available for comment. 

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Ooyala is a video technology company that provides an integrated platform enabling the delivery, management, and monetization of high quality video content. Focused on innovation and scalability, Ooyala is committed to providing the most comprehensive video solutions to companies worldwide.Ooyala is headquartered in Mountain View, Ca with sales operations in New York, NY and London, UK. 

"Ooyala" means cradle in Telugu, a Southern Indian language. We like the name because it demonstrates what we are doing -- cradling a new form of innovation.

Ooyala was founded in early 2007 by Sean Knapp, Belsasar Lepe and Bismarck Lepe - all former Google employees. While at Google, they worked on the development and launch of various monetization and content distribution products such as AdSense, AdWords and Google Web Search. After four years of engineering and product development at the biggest Internet company in the world, the three left Google to start Ooyala. Ooyala has raised over 10 million dollars in funding and has in excess of 5000 publishers using its syndication platform - Backlot. Ooyala's goal is to build a successful technology company that focuses on delivering the best video experience to video content providers, advertisers and most importantly consumers.