AWS Startups Blog

How to Build your Mobile App with AWS

Ever wondered how growing startups use AWS to build, scale, and change the ways their customers live and work? Read on to learn how three London-based mobile app startups got their starts and what AWS tools and services they used to launch their MVPs.

Tick is a micro-video platform, where users can learn any task one step at a time. Users create visual step by step “how-to” content directly in the app. They founded the business as part of Zinc and tested their idea by using YouTube and SnapChat stories. The founders first built a native mobile application and put their media on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and hosted their backend on a single Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance. They have now scaled horizontally using Elastic Load Balancing and Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling. User videos are encoded with Amazon Elastic Transcoder to create version that will play back on different devices. The platform streams video, they continue to hosted them on Amazon S3 and use Amazon CloudFront to give fast access and streaming capability for users anywhere in the world.

Zego was created by former Deliveroo employees who wanted to offer their on-demand workers insurance by the minute, rather than forcing them to buy a 12-month policy. They did this by building a mobile insurance platform that provides covererage for literally minutes, hours, or days, thereby allowing employers to cover temp workings solely for the duration of a shift. Zego horizontally scaled their first product by using Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon EC2, and ELB. This approach got the product to market in just 6 weeks. From there, the founding team iterated and scaled on AWS. As they scaled, they migrated to Application Load Balancer, Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS), and AWS Lambda. In a regulated environment, they now use Terraform, Parameter store from AWS Systems Manager, least privilege access via AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and have separate accounts for each deployment environment.

Popsa creates physical photo albums for customers so they can have a physical product to accompany their memories. For launch, the founders designed an application that analyzed user’s photo albums stored on their smart phone, found their best experiences, and then converted them to physical products like photo books or calendars. Launched with a monolith architecture running initially on a single Amazon EC2 instance and a multi-AZ Amazon RDS, Popsa continuously iterated and improved their product before transitioning to an event driven architecture using Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) over a 3-year period. They are currently moving to a Golang micro service architecture hosted on Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and Amazon DynamoDB to meet their scaling needs.