Amazon wants be the go-to online e-commerce portal for everybody and everything. Going a notch further in that direction, the U.S. e-commerce giant is jumping on the startup product showcase bandwagon with the launch of Launchpad.

The project, titled ‘LaunchPad’ will aid start-ups in launching, marketing and distributing their products on Amazon without any direct costs upfront (apart from sale commission). The e-retail giant has partnered with venture capital fund Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz, and Indiegogo to source and vet startups for its site.

Each startup will get a product page where it can upload a product video and information about the startup. Startups on Launchpad will also be able to take pre-orders for products directly through Amazon, the logistics of which will be handled by Amazon itself. Product page designs are slightly different from on the ones on Amazon. This presents start-ups with an opportunity to differentiate their product and achieve higher levels of brand connect with consumers.

You might be wondering of the existing scale of operations at LaunchPad. As of now, the site already hosts a whopping 200 products in 15 categories, including mattresses from Casper, Eero’s Home WiFi System, the Smart Sport Band from Wearables DVB, and the Soma Sustainable Pitcher & Plant-Based Water Filter. Going further, the site will focus on broader streams of merchandise as well.

As the pace of innovation continues to increase within the startup community, we want to help customers discover these unique products and learn the inspiration behind them.

Jim Adkins, an Amazon vice president, said in a statement.

Amazon Launchpad gives customers access to a dedicated storefront featuring a variety of innovative new products from emerging brands. For startups, we handle inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service, and more, allowing them to focus their efforts on the innovation that results in more cool products.

We might as well mention Amazon is not new to this segment. In global terms, it has competitors having slightly similar offerings, chiefly Product Hunt and Shopify. eBay too came out with an experimental site Innovators Collective, selling smart home equipment designed by start-ups.

Shopify, the poster boy of the Canadian dot-com boom, enables small and medium-sized retailers to launch and manage online stores, and has since 2013 ventured into brick-and-mortar stores as well.

However, Amazon can capitalize on the growing demand of customised products (bolstered by crowd sourcing platforms like Indiegogo) developed by start-ups across verticals like electronics, beauty, fitness, etc. The site will definitely enable exposure for products that have already garnered hits on crowd-sourcing sites, and Amazon can lend a sense of familiarity with the start-up creations to its massive user base.


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