AWS hosted its latest AWS Startup Garage event in December – a series created to provide startups with help in tackling both technical and business challenges. The Garage creates an environment where startups can learn from each other and AWS experts, make connections and ultimately become part of the AWS startup community.

AWS Garage event background shots

Including startups from all industries and of different stages, attendees share a common interest in growth and networking.

The latest event Launch Your Startup - The Basics of Building and Funding focused on how to build a startup and prepare first rounds of investment, featuring talks from Seedcamp, Crowdcube and Zego.

“These events are all about our customer’s needs, which is why we cover a range of topics based on their feedback. We hold open community events, technical workshops with AWS Solution Architects, scale and innovation sessions and much more", explained Shahar Vigder, AWS Startup Segment Lead.

We caught up with a few of the attendees to discuss how AWS is helping to kick-start their small business.

Zego company logo in green and white

Work insurance made flexible with Zego

Zego is a flexible insurance company that’s bringing the insurance industry into the 21st century.

Co-founded by Sten Saar and Harry Franks, former directors at Deliveroo, along with engineer Stuart Kelly, Zego was born out of a recognition that employees in the ‘gig economy’ need to insure themselves on-the-go with simple, flexible and short-term policies. “We didn’t come from insurance backgrounds, but we just believed in our idea and really wanted to bring it to life,” explains Stuart.

As Zego now enters its third year of business, the team is 150-strong and they have opened offices in Spain and France. Stuart credits the directors’ entrepreneurial spirit for this rapid growth, despite their lack of experience with insurance. Like all businesses, Zego had its challenges in the early days. “We were cheaper than competitors, but we struggled with a lack of credibility at first as people didn’t necessarily understand the proposition,” says Stuart.

The next challenges were to establish robust IT processes and to hire the right people. The AWS cloud was a natural solution. “We had gone all-in with cloud-based solutions because we needed the right level of security without having to bring servers in-house, which would use more capital. We needed the cheapest, most reliable and fastest way to work. It was a no-brainer to sign up with AWS,” Stuart explained.

The team at Ocyan
Image includes Gabriele Cacciola, CTO, Evangelos Pappas, CEO, Marcello Romani, Platform Lead, Genti Topija, Infrastructure Lead

Production-scale Blockchain applications with Ocyan

Ocyan enables the disruption of traditional industries with emerging technologies. But the startup believes that, “providing an end-to-end Cloud Operating System for enterprise blockchains is only the beginning.”

Gabriele Cacciola, Ocyan’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, met his co-founder in a previous job and knew that they could work together to make the idea a reality.

“We put a business case together to prove that we had the infrastructure to provide automation, expertise and business SLAs to companies that want to use Blockchain in production.” Gabrielle says.

Having closed a pre-seed round in recent weeks and taken investment from one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, Ocyan now has offices in London and Edinburgh, with more expansion planned for 2020. Gabrielle feels the networking at events like AWS Garage can open doors to new opportunities: “Networking events are great as you never know who you may meet and when. It’s definitely worthwhile."

Ocyan now uses AWS services to provide secure solutions to customers. "It’s one of the best solutions for the beginning of your journey and enables you to have a reduced tech team which is cost-effective. Amazon offers a huge amount of services, but you do need to know how to maximise your investment, so events like this are really informative.”

Nuki Health Co founders stood in front of floral background
Nuki Health Co founders Olga Mironova and Ahmed El Ghamrawy

Improving access to paediatric dieticians with NuKi Health

NuKi Health co-founders Olga Mironova and Ahmed El Ghamrawy are on a mission to expand access to paediatric dieticians for parents who want their children to have a healthy relationship with good food.

“Many parents don’t have a support system around them and 65 percent of parents in the UK are very concerned about what they are feeding their children. They may be unsure about portion sizes or what vitamins to give to their children or how to how to find support managing a food allergy,” explained Ahmed.

The idea came about when Ahmed met Olga on an accelerator programme – they quickly realised their partnership could make the idea work.

“We both wanted to work with experienced NHS dietitians that have a minimum of 7 years’ experience and are registered with the British Dietetic Association. We’re very selective and diligent!”

”NuKi Health believes passionately in accessible and affordable healthcare for all, so it was important their services could be easily accessed on a range of platforms. For example, the brand offers video conferencing and a live chat system for quick advice and guidance. As NuKi Health grows, robust IT processes will be vital to develop the tech offering.

“That’s why we’re looking at Amazon Comprehend and the newly launched Amazon Comprehend Medical, which would enable us to transcribe a huge amount of data and provide recommendations and dosages to our customers in a safe, secure digital environment.”

Interested in attending the next AWS startup community event?

Keep an eye on AWS UK & Ireland Startups to find out more about upcoming events