Amazon’s Startup-a-Thon

Hey founders, here is your chance to help one of your peers win $50,000 in cash!

It’s also a great opportunity to see what a promising startup looks like through Jeff Bezos‘ rose-colored glasses.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the business software unit of, is about to conclude the inaugural AWS Start-Up Challenge, its competition to anoint “the next hot startup.” Launched in September, the folks in Seattle have widdled down the field of entrants to 7 finalists. Now they’re asking the public to vote on which company should win the grand prize.

In addition to the cash, the victor will get another $50,000 in credits on AWS software, some marketing help, and most valuable, a “seed investment offer” from Amazon.

Since Amazon plans to hold the Challenge again next year, this isn’t just a chance to help one of your own win some dough. Amazon’s startup-a-thon is also a shot at some potentially valuable reconnaissance.

Deets on the 7 finalists follow. Check them out, and then cast your vote here. The AWS poll closes on Dec 6.

And for future reference, here are the Start-Up Challenge rules. Study them, and enter your startup next time.
OoyalaOoyala delivers a high quality interactive video experience with specific tools for content owners, advertisers and viewers. For consumers, Ooyala’s patent-pending system delivers HD-quality video over the Web with non-intrusive advertising. For advertisers, their ad system uses computer vision and machine learning to deliver targeted advertising. Ooyala is built on top of AWS’ utility computing services, Amazon EC2, S3, and SQS. Amazon EC2 is used in video development, processing and production while Amazon S3 is used for content delivery and back-up.

Brainscape.orgBrainscape, a product of the Neuroinformatics Research Group, is an engine for measuring the networks in the brain. Researchers are using Brainscape to discover new brain networks and measure the effects of new drugs in clinical trials. Soon, doctors will be using Brainscape to diagnose disease and aid in treatment. The team at the Neuroinformatics Research Group is building their tools entirely on Amazon Web Services to meet their computing and storage needs. operates a massively scalable live video platform serving about 500,000 video streams per day. Their custom server software, Python Media Server, has been written from scratch to perform optimally on lightweight Amazon EC2 instances. The end result is that live video publishers have a free, easy to use, and completely scalable platform for hosting any type of live video broadcast.
WeoGeoWeoGeo creates a one-stop marketplace for mapping using Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3. WeoGeo supplies surveyors, engineers, cartographers, and scientists with the ability to conveniently store, search, and exchange high-resolution CAD and GIS mapping products. Mappers easily list their data for sale and researchers quickly find the data they need.
Commerce360 uses advanced mathematics and statistical analysis in their ClickEquations product to optimize paid and organic search campaigns and deliver improved campaign efficiency and performance. ClickEquations utilizes Amazon S3, EC2 and SQS to store, process and queue data analysis and campaign management. provides quick and cheap website usability testing. Website owners can access a network of pre-screened testers who are articulate and observant and who meet specified demographics. Testers visit and navigate through a website and have their screen activity and verbal comments recorded for the website owner to review. UserTesting will use Mechanical Turk to find testers and use Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 to store and process the usability tests.

MileMeterMileMeter is an innovative insurance start-up that will offer “auto insurance buy the mile”. With MileMeter, drivers will be able to pre-pay auto insurance based on the number of odometer miles. Their utility pricing model will reward low-mileage drivers with fair and affordable insurance. Using Amazon Web Services, MileMeter will have a scalable infrastructure to expand as their business grows.

Now Case your vote here!