Last Thursday at Amazon headquarters in Seattle, in a bid to win what might be the biggest web services-related prize to date, teams from 7 companies using Amazon Web Services APIs competed for $100K in the AWS Startup Challenge. As we covered earlier it was a tough competition with over 900 entrants and these finalists presented not just to Amazon representatives but venture capitalists from around the country including Bay Partners, Blue Run Ventures and Battery Ventures. And the winner? Ooyala, a startup focused on improving delivery, monetization and analytics of online video (see our full Ooyala mashup profile here).
As the grand prize winner, Ooyala will receive $50,000 in cash, $50,000 in Amazon Web Service credits and an investment offer from Amazon.com. You can see all good concise video summaries of each finalist on Amazon's site. What Amazon APIs does Ooyala use? Lots. Here's what they use and how:
- Amazon EC2 as a computing platform for video and analytics processing
- Amazon S3 for storage and conent delivery
- Amazon Flexible Payments Service for payments
- Amazon Simple Queue Service for some of their video processing
- Amazon Mechanical Turk for marketing research and even choosing their logo
As noted in the AWS blog, the winners were given a "golden hammer" signed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and then invited there on stage to demolish a piece of server hardware (symbolically not needed anymore if you're using Amazon's services). Oolya's president Sean Knapp makes the case for AWS services "Why would you do it yourself? AWS has enabled Ooyala to build, deploy and scale our product in record time, raising the bar for rapid innovation." CEO and co-founder Bismarck Lepe says he plans to give the $50,000 cash prize to his team of 13 engineers.
One of the things that makes this a great mashup is that the user can't tell it's a mashup. Ooyala strategically leverage multiple APIs into the core of their technology yet for the most part the fact that they're using them is transparent to the end user. As time goes on this will become increasingly common as using online web services is just part of how software gets built.