Livemocha Loves AWS in Brazil: Speeds Go from 1999 to 2011

One Seattle-area company is more than a little happy about Amazon Web Services opening a new South American computing region: Livemocha, an online language-learning service that counts about a quarter of its more than 11 million members in Brazil alone.

Livemocha runs its Web-based software on AWS, but previously, the closest region for South American markets was still in the U.S. And that meant a distinct difference in quality. The more static elements of the site, like logos and other images, were hosted locally. But the main Web experience—the core of Livemocha’s product—had to make too many hops to get to the end user.

“When I’m in Brazil and I’m using Livemocha, it’s kind of painful in comparison to what it’s like in the U.S.,” CEO Michael Schutzler says. “It’s not terrible, but … it’s like the difference between 1999 and 2011.”

So when the AWS Sao Paulo region started coming to fruition, “We were like, ‘Yes! Hallelujah,'” Schutzler says. “Because if we’re doing really well in Brazil now—serving from, you know, Dallas—it’s just going to be awesome for Brazilians using Livemocha.”

Livemocha added a Brazilian investor earlier this year, and is looking to the fast-growing country as a possible template for how to expand into other foreign territories in the future. That comes as the company has significantly grown its user base by branching out from consumers and into professional markets, including corporate users, and people in the public-sector sector who are seeking language lessons.

“There are a lot of companies that are starting to get serious about Brazil now, and kind of waking up to the fact that there are 200 million people there,” Schutlzer says. “And, hey, they have a middle class with disposable income. Maybe we should pay attention to that.”

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