Did AWS Device Farm sound familiar? That's because Amazon acquired Portland startup AppThwack to build it

Last week, the Web was all abuzz with this nifty new mobile testing environment from Amazon called AWS Device Farm. Folks were waxing philosophic about the magic of being able to test their mobile apps on real physical devices. And we, here in Portland, were sort of scratching our heads. Wasn’t this what AppThwack does? Well, yes. And yes. You see AWS Device Farm is AppThwack.


We have some exciting news for you. AppThwack has joined Amazon Web Services (AWS). Don’t worry, though. We launched AWS Device Farm – a new service that will help you improve the quality of your apps by testing them against real phones and tablets in the AWS Cloud.

I can still remember when Jason Grigsby mentioned AppThwack to me originally. “You should see these guys who just demoed at Mobile Portland,” he said. “They’ve really got something.”

Unlike his predictions about the Web, Grigs was right, this time. They were something.

The short meteoric story of AppThwack is the kind of which startup dreams are made. Two kids executing on a really really good idea.

We join our heroes at Intel. They’ve built a platform called Trellis that allows them to test code on any physical device. They realize that the rapidly fragmenting Android market could be a great starting point to launch Trellis. And so AppThwack is born. The company is accepted to both PIE and Portland Seed Fund. They get funding, led by then newly founded Rogue Venture Partners, and including Upstart Labs, TiE Angels, and more. They wind up getting business from the Federal Government. And then Portland merger and acquisition expert MergerTech helps the team sell the company to Amazon.

All within the span of a few years. Not bad, Portland. Not bad at all. Reminds me of the Meridian acquisition story. And it reminds me that Portland can do this. Exceptionally well.

“This is a great story for the whole Portland startup ecosystem,” said Tom Sperry of Rogue Ventures. “We always highlight what a collaborative and collegial community this is. And this is the kind of success we realize when we focus collaboration on promising founders executing on compelling ideas.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But folks close to the deal have been said to be sporting incredibly big smiles. So there’s that.

For more—and better coverage—see Malia’s post in the Portland Business Journal. For more from the company’s perspective, see the AppThwack post.

  1. I am so excited for them! And yes, a company can be done start to finish in Portland with Portland investors, Portland people, and Portland support! Glad to see it happen again, especially to a great company like this one!

  2. AppThwack and other services like it are incredibly useful in a market where there are more devices than human beings. Good to see them get acquired by someone as large as Amazon.

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