This week Amazon Web Services announced that it has officially opened its annual Start-Up Challenge, which will accept entries beginning today through November 9th. With a grand prize of $100,000 on the line, the contest challenges fledgling companies to bring innovative ideas to the table leveraging Amazon Web Services.
Early-stage startups from all corners of the globe utilizing Amazon’s technology can enter the online challenge. Those who make it to the finalist round will be required to create a short pitch video detailing their business and its plans for the future.
In a change from previous years, the ecommerce giant will be appointing one grand prize winner in each of the following categories: big data/high performance computing, gaming, consumer applications, and business applications. Amazon is offering $50,000 in web services credit and the other $50,000 in cash to each of the big winners. Finalists from each of the four categories will also receive $10,000 in AWS credits.
“AWS is helping startups from around the world do what has traditionally been cost prohibitive in the past — start a company with worldwide customers on a shoestring budget and see whether you have something meaningful,” said Amazon Web Services vice president Adam Selipsky. “We’re looking forward to this year’s challenge and seeing the types of dynamic new businesses around the world who are leveraging AWS.”
Apart from banking a solid chunk of prize money, previous winners have praised the contest for securing them big name investors in the wake of the annual challenge. Fantasy Shopper, last year’s big winner from the United Kingdom, went on to raise more than $3 million from NEA and Accel Partners. Fan engagement platform and 2011 finalist Booshaka saw more than 150,000 brands and businesses come onboard following its participation in the contest.
As is tradition with the Amazon Startup Challenge, grand prize winners will have the opportunity to usher in the era of cloud computing by smashing a server with a golden hammer signed by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos (no, seriously) following the winner announcement party.
Read the official contest rules to find out just how close your startup might be to netting its next big investment, and going Thor all over some innocent servers.