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Amazon Start-up Challenge yields a winner: Yieldex

Advertising optimization firm Yieldex takes the top prize: $50,000 in cash, $50,000 in Amazon Web Services credits, and a potential investment from the online retail giant itself.

Amazon.com's Web Services division announced Thursday that it wrapped up its second annual Web Services Start-up Challenge and awarded Yieldex, a company that specializes in forecasting online-advertising inventory, with the top prize of $50,000 in cash, $50,000 in Amazon Web Service credits, and an opportunity for an investment offer from Amazon itself.

According to Amazon, it chooses the winner based on "the originality of their idea, marketplace need, and their implementation of Amazon Web Services." Only those companies that use Amazon's infrastructure can enter the company's contest.

Yieldex, which won the challenge after presenting its business model on stage in front of Amazon judges, helps advertisers manage their advertising inventory by forecasting how ads will perform, once deployed to different sites across the Web. The service is similar to those offered by YieldBuild, another company that tries to optimize ad campaigns and revenue.

Amazon's Start-up Challenge wasn't easy to win. It started in early September, with a call for entries, and Yieldex was forced to overcome hundreds of applicants to take the top prize. From the list of applicants, Amazon chose just seven to fly to Amazon headquarters and present their ideas in front of a panel of judges for 10 minutes.

There is currently no word on whether Amazon will invest in Yieldex, but the company did say it is reserving that right.