AWS Startups Blog

Why GoPro is Migrating Their Online Video Hosting Services to Amazon ECS

To say that GoPro processes a lot of content and video is an understatement. As one of the world’s most versatile camera-makers (and as of late 2016, an online video host as well), GoPro now provides scores of enthusiastic customers with the ability to upload their footage to the cloud from their HERO5 or computer, create videos on the go, manage their drones, and much more.

To put that in context, Zaven Boni, a DevOps Manager for GoPro, recently explained to a room full of entrepreneurs at the AWS Startup Loft in San Francisco that GoPro Plus—the name of their online video hosting service—processes hundreds of thousands of API requests per minute; at peak times, it can even top half a million per minute. To keep their services running smoothly, Boni said GoPro uses AWS’s ECS cluster and that they were currently in the process of migrating all of their services over to AWS to run as containerized microservices. Watch the video to see how they did it and all their lessons learned.

Startups on Air: On the Ground in San Francisco

Startups on AirThere’s nothing like rolling through the streets of San Francisco in a Jaguar F-Type with Katy Perry blaring through the speakers, as Mackenzie Kosut, our resident startup evangelist, recently discovered on a trip to San Francisco. Kosut was in town to chat with big data analysis company Periscope Data, customer data platform Segment, and peer-to-peer car sharing service Turo—who supplied the aforementioned sweet ride—for the latest episodes of his video series Startups on Air.

With 125, 175, and 160 employees, respectively, Periscope Data, Segment, and Turo are all growing companies with some similar startup aesthetics (work anniversary balloons abound in their offices). But each, as you can see in the videos below, is working on a unique problem and trying to keep their customers happy.


Drumroll please: The AWS Pop-up Loft London is back!

We are extremely excited to welcome the AWS Pop-up Loft back to London. From Sept. 18 to 29, the Loft—newly located in the heart of Shoreditch—will offer startups and AWS enthusiasts an opportunity to talk to AWS technical experts, attend training workshops, participate in networking events, and enjoy our onsite co-working facilities.

What is the AWS Pop-up Loft?

The Loft is a community space where visitors have free access to a range of activities and events geared towards entrepreneurs, developers, and technical experts. These include hands-on workshops, technical talks, and presentations from AWS partners and customers. At the Loft, attendees wil be able to engage with some our most knowledgeable experts and receive technical guidance from AWS Solutions Architects, evangelists, and AWS thought leaders. We also know how to throw a mean party (or two)!

What progammes will be available?

  • The Ask an Architect Bar: If you or your team is looking for technical advice on anything AWS related, then book a 30-minute session with an AWS Solutions Architect and ask questions to your heart’s content. Walk-ins are welcome; just check with the welcome team on the day you stop by.
  • FinTech Showcase: As the premier global hub for FinTech innovation, London is front and centre when it comes to hosting innovative startups who are changing the conventions of the banking industry. AWS customers Starling Bank, Tail and TransferWise will talk about improving the customer experience with open APIs and will also share views on the future challenges and opportunities resulting from new 2018 regulations like PSD2 .
  • (more…)

The changing rules for startups


Charles Hudson, of Precursor Ventures, talks about the new “rules” for startups.

Any entrepreneur hoping to raise venture capital funding or build a successful business must launch their company in San Francisco or New York. Employees should work in the same office, to better encourage collaboration. VCs are the best source of capital for entrepreneurs looking to raise money.

Such tenets have long been touted as the best way to build a successful startup. But according to venture capitalist Charles Hudson, a partner at Precursor Ventures, such playbook tactics have gotten stale. As he recently told a roomful of attendees at the AWS Startup Day in San Francisco, technological and financial advancements have finally reached a point where the old rules should no longer be treated as gospel. “Never has there been a better time to break the mold and think differently,” he said.

In particular, Hudson believes three main rules have changed for startups in recent years. First, he disagrees with the notion that startups must be based out of San Francisco or New York. Noting that he has portfolio companies in Tampa, Baltimore, and Toronto, Hudson thinks that video conferencing and chat technology have finally reached the point where they are good enough to actively sustain remote and distributed offices. “Being in a central office is a crutch for companies,” he said.


How Chargifi is using AWS IoT to Deploy Enterprise Wireless Charging Hardware at Scale

Guest post by Tom Gregorio, Head of Product at Chargifi

Chargifi and AWS

Founded in 2013, Chargifi is a 21st-century solution to power delivery. We have developed and patented the market-leading cloud management platform that enables the mass deployment and monetisation of wireless charging; transforming wireless charging into a service that adds real value for businesses.

Chargifi delivers power to guests in public venues through our smart wireless charging service. By connecting each wireless charging spot to the cloud, we can help venues understand where, when and how their guests charge, and derive a return on investment from that activity. For larger enterprise clients in the hospitality, corporate, food & beverage, entertainment, and travel spaces, deploying electronic hardware infrastructure at scale without analytics and a service layer simply isn’t an option.

Starting With AWS

In 2014, we were connected to AWS through a Techstars program for connected IoT devices in New York City.  Our whole development team had prior experience with AWS, so the choice to use them to quickly get our wireless charging management platform up and running was easy. AWS’ rich ecosystem of tools and services saves us valuable time and allows us to quickly prototype new workflows with zero upfront hardware cost. We rely on AWS for a number of important services.


Global Challenges, Startup Solutions at StartupFest 2017

Guest Post by Jose Rodriguez Martinez, SBDM Benelux & Iberia

AWS is proud to once again be sponsoring StartupFest Europe, which will take place September 25-28 in the Netherlands. Presented by the national Dutch startup program StartupDelta2020, this nationwide week of events is designed to help entrepreneurs share transformational ideas and learn about the innovation happening within the European startup eco-system.

With the sixth largest economy in Europe, the Netherlands has long been a startup nation. Dutch startup pioneers include well-known companies like, TomTom and more recently, WeTransfer. Popular incubators like Startupbootcamp and Rockstart also play an important role in helping startups attract funding. (more…)

Why avatars are usually awful…and how Snappr fixed it

Guest post by Matt Schiller, Co-founder & CEO, Snappr

snappr photo session

Avatars and profile pictures are everywhere on the web. But aside from being pretty, they serve two important functions. First off, they’re easier than written names for the human eye to identify and secondly, they take up less real estate on cluttered screens. Getting users to upload an avatar, however, is tricky; even advanced platforms like LinkedIn struggle with an abundance of picture-less accounts.

Getting users to upload a good profile picture, where the face isn’t too obscured, is even more difficult. Platform designers face the additional challenge of needing to consider what dozens—if not hundreds or thousands–of profiles will look like when laid out side by side. For something as individualistic as Facebook, mismatched profile pictures are fine. But for commercial uses, such as needing to look at service providers side by side, it’s not ideal.

Given these considerations, the key to creating a good avatar comes down to the cropping. But if you suggest to your users that they do their own cropping, you are unlikely to receive much of a response. The next best thing is to incorporate a self-service cropping tool into your GUI, but that adds additional time to setting up an account and can be annoying for users. As a photography platform, we wanted to solve this issue once and for all for users. Our solution was to crop the pictures for our users, but not manually. Rather, we used robots! (more…)

Use Spot Instance pricing for your video encoding workflows with Bitmovin Containerized Encoding

Guest Post by Daniel Hoelbling-Inzko, Solution Architect, Bitmovin

Video encoding can be a time-consuming proposition. Every creative professional who has ever fallen asleep while exporting their Premiere or Final Cut master knows this. When encoding a video for adaptive bitrate streaming, most people do essentially the same thing: start ffmpeg and wait for it to finish churning through the bits.

Depending on your cost consciousness (and patience), you can choose to use your own laptop or something more appropriate, like a really beefy 64-core server that makes your infrastructure folks salivate and your finance department ask pointed questions.

To avoid the latter, the obvious solution is to move to the cloud and take advantage of the AWS infrastructure without any upfront capital investment. Offloading the capital investment to AWS, though, doesn’t come free. AWS needs to charge for running and maintaining the infrastructure so you don’t have to do it.

What if there was a way to cut these AWS costs by as much as 80% for video encoding workflows? Sounds too good to be true?

To deliver on their promise of almost infinite scalability, AWS needs to have insane amounts of idle resources available around the globe, just in case someone decides to call them up and spin up a few thousand instances. To offset some of this operational cost, AWS pioneered the so-called Spot Instance market. (more…)

Analytics is Simpler Than You Think with Metabase

Guest post by Sameer Al-Sakran, CEO, Metabase

If you spend any time reading on the internet, you’ve probably noticed that the subjects of analytics and business intelligence tend to take on very complex overtones. Big data analytics. Stream processing. Real-time analytics. Machine learning. Machine learning to learn your machine learning parameters. Meanwhile, everyone else’s engineering blogs are giving you all the details about how they burned through a couple hundred grand or more in engineering time to set up some view counters on their home page. But sometimes you just want to pull some data out of a database. Maybe you want to let others in your company do so as well. Maybe you even want them to be able to make a chart and pass it around. For all the talk of “company transformation,” expensive conference booths, and six- or seven-figure sticker shock, at its heart analytics can be fairly simple and incremental.

Enter Metabase.


Getting started with AWS cost management

Post by Erin Carlson and Andy Elmhorst, AWS

After you have created your first AWS account and applied security best practices, you may next want to start tracking your AWS costs so that you can stay within your budget. With AWS, you only pay for what you use, which results in a variable cost model, much like a utility bill. The more you use, the more you pay, and the less you use, the less you pay. Conversely, if you decide to turn an AWS Cloud resource off, you stop paying for it. Though this cost model can mean significant infrastructure cost savings for your organization, it also might require you to think differently about architecting, managing, and operating in your AWS environment. In this blog post, we introduce you to AWS cost management tools that can help you get started with managing your AWS-related costs. (more…)