Amazon gets startup-friendly with AWS Loft space in London

AWS to open a new Loft pop-up in London to build better relations with the city's flourishing startup scene.

Amazon Web Services is setting up its first Pop-Up Loft - a space for startups to learn more about AWS - outside the US.

The company will open a facility in the Moorgate area of London, not far area from the city's startup hub Tech City, to better engage with local tech startups that rely on cloud services.

The UK is consistently the largest destination for VC funds in Europe often thanks to London-based financial services startups like Funding Circle, Azimo, WorldRemit, and Currency Cloud. Between them, the four companies have raised $472m between January and June, or about half of the total funding raised in the capital over the period.

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According to AWS, two-thirds of UK startups worth over $1bn use its services.

The Loft in the UK will mirror the similar spaces AWS launched in San Francisco last year and in New York this May, where startups and students can meet AWS architects and tech partners, such as Intel, as well as provide space to host regular education sessions as well as bootcamps.

The Lofts in those cities are open Monday through Friday from 10am to 6am, while events are hosted in the evening, and London is no exception. The London Loft will open on September 10 and close on 29 October.

The London Loft will offer hands-on labs for those wanting to brush up their cloud skills; technical sessions on subjects including security and big data; and technical bootcamps.

And there are plenty more Loft spaces to come, according to Ariel Kelman, vice-president for marketing at AWS, who told the Financial Times the company is looking at opening Lofts in new cities around the world.

"Every top city you would expect, where there is a high concentration of start-ups, is on our list," he said.

The company plans to open a Loft in Berlin, Europe's second startup city, in October.

AWS is still the most popular cloud service for startups around the world, but the launch of the pop-ups comes as Google and Microsoft step up their own investments in local datacentres to respectively support Google Compute Engine and Azure.

The launch also comes as Amazon gears up to open a new AWS region in India in 2016 to better support the thousands of local startups there that already use AWS but rely on its 11 regions elsewhere.

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