AWS EMEA Startup Loft Accelerator marks its one-year anniversary!
It has been an amazing first 12 months for our AWS Startup Loft Accelerator program. So far, we have helped over 275 early-stage (two years and under) companies with technical and business expertise, tailored training, and mentoring across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Every month, we welcome 30 new startups into the 10-week virtual program. They learn together and form a supportive community of innovative entrepreneurs.
All the startups gain access to two training tracks, one focused on business and one on technology. They also get one-to-one advice from a pool of 60 mentors and can attend group sessions with other founders. The new companies can also draw on a rich library of video assets and other content tailored to their specific business needs.
We’ve had over 2,400 applications and nearly 80 percent of them are at bootstrap or early stage of fund raising. AWS has also built a network of over 100 venture capitalists within the program who can request introductions to specific companies.
One interesting theme we’ve seen from the hundreds of companies that have joined the program is the role artificial intelligence (AI) is having in startups looking to disrupt established industries like healthcare. For too long, AI has been the preserve of large companies with big budgets and research labs. But our cohort of young companies is showing that cloud-based solutions can bring the best of AI to even the smallest businesses.
Let’s hear more from the companies themselves.
Novu.ai is using AWS for more accurate x-ray analysis
Novu.ai is a German startup created from a university research project. It uses AI to help radiologists analyze X-ray images faster and more efficiently when looking for potential signs of breast cancer. With the number of radiologists across Europe falling, delays in results, burnout, and misdiagnosis are increasing problems, as highlighted by the British Medical Journal in the UK.
Anything that can improve assessment accuracy has a dramatic impact on health outcomes. Some 80 percent of women who go through the pain of having a false positive result will disengage from future screening programs, with potentially devastating impacts on their health. Novu.ai uses AI to rapidly categorize X-rays as “normal,” “suspicious,” or ”with findings” so that radiologists can focus their time in the right place.
Dr. Sherief Emam, co-founder and chief executive officer of Novu.ai, appreciated the way the AWS Startup Loft Accelerator program helped bridge the gap between their engineering and programming skills to bring a working solution to market. “Only one percent of medical AI research projects ever make it to market,” says Emam. “There are so many entry barriers that engineers and developers are not aware of. The program really helped us overcome these by thinking about what our customers really want, about software as a service, and other licensing options.”
Novu.ai engineers also benefited from technical sessions. “It was great to get instant access to the right people within AWS,” says Emam. “The program gave us amazing one-on-one contact and we’re still on the Slack channel so that contact is continuing.”
Onehealthng.com using AI to speed patient support
Nigerian online pharmacist onehealthng.com uses AI to make sure patients can quickly contact the right consultant for medical advice. It hopes to extend and improve this service in the coming months.
Adeola Alli, founder and chief executive of onehealthng.com, appreciated the open and self-paced structure of the program. “I liked that you could just go in and select what you wanted,” says Alli. “I really liked the founders’ meetup. It was useful to hear from, and talk to, my peers. There was also great content on fund-raising strategies and product marketing.”
From the technical side, onehealthng.com lead engineer Samuel Tobi said sessions on optimizing processes and rapidly scaling systems were especially helpful. “We had one-on-one sessions with architects and AWS experts which were really useful,” he says. “The introduction to AI services helped us to work out our pipeline and how we can increase its use in the future.”
Adadot benefits from the EMEA Startup Loft Accelerator’s technical mentors
Adadot styles itself as a fitness tracker for development work. It measures collaboration, productivity, and wellbeing to help remote teams work better together.
Adadot appreciated working with AWS Startup Loft Accelerator because of its technical focus. “Lots of accelerators are all about fundraising but we didn’t need that,” says Adadot founder Alex Harris. “We’re a highly technical team, but it is very rare to get an incubator with that focus – our tech guys are often left on their own.”
Harris adds that the program brought a ”bit of sanity.” “It can be really isolating and lonely at a startup,” he says. “It was lovely to network with our peers but also to get more technical feedback on our product.”
In addition to technical and business advice and peer support, the program also provides the opportunity to join the AWS Activate program, which includes up to $25,000 in credits to spend on AWS services, a one-year free AWS Business Support subscription for up to $5,000, and access to the pre-built infrastructure templates.
Here’s to next year and more years to come!
We’d like to thank all the companies who have taken part this year. In 2023, we are hoping to make the courses even more tailored by streamlining companies by market. We will also be increasing the support activities we provide for companies which do not make it through the selection process.
Although the bulk of the program will remain virtual, we’re really excited to start in-person networking events in 2023, so startups joining the program could enjoy our unique community in real life.