Amazon Announces $100,000 Startup Challenge Finalists

Josh Catone
Josh Catone

Amazon Web Services has announced the finalists for its Startup Challenge. The competition, which is designed to showcase web startups that utilize Amazon’s web services stack, will award one winner with $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in AWS credits, as well as a potential investment offer from Amazon.

Amazon is in the midst of creating videos about each startup that will be published soon, and the public will be able to vote on their favorites. The voting doesn’t determine the winner, however. Rather, each finalist will be flown to Seattle later this month to pitch a judging panel at Amazon and submit to a Q&A about their business model and use of Amazon web services. The winner will be announced on November 20th at an event in Seattle.

Last year, 900 startups entered a similar competition and video management and ad-serving company Ooyala walked away with the top prize.

This year’s finalists are:

  • – has transformed video encoding from a traditional software model to a software as a service (SaaS) platform. combines elastic computing resources with cutting edge video encoding software.
  • Knewton – Knewton supercharges any education content by teaching the exact concepts students need, in the medium and pacing best for each. Knewton’s self-optimizing “Darwinian” engine grows increasingly effective as each new student joins the network – so the learning plan of the 50 millionth student is powered by the combined data of all the others.
  • MedCommons – MedCommons provides cloud-based Health 2.0 application services for patients and doctors, and enables third parties to customize and extend the MedCommons Platform for their own needs.
  • Sonian – Sonian is a cloud compute email productivity service. Each day, 86 billion emails and IMs are created and most of this information needs to be saved and indexed for compliance and personal productivity. Sonian solves this problem with next generation software running on the Amazon Web Services cloud. Sonian archives electronic communications, files and unstructured content to unlock the actionable intelligence stored in this “dark data.”
  • Pixily – Pixily is an interactive document management service that organizes paper and electronic materials online so people can instantly find and share information whenever and wherever they need it. For consumers, Pixily serves as a digital organization assistant that reduces paper clutter and helps manage personal information more efficiently. Businesses rely on Pixily as an affordable on-demand document management service to streamline daily operations and be more productive.
  • Yieldex – Yieldex delivers accurate forecasting of overlapping online advertising inventory and optimal campaign allocation for online publishers. Our tools help publishers get more revenue from their premium inventory through in-depth proposal analysis, scenario planning, and Yieldex’s proprietary yield index.
  • Zephyr – Zephyr enables enterprises to manage their test departments more efficiently, boost productivity, reduce costs and provide IT leaders with real-time visibility into all aspects of their software quality cycle.

Who do you think will win?