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Startups urged to go to the cloud

By: - Reporter / @neltayao
/ 05:02 AM October 30, 2020
Gaurav Arora

Gaurav Arora

Agile and experimental.

These two traits, which are characteristic of startups, are what they can rely on to help them recover from the heavy impact of the pandemic on their businesses, says a leading cloud solution provider.

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“Staying agile and experimental are key capabilities needed in any business’ survival toolkit now. Luckily, the natural inclination for most of the startups is to lean in to a problem and figure out new ways to solve it,” says Gaurav Arora, head of Startup Ecosystem, APAC at Amazon Web Services (AWS). “In the face of a challenge, startups have an incredible capacity to adapt quickly to market changes, try out new ideas, and think on their feet to identify new revenue streams, even when the world around them is changing.”

The right tech, of course, remains a key factor in a startup’s adaptability—and that’s where using the cloud, according to Arora, comes in handy. “The great thing about the cloud is that it encourages experimentation,” he says. “Because it’s so cost-effective, startups can easily run tests and experiment without significant upfront investment.”

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What AWS offers specifically to its startup customers is Activate, which helps such enterprises build, launch, and scale their business ideas quickly on the AWS Cloud. The program also offers startups benefits suited to their needs, which include technical support, training and AWS credits.

These credits, says Paul Chen, head of solutions architect, AWS Asean, basically allow startups access to free tools and resources to help them get started quickly on AWS, no matter their industry, and even at the earliest stages of their development. They can choose which specific capabilities they need for their respective environments, and then use their credits to avail themselves of these at no cost.

“Over the past year alone, Amazon has provided more than $1 billion in credits through the AWS Activate program to help startups grow and scale their businesses, and a total of more than $3.5 billion in credits to more than 140,000 startups globally, over the seven-year life span of the Activate program,” Arora adds.

AWS Activate also comes in two different packages, to cater to startups at every stage: the AWS Activate Portfolio, designed for startups associated with a venture capital firm, accelerator, incubator, or other startup-enabling organization that is an AWS Activate Provider; and the Founders membership package, for self-funded or bootstrapped startups that have not previously received AWS Activate benefits.

Recently, AWS also launched AWS Activate Console, which provides further recommendations to startups on what services they should use to enhance performance, improve security, and optimize costs. Here in the Philippines, a AWS customer that availed itself of the company’s startup services early on is Beauty MNL, the online beauty, health, and wellness products marketplace. According to Arora, BeautyMNL differentiated itself from other tech industries when it launched six years ago by leveraging serverless cloud technologies offered by AWS in order to reliably manage the scale of its operations, all of which are done in-house.

“Today, it continues to set the health and beauty trends for Filipinos with over 45,000 products from the best global and local brands and the largest database of customers reviews for beauty and wellness,” Arora says. “BeautyMNL is just getting started in terms of redefining what beauty and wellness means to every Filipino woman, and with AWS as its partner, they can continue to dream big for what a homegrown tech startup can actually achieve.”

And it’s this kind of success that AWS wants to offer more Filipino startups—especially amid this pandemic because, according to Arora, it is simply the right thing to do for the country’s social and economic development.

“Innovation-driven by nature, startups are best known for the ability to pivot quickly to meet society’s changing needs, and the COVID-19 pandemic has proven this to be true yet again,” he says. “Startups solve problems that have never been solved before, and address challenging structural gaps in day-to-day life. At AWS, we like to say that we are builders – it’s in our DNA. We believe in supporting other builders as they invent new solutions to old problems.“ —CONTRIBUTED

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TAGS: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Gaurav Arora
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