Amazon Aims to Attract More Startups to Its Cloud With AWS Activate

Already viewed as a top cloud computing platform for technology startups, Amazon Web Services is trying to bring more entrepreneurs into its fold with a program of promotional credits, training, and forums geared for nascent businesses.

“Startups will forever be a very important customer segment of AWS,” says Amazon CTO Werner Vogels in a blog post this morning announcing AWS Activate. “They were among our first customers and along the way some amazing businesses have been built by these startups.”

Well-known AWS startup companies include AirBnB, Pinterest, Dropbox, and Spotify.



“Startups operate in a world of high uncertainty and limited capital, so an elastic and on-demand infrastructure at low and variable cost aligns very naturally with their needs,” Vogels says. “By reducing the cost of failure and democratizing access to infrastructure, the cloud has enabled more startups to build, experiment, and scale.”

Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are in a fierce competition to attract more startups to their platforms. Earlier this year, Microsoft united several of its startup programs under the Microsoft Ventures banner, including BizSpark, which provides three years of access to the software giant’s platforms (including Windows Azure) tools, and training; startup accelerators; and seed funding.

Amazon says AWS Activate is a “structured package of benefits” that addresses “the common areas startups have requested support.”

Some of these benefits were already available, such as access to the AWS Free Usage Tier, which provides 12 months of free, limited access to Elastic Compute Cloud, Simple Storage Service, and many other Web services. AWS Activate also provides up to a year of AWS Support, promotional credit that can be redeemed for Web services, technical training, access to a Startup Forum for networking with developers and entrepreneurs using the AWS platform globally, and offers from third-party providers such as Hosted Chef Enterprise from Opscode.

AWS Activate is free to join. The benefits are only available to new AWS customers. The most generous benefits are available through a Portfolio Package that AWS makes available to startup accelerators and seed funds.

Vogels says AWS Activate will accelerate the global growth of tech startups.

“What’s exciting to me is infrastructure is no longer a bottleneck to innovation,” he says. “The democratization of infrastructure means that an internet startup in Bangalore or Sao Paulo or Manila has access to the same compute power as; the same durability as Dropbox; the same scalability as Airbnb; the same global footprint as Netflix. The result is we’re beginning to see more and more startups grow up in more places.”

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