AWS Startups Blog

You’ve sold your company. Now what? Why ex-founders should consider joining tech giants


You’ve just spent the past five years of your life pouring your soul into a startup. Now that you’ve exited—whether through an acquisition, an acqui-hire, or unfortunately had to shut down operations—you’re now facing a fairly complicated question: what next?

Life after founding a company comes with lots of options. As an entrepreneur, you’ve learned what it means to scale, that execution is paramount, what it means to be scrappy and that resilience is half the battle—all important skills that make you valuable to any number of companies. While a minority of founders know that they immediately want to start a new company, most need time to step back, grieve (if necessary), and evaluate what there is to do after thinking about one business exclusively for any number of years.

At AWS, this conversation comes up quite a bit because our startup team is comprised heavily of former founders that are no strangers to putting together a PowerPoint deck, staffing up teams, seeing cash balances on the brink of negative, and seeking out customer traction. In fact, our current team includes the co-founder of HelloFresh (€HFG, €2B+ market cap), the founder of Stitcher Radio ($19 million raised from NEA and Benchmark, acquired by Midroll), and early team members from Facebook, StubHub, and Reddit.

After considering their post-exit options, all of these startup leaders ended up joining AWS for three main reasons:

  • AWS is the fastest-growing enterprise startup of all time. Big companies are constantly trying to sell themselves as startups, but in the case of AWS, it’s actually true. The company was famously launched 10 years ago as a startup within Amazon, and despite approaching a $20 billion yearly run rate, still operates in a scrappy manner. AWS launches dozens of new services every month and is at the forefront of one of the major revolutions in technology in our lifetime: cloud computing. Given the pace of innovation, AWS is on a tremendous growth trajectory for years to come.
  • AWS gives you the resources to accomplish what you want. Read the stories on the culture of Amazon and the processes for launching a new business or service. They are real and happen every day. And instead of having two employees in a garage, you have 550,000 co-workers who are all in it with you and will do everything they can to make you (and themselves) a huge success. It’s a new model for how to think about being a founder and for how to think about launching a startup. What will be next?  Healthcare? Augmented Reality? Space Launches? Energy markets? New currencies to sell goods? Who knows. But it’s a near certainty there will be many more incredible new businesses launched by Amazon and they’ll be launched by foundationally entrepreneurial people attracted to Amazon for its culture and ability to foster creativity.
  • You’ll be working with your founder and early-stage peers. As mentioned, AWS is rife with former founders who will understand your mindset and background, and who have been in the trenches with you. Your customers will also be founders and are looking to your expert opinion on how they can be successful and best connecting the dots across their networks, investors and all business units at Amazon.

If you’re interested in continuing your startup journey by working with other founders, we’d love to talk to you about being a potential member of the Startup Business Team. We are a truly global team and can help you navigate through Amazon, understand the roles available for your skills and interests, and we’ll advocate on your behalf.

Roles across AWS are here and to view roles working with Accelerators and Startups go here. To view roles at Amazon go here. And please reach out! You can always email us directly at Startup-Team-AWS@amazon.com. We’d love to hear from you.