Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

Are any SaaS companies from Hawaii competing in the 2009 AWS Start-Up Challenge? There are two prizes: (1) $100K for the grand prize and (2) $10K for the Amazon Payments prize.

Aside from the obvious benefits of publicity and $5K each in cash and Amazon Payment credits for the payments prize, what are the other benefits? How about the disadvantages? Would you consider choosing Amazon as your company's billing provider? A vast majority of your U.S. customers will already bought something from Amazon making it easier for them to not have to enter their personal information again when signing up for your service. And it is great to not have to worry about storing credit cards securely with CISP compliance. Amazon does that for you. Do you mind having your customers get a bill from Amazon for your services. Do you care that it makes your company look a bit "small time" because the customers are not getting billed directly by your company? has a Customer Information Manager which can securely warehouse customer credit card information for use in creating a white-labeled billing system where the customer sees your company billing them directly. Despite being down earlier this month due to a fire, perhaps it is a better choice than Amazon.

I can see that the entrant probably needs to be at the stage of development to already have a mature SaaS architecture that is configurable, multi-tenant and scalable in order to support the increase in users that the contest publicity will provide and not give the company a bad name due to traffic-spike-induced downtimes.

Other thoughts?

The deadline for the contest is a month away: August 26, 2009.

Eligibility requirements:

(a) if the entrant is a business, it has not generated more than $5 million USD in gross annual revenues in any 1 calendar year; and
(b) it has not generated more than $5 million USD in outside funding and© the Business Proposition entered is original and was created solely by the entrant and will not violate the rights of any third party or law, rules, regulation or ordinance.

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