Smart Aussie start-ups using the cloud to make their way
Gardiner says AWS offers a programme named Activate which provides AWS credits, engineering support, and any commercial or technical tools the cloud giant can provide and which a startup may need, in order to scale. AWS will also help startups with introductions and partnerships with venture capitalists, co-working spaces and other important and influential relationships. “We look at all start-ups,” Gardiner says, “but as well as breadth, we want to find depth, and find the best.” The easiest metric is simply who has backed a startup and what programme it may already be in. “If they’re backed by AirTree, for example, then they’re amazing,” Gardiner said. “If they’re part of StartMate or TechStars, two awesome accelerators, then we know they’re good but maybe at an earlier stage.” The Activate programme doesn’t have any lock-in but is run with a long-term philosophy in mind. AWS offers free credits, engineering support and product help to a startup when it doesn’t have much time or money. It makes a huge difference to a startup for the first year or so it is in existence if it is not worried about infrastructure cost. Then, AWS thinks, those startups have trust for AWS’ platform and services and have a developed product and will be an AWS customer for years and decades, not simply a few quarters. This said, the programme is a three-year offering, and the credits have a cap of around two years. During that time, Gardiner says, a start-up will either break even or be making profitable sales so the program has served its course and then moves onto support by AWS’ account management team. “The programme is there to start up the start-ups,” he says. As to Australia and New Zealand, specifically, Gardiner says this region is “probably the fastest-growing startup ecosystem in the world”.