AWS implements Pro-Rata pilot program to connect investors with start-ups

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Andy Jassy, ​​chief executive officer of web services at Amazon.com Inc., will speak at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit in San Francisco, California, USA on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Andy Jassy, ​​chief executive officer of web services at Amazon.com Inc., will speak at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit in San Francisco, California, USA on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

Amazon is testing a new way to strengthen relationships with startups and potentially bring more capital to the ecosystem. The new effort, known as the Amazon Web Services Pro-Rata program, is designed to connect private investors with companies that use AWS, as well as with venture capital funds whose portfolios are full of potential cloud clients. Amazon does not invest money through the program.

The Pro-Rata program is led by Brad Holden, a former TomorrowVentures partner (founded by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt), and Jason Hunt, both of whom are part of the AWS business development team that focuses on angel and seed relationships according to an email they sent to investors in January.

"The Pro-Rata program is a new pilot designed to connect family offices and venture capitalists for specific investment opportunities from the AWS ecosystem," said the email viewed by CNBC. "Pro rata" refers to the rights that investors must issue in subsequent rounds.

AWS has built a $ 25 billion enterprise technology by luring large companies and government agencies to its cloud, and it is now the bulk of Amazon's profits. Since the company started offering computer and storage services for startups more than ten years ago, AWS has counted for a large part of its success on young and emerging companies. Start-ups bring innovation to the platform and some, such as Lyft, Pinterest and Slack, become large companies with large technology budgets.

Earlier, Amazon and its smaller cloud competitors, Microsoft and Google, attracted start-up developers through promotional credits that they can use for free before they even generate revenue. Amazon also has a program called AWS Activate that works with more than 3,000 incubators, accelerators, venture companies and other groups to expand the use of technology.

The new program is another effort to bring in more new startups.