AWS Hot Startups – September 2016
Tina Barr is back with this month’s hot startups on AWS!
It’s officially fall so warm up that hot cider and check out this month’s great AWS-powered startups:
- Funding Circle – The leading online marketplace for business loans.
- Karhoo – A ride comparison app.
- nearbuy – Connecting customers and local merchants across India.
Funding Circle (UK)
Funding Circle is one of the world’s leading direct lending platforms for business loans, where people and organizations can invest in successful small businesses. The platform was established in 2010 by co-founders Samir Desai, James Meekings, and Andrew Mullinger as a direct response to the noncompetitive lending market that exists in the UK. Funding Circle’s goal was to create the infrastructure – similar to a stock exchange or bond market – where any investor could lend to small businesses. With Funding Circle, individuals, financial institutions, and even governments can lend to creditworthy small businesses using an online direct lending platform. Since its inception, Funding Circle has raised $300M in equity capital from the same investors that backed Facebook, Twitter, and Sky. The platform expanded to the US market in October 2013 and launched across Continental Europe in October 2015.
Funding Circle has given businesses the ability to apply online for loans much faster than they could through traditional routes due in part to the absence of high overhead branch costs and legacy IT issues. Their investors include more than 50,000 individuals, the Government-backed British Business Bank, the European Investment Bank, and many local councils and large financial institutions. To date, more than £1.4 billion has been lent through the platform to nearly 16,000 small businesses in the UK alone. Funding Circle’s growth has led independent experts to predict that it will see strong growth in the UK business lending market within a decade. The platform has also made a huge impact in the UK economy – boosting it by £2.7 billion, creating up to 40,000 new jobs, and helping to build more than 2,000 new homes.
As a regulated business, Funding Circle needs separate infrastructure in multiple geographies. AWS provides similar services across all of Funding Circle’s territories. They use the full AWS stack from the top, with Amazon Route 53 directing traffic across global Amazon EC2 instances, to data analytics with Amazon Redshift.
Check out this short video to learn more about how Funding Circle works!
Karhoo (New York)
Daniel Ishag, founder and CEO of Karhoo, found himself in a situation many of us have probably been in. He was in a hotel in California using an app to call a cab from one of the big on-demand services. The driver cancelled. Daniel tried three or four different companies and again, they all cancelled. The very next day he was booking a flight when he saw all of the ways in which travel companies clearly presented airline choices for travelers. Daniel realized that there was great potential to translate this to ground transportation – specifically with taxis and licensed private hire. Within 48 hours of this realization, he was on his way to Bombay to prototype the product.
Karhoo is the global cab comparison and booking app that provides passengers with more choices each time they book a ride. By connecting directly to the fleet dispatch system of established black cab, minicab, and executive car operators, the app allows passengers to choose the ride they want, at the right price with no surge pricing. The vendor-neutral platform also gives passengers the ability to pre-book their rides days or months in advance. With over 500,000 cars on the platform, Karhoo is changing the landscape of the on-demand transport industry.
In order to build a scalable business, Karhoo uses AWS to implement many independent integration projects, run an operation that is data-driven, and experiment with tools and technologies without committing to heavy costs. They utilize Amazon S3 for storage and Amazon EC2, Amazon Redshift, and Amazon RDS for operation. Karhoo also uses Amazon EMR, Amazon ElastiCache, and Amazon SES and is looking into future products such as a mobile device testing farm.
Check out Karhoo’s blog to keep up with their latest news!
nearbuy is India’s first hyper-local online platform that gives consumers and local merchants a place to discover and interact with each other. They help consumers find some of the best deals in food, beauty, health, hotels, and more in over 30 cities in India. Here’s how to use them:
- Explore options and deals at restaurants, spas, gyms, movies, hotels and more around you.
- Buy easily and securely, using credit/debit cards, net-banking, or wallets.
- Enjoy the service by simply showing your voucher on the nearbuy app (iOS and Android).
After continuously observing the amount of time people were spending on their mobile phones, six passionate individuals decided to build a product that allowed for all goods and services in India to be purchased online. nearbuy has been able to make the time gap between purchase and consumption almost instant, make experiences more relevant by offering them at the user’s current location, and allow services such as appointments and payments to be made from the app itself. The nearbuy team is currently charting a path to define how services can and will be bought online in India.
nearbuy chose AWS in order to reduce its time to market while aggressively scaling their operations. They leverage Amazon ECS heavily and were one of the few companies in the region running their entire production load on ECS. The container-based approach has not only helped nearbuy significantly reduce its infrastructure cost, but has also enabled them to implement CI+CD (Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment), which has reduced time to ship exponentially.
Stay connected to nearbuy by following them at https://medium.com/@nearbuy.