Building Our Startup MVP – Why We Chose AWS Amplify
All of US Financial chooses AWS Amplify to build their fintech startup
All of Us Financial is an online trading platform that offers retail investors an alternative to a traditional full-service brokerage. Built with the modern, individual investor in mind, All of Us offers service fee transparency and gives investors a portion of its commission revenue. The revenue All of Us gives back to their customers is generated from commission that banking institutions pay out to brokerages for referring trades.
The new All of Us platform, offered in both web browser form and a mobile app, incorporates collaborative features that encourage traders to exchange insights and strategies. Adding to the sense of community, investors can see their peers’ performance. Iain Clarke, the founder of All of Us, presented a webinar to describe the new service and why his team chose AWS serverless infrastructure and AWS Amplify to build their startup MVP.
Time to market: low-code solution for cloud backend infrastructure
One of the biggest challenges for new startups, says Clarke, is to “get to the market as quickly as possible before you run out of money, and prove that what you’re doing is right.” To accelerate time to market, All of Us needed a robust set of tools and services to build their application. Clarke describes their initial challenges of building a platform that inherently relies on a complex architecture, combining multiple streams of data that need to be quickly and efficiently fetched via different APIs, such as the news, price changes, and corporate actions. Clarke said they chose AWS Amplify because it offers a low-code solution with guided workflows to set up best-in-class backends; handling complexity that didn’t slow down development of their MVP.
Serverless on AWS and AWS Amplify
In addition to rapid prototyping and cost efficiency, the sensitive nature of financial trading meant that the team at All of Us needed a solution that provided maximum security for all transactions performed via their platform. They started looking for serverless solutions, since as Clarke recalls, “cloud-native was the only way to go for us.” The team didn’t see a point in spending months on the creation of their own backend infrastructure that they would need to secure and operate, when efficient, low-cost, proven cloud-native solutions were already available.
After researching various cloud-based solutions, the All of Us team chose to move forward with serverless on AWS and build with AWS Amplify, a set of tools and services that enable front-end web and mobile developers to develop secure, scalable full stack applications, powered by AWS. The choice suited the company’s customer-first approach: “I don’t care what color the servers are—I ultimately care about the customer experience,” relates Clarke.
The deciding factor to use Amplify was that it integrates Amazon Cognito which provides authentication, authorization, and user management. “One of the key elements for us, being in the financial services industry, is obviously security. Amazon Cognito handles our security steps—including single sign-on, two-factor authentication, and password resetting.” according to Clarke.
Any part of the back-end service setup may be performed via the Amplify Command Line Interface (CLI), which is one of the core tools of Amplify. Implementing these measures is quick and easy on the front end when you use Amplify libraries. Because they used Amplify, the All of Us proof-of-concept application that showed a working, secure log-in/log-out flow was ready in under one week.
AWS Amplify provides tools for the entire life cycle of an agile project, which consists of four distinct phases: development, testing, deployment, and collecting customer feedback. The faster a startup can go through these four stages, the quicker it can incorporate feedback into their product’s next version to adapt it to its customers’ needs.
Focus on differentiated business logic: key to startup success
Spending less time on the nitty-gritty of their back-end architecture meant the All of Us team could concentrate on the core product itself. The initial version of the All of Us iOS app, which came with all the basic features of the trading platform, was ready and available in the App Store in under two months.
The ability to experiment with new functionality, add and sunset features quickly, and understand what gets traction is key for startup success, according to Clarke. The company’s focus on its core advantages resulted in agility that was instrumental in bringing new users on to their platform.
AWS Amplify: designed to deliver value quickly
Amplify tools include: libraries, UI components, and a Command Line Interface (CLI). The tools may be used on their own or combined with other features. Amplify facilitates getting started with AWS for web and mobile app development because it is easy to use and flexible.
The Amplify libraries accelerate implementation of functionality like user authentication, data storage, analytics, and predictions, using AWS services for the back-end functionality. The Amplify UI components allow you to plug in the authentication and storage mechanisms without having to worry about the UI elements in your app. And the CLI simplifies the most common interactions with the back-end services that power your mobile app.
Amplify is easy to use because it provides a use-case centric, opinionated and declarative approach for building cloud backends. But that doesn’t mean you’re barred from access to the lower-level APIs. If you ever need to make some fine-grained adjustments yourself, you can use what AWS calls escape hatches—short-cuts to those low-level client instances that allow you to customize the specific API calls that are sent to the back-end services.
Learn more about All of Us Financial
Learn more about AWS Amplify
If you’d like to learn more about AWS Amplify, we recommend checking out the following resources: