Amazon Web Services is fine-tuning its focus on technology startups with a new AWS Partner Network (APN) program to help early-stage companies with compelling enterprise products better-leverage the cloud provider’s benefits, including its go-to-market efforts.
The APN Global Startup Program, which AWS channel chief Doug Yeum will announce at re:Invent 2019 this week, will have a dedicated AWS team focused on ensuring selected startups with Series A or B funding from institutional investors get the right level of AWS support to grow more quickly. AWS is targeting startups in the pre-initial public offering stage with enterprise solutions ready to be deployed.
“We felt like there was an opportunity for us to build a special program to ensure that our startups were able to work closely with our enterprise customers and also for us to make additional investments into startups who are focusing on the B2B (business-to-business) space,” said Yeum, AWS’ head of worldwide channels and alliances since July.
AWS is seeing increasing numbers of enterprise customers migrating to its cloud and undergoing digital transformations, and those customers are looking for new innovations being developed by startups, according to Yeum. While AWS has long been working with startups, it saw the need for a program with increased support and a “white-glove” level of management to help them become more successful with AWS, he said.
“It’s a dedicated team of people who will be offering basically highly focused management for that special group of startups,” Yeum said.
Series A and B funding rounds — typically in the millions of dollars — are the first stage of equity-based financing from venture capital (VC) and private equity firms to help earlier-stage companies continue growing following smaller, less formal seed rounds that support initial operations.
“It's sort of like they've been validated by the VC community by receiving funding from an institutional investor,” Yeum said. “These are startups who we believe are making really good progress in building their products, and we expect the startup to at least have one product that's generally available in the market.”
The new APN Global Startup Program will help startups gain visibility with enterprise customers to speed their sales cycles. Startups will get access to exclusive APN business, technical and marketing resources to improve their products and go-to-market strategies. The program also will aid in co-selling opportunities with AWS and generate leads and close qualified sales opportunities with support through funding in cash or AWS credits.
Yeum declined to disclose the number of employees that AWS is dedicating to the new startup program other than to say it was a “pretty good-sized team.” Each startup will be assigned a dedicated startup partner development manager with startup business experience to develop an APN roadmap for them.
“We’ll do proactive reach-out to some of the startups that we already know and are aware of, but other startups can apply to this program,” Yeum said.
AWS partner solution architects will vet the startups’ technological capabilities to ensure high capability and proper architecture.
AWS hasn’t put a time limit on how long it will work with the startups, but eventually the companies would be transferred to the regular APN program and its partner development managers.
Startups in the APN Global Startup Program also will have access to existing AWS startup resources, including AWS Lofts in New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Tel Aviv. Free AWS Loft offerings include technical and business training, in-person access to AWS technical staff, networking events and co-working space.