High-Growth Innovation Powered by Technology
Meet the startups that cut the edges of what technology can do and fly into innovation space in their solution-powered rocketships.
Most startups want to achieve the title of ‘high-growth’. It’s a moniker that defines their stratospheric growth within their sector. That labels them as a disruptor and change maker. And that paints them as innovative and interesting—as the kind of company that investors pay attention to and customers want to adopt. Fast-paced, exciting and sitting right on the very edges of what technology can do, these startups ignore the expected in favor of what can be, what might be. They are the next Etsy, Netflix, Airbnb, Uber and Calm, just to name a few high-growth startups that took the globe by storm.
Which is exactly what Signal AI, Synthesia and TrueLayer—all winners in the Rocketship category of the AWS Software Startups Awards—have done. These high-growth startups have applied the potential of technology to the needs of their industry and created solutions and platforms that are transforming how consumers and enterprises engage, transact and analyze. Signal AI won Gold, Synthesia won Silver and TrueLayer walked away with Bronze in an award ceremony that recognized their use of innovative technology solutions and AWS tools to achieve high-growth standards.
Gold medallist Signal AI started life in a garage and now has offices in London, New York, and Hong Kong
Describing itself as a ‘decision augmentation company’, Signal AI takes data and applies machine learning (ML) to create actionable insights for 40% of Fortune 500 companies. Today, Deloitte, Bank of America and Google use the platform for real-time market and media intelligence to uncover trends, risks and opportunities while supporting critical decision-making.
“We now have more than 700 customers around the world and employ more than 200 people,” says Luca Grulla, CTO of Signal AI. “We’ve raised just over $100 million in funding so far, and have been named one of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies in the Sunday Times Tech Track.”
“We drove the business forward by being ahead of demand, using a platform mindset and moving at pace.” – Luca Grulla, CTO of Signal AI.
Signal AI runs thousands of ML models over millions of documents every day at impressive speeds—the P90 of document enrichment latency is less than 30 seconds. Translated into layman’s terms, that’s the ability to sequence enough documents at a fast enough pace to maximize data output without compromising on quality or information value. The company has gained impressive ground since its inception, but the road to success hasn’t been without challenges. As Grulla points out, “Being disciplined in identifying the most impactful market or use cases to go after is always challenging for scale-ups. When building our business to business (B2B) platform, we had to always be ahead of the demand curve and drive the business forward using a platform mindset and moving at pace.”
The company has been flexing AWS capabilities to build a platform that ingests and enriches documents at scale using vertical scaling with diverse Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance families and Amazon Aurora and vertical scaling patterns such as autoscaling and shading. The different storage options provided by AWS allow for Signal AI to leverage the storage it needs on demand with a mix of Amazon Aurora, Amazon ElastiCache and Amazon DynamoDB to handle low-latency lookup and data lakes built on top of Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
“AWS has been critical to our success, allowing us to scale quickly and experiment with different models and datasets,” says Grulla. “The multiple data analytics tools available in AWS allow us to maximize the value of our data and to support both our product and corporate data needs.”
It’s easy to see why this high-growth startup won Gold in the AWS Awards, especially as the team and leadership are passionate about the work that they do and the ways in which they can use technology to achieve their goals. When asked what piece of advice he would give to any other entrepreneur setting out on the high-growth road, Grulla said: “Find ways to experiment and learn what the market needs and then be laser-focused on establishing your position and market differentiation.”
In just five years, Silver winner Synthesia has created the world’s largest AI video platform
“Today, consumers expect video and audio content, and they take that preference with them to work, so we created a solution where anyone can generate video directly from their browser to meet this rapid demand for scalable content creation solutions,” says Victor Riparbelli, CEO and co-founder of Synthesia.
Synthesia operates the world’s largest AI video platform and generated more than 7 million unique videos for thousands of clients in the last year alone. The company’s client base ranges from global corporations to small businesses—all using Synthesia to produce uniform, on-brand video content for everything from internal training to personalized sales prospecting. Some of the clients currently on the Synthesia roster are EY, who uses the platform for client communications, and WPP who uses the platform to create personalized training videos for 50,000 employees. The company also powers celebrity campaigns such as PepsiCo’s Messi Messages and Malaria No More with David Beckham.
“Traditional methods of producing video and audio are expensive, cumbersome and require specialists,” says Riparbelli. “It’s impossible to keep the content library up to date as the business changes and the effort required is enormous. Synthesia closes that gap. Now, anyone can generate video without the need for cameras, studios or actors.”
Users simply select an avatar on the Synthesia platform, type in their script and generate a video within a few minutes. It’s a transformational approach that allows anyone to produce uniform, on-brand content and create a highly personalized AI avatar.
“Ultimately, we’re an AI company, and we’re building for a future where anyone can create Hollywood-grade video on a laptop,” says Riparbelli. “And on our way there, we’ll be solving some of the hardest and most fundamental problems in AI and computer vision.”
Synthesia has been using AWS since February 2018, only a few months after its inception, and continues to use the technology to drive its existing product development. In 2021, it significantly increased its AWS usage with GPU instances for Synthesia Studio—its ML platform.
Bronze medallist TrueLayer routes half of all open banking traffic in the UK, Ireland, and Spain
The platform processes billions of pounds in payments, and saw a 400% growth in payment volume and 800% growth in monthly payment value in 2021 alone.
“We enable anyone in the world to pay, onboard, and share financial data from any bank account simply, safely and within seconds,” says Francesco Simoneschi, CEO and Co-Founder of TrueLayer. “This means that, instead of paying with a card, customers can pay with their bank app in just a few clicks. No more keying in card details or trusting a website to store credentials.”
Today, millions of consumers use TrueLayer to pay for goods and services, whether investing through Freetrade, banking with Revolut, or buying a car on Cazoo. The company now supports some of Europe’s most innovative brands—high-growth powering high-growth—and has taken on more than 100 clients in the past 12 months.
“We are backed by leading investors that include Tiger Global, Addition, Stripe, Anthemis Group, Connect Ventures, Mouro Capital, Northzone, Tencent and Temasek,” concludes Simoneschi. “To date, we have raised $270 million and are valued at more than $1 billion.”
“We enable anyone in the world to pay, onboard and share financial data from any bank account simply, safely and within seconds.” – Francesco Simoneschi, CEO and Co-Founder of TrueLayer.
This true unicorn is smart at business but equally smart at technology, leveraging several AWS solutions to achieve its digital goals. Currently, the company runs its service on multiple Kubernetes clusters hosted on AWS along with Spot Instances on the AWS Elastic Compute Cloud, and DynamoDB.Spot Instances have enabled the company to be flexible in what it runs and for how long so it can dramatically reshape infrastructure to suit customer needs. DynamoDB is scalable, easy to administrate and cost-effective and benefits the company in running high-performance applications without worrying about underlying infrastructure or maintenance.
The AWS Software Startups Awards recognize innovative startups and entrepreneurs across several key categories, including Sustainability, Go-To-Market Innovator, Founder of the Year and Rising Star. Read about the other winners here.