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AWS Credits For Startups: All You Need To Know

If you’re running a company that relies on software, a lot of things can take a chunk of your budget. One is cloud infrastructure when you want to scale. This is why AWS credits for startups is important. AWS Credits can give your startup initial savings on cloud costs. This allows you to focus your budget on other pressing areas, like staffing and ad spending.

AWS Credits for Startups is a program designed to support early-stage companies by providing cloud service credits. You can use these credits to cover infrastructure costs, enabling your startups to scale and grow without a huge financial burden. To qualify, you need to be part of an AWS Activate program or a recognized accelerator. The amount of credits awarded can vary based on individual circumstances, but it ranges from $10,000 to $100,000 credits value. 

I discovered, after working in a Startup Sales organization, that many founders struggle to understand the packages of AWS credits.

There are many alternative ways to go about it. I’ve once redeemed $5,000 for two startups — paying for a premium Founders Card subscription (close to $700). Also, by joining YC Startup School and filling in weekly updates for four weeks (completely free). 

In the rest of this article, I’ll walk you through all the information you need about AWS credits for startups. We will also touch on the various ways you can access this promotional coupon. 




How Does AWS Credits For Startups Work?

AWS Credits are like free coupons for Amazon Web Services (AWS). You can use them to pay for your AWS usage bills. These credits are valid for one or two years from the date they are given to you, and they keep getting applied to your account until they run out or expire.

To get AWS credits, you need an existing AWS account. If you don’t have one, you can create it for free.

You can only use your AWS credits to reduce the bills for the same billing period when you received the credits. So, if you get credits in August, you can’t use them to cover bills from May or June.

Also, AWS credits come in chunks, and the new chunk can only be more than the previous one. For example, if you receive $25,000 in credits from a venture capital firm, you can’t apply for $1,000 in credits later. You can keep increasing the credits, but the maximum limit is $100,000.

AWS Credits for Startups – How to Apply For Free?

Different strategies for securing free AWS credits include the AWS Activate program, AWS Free Tier, AWS Proof Of Concept Program, or AWS Webinars and  Events. However, startups perhaps most widely know the AWS Activate program as a way of obtaining AWS credits.

The AWS Activate program has two tiers: 

AWS Activate Founders:  If your startup is self-funded or bootstrapped, this is the right place to look for AWS credit. This Amazon program specifically supports budding entrepreneurs with $1000 in credits and other offers, including $350 in developer support credits and other offers.

AWS Activate Portfolio: If your startup has up to Series A funding and is associated with an incubator, accelerator, venture capital firm, or other organization that is an AWS Activate Provider, it’s easier to access AWS credit via the AWS Activate Portfolio tier. 

Through this category. AWS offers up to $100,000 in credits and $10,000 in AWS Business support credits. If you want to be part of an accelerator, you can use Slidebean, tracing, or similar tools to find a suitable Startup incubator program. 

To register for AWS Activate, follow these steps: 

Step 1: Create AWS Account (Free)

If you already have an AWS account, you can skip this step. But to get started, you must create the account by logging on to https://aws.amazon.com/resources/create-account/. After completing the account and verifying your email, you can register for AWS Activate. 

Step 2: Signup For AWS Activate 

Log on to aws.amazon.com/activate/ and click “join now.” 

Once you’re successfully registered, you immediately get access to the Activate console. 

It provides over 40 solutions templates to build and deploy your products, AWS expert-curated tips for your business and technical needs, best practices training, and an opportunity to apply for up to $100,000 in AWS activate credit. 

The focus here is the AWS credit. 

Step 3: Apply for Credits

To apply, navigate to the credits page and “register now.” 

This will require you to fill out a form where you need to input details about your company, funding status, and more. Choose the program best suited for your startup based on its stage and funding status. 

Review and agree to all the terms and conditions of the specific program, then fill out the application form provided. 

The form contains data on your business name, website, contact information, and funding. 

Step 4: Submit and Wait for Approval 

Submit your application and wait for a response from the AWS to activate the team. It can take days to months for your credit application to be approved by the AWS credit team.

Once your application has been approved, you’ll receive an email with instructions on accessing your AWS credits and how much you have received. 

Step 5: Using AWS credits for startups

You can use your AWS credits to pay for AWS services such as EC2 instances, S3 storage, and RDS databases, which can help you get started with AWS quickly and easily. 

Remember, All credits issued have expiration dates, commonly 1 or 2 years, and AWS credits do not have any cash value and are not redeemable for cash.

AWS Credits for Startups – How to Optimize it

Startups can optimize their AWS (Amazon Web Services) credits in various ways to ensure they are making the most of this resource. Here are several strategies, along with brief descriptions:

Deploy to AWS with Pipeops for automated infrastructure provisioning and continuous delivery.

Pipeops automates the deployment of applications on AWS, saving time and effort for startups. Additionally, it enables continuous delivery, ensuring that any updates or changes to the application can be seamlessly deployed without any downtime. 

By utilizing Pipeops, startups can optimize their AWS credits by maximizing the efficiency of their deployment process and minimizing any potential errors or delays. can connect your AWS account to PipeOps if you are a startup. Get started here.

Use AWS Activate:

  • AWS Activate provides startups with cost-optimization tools to help analyze and optimize AWS usage, ensuring the most value is derived from the credits​.
  • Once accepted into AWS Activate, startups can access more resources, including a dedicated technical account manager, more credits, and even equity-free investments​​.

Incremental Credit Utilization:

  • Avoid exhausting credits all at once. For instance, a startup could start with $5k credits, then move to $10k and so on, instead of using $100k upfront which has to be utilized within a year​.

Explore Various Sources for Credits:

  • Venture firms, AWS Free Tier, AWS Activate, Amazon webinars, Brex or Ramp cards, and some banks have relationships with AWS and can provide startups with AWS credits​.

Utilize pre-built infrastructure templates:

  • AWS offers pre-built infrastructure templates to help startups quickly deploy their solutions, which can also help in optimizing costs​.

Offset Initial Infrastructure Costs:

  • The credits provided help offset initial infrastructure costs such as computing resources, storage, and network infrastructure, enabling budget optimization​.

Use reserved instances:

  • Reserved Instances allow startups to save money, helping to maximize the value of AWS credits​.

Join Accelerator Programs:

  • Joining accelerator programs like Founder Friendly Labs which offer AWS credits as part of their benefits package can be a good way to obtain and optimize AWS credits​.

Leverage deals and offers:

  • Utilizing deals like those on Product Hunt, F6S, Brex, and Startup School can provide additional AWS credits to startups​.
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