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Hoping to Attract More Startups, Amazon Rolls Out AWS Activate

Looking to help startups scale faster and cheaper, Amazon announced a bundle of new free tools for users of its cloud-computing platform.
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Long considered a go-to resource for developers, Amazon's cloud-computing platform AWS is looking to get more startups on board with AWS Activate, a bundled package of goodies for newly minted companies.

Startups can either access AWS Activate through its Self-Starter package -- open to any business -- or the Portfolio package, which startups in accelerators, incubators and VC seed funds can gain access.

While it seems both offer free tools, the two packages vary on offerings, with the Portfolio package having extra perks.

The Self-Starter comes equipped with a free year of AWS services, allowing developers to build applications and scale current ones at no cost. Startups will also receive technical support, access to a forum, special offers from third-party businesses and web-based training, including a tutorial for people looking to develop new skills.

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The Portfolio package has all the bells and whistles of the Self-Starter but also includes a more advanced support resource, extra tutorials and credits that can be used for other Amazon services, including its database service RDS, storage platform S3 and content distribution tool CloudFront.

The move to rollout AWS Activate is to allow Amazon to go to the next level with developers and help it compete against other platforms like Rackspace. Amazon already counts Instagram, Spotify, Pinterest and Etsy as customers of its AWS services. 

The CTO of mobile-first magazine Flipboard Eric Feng said AWS Activate "is great for finding technical resources, getting professional support and connecting with a broad community of developers to get the most out of our cloud computing environment," according to a statement by Amazon.

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And Mark Cranney of heavyweight VC firm Andreessen Horowitz pointed out "The ability for startups to quickly build and scale is crucial to their success. With access to resources like AWS Activate, startups can swiftly and easily use AWS and focus on growing their businesses."

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