Amazon had introduced its Launchpad initiative in the US last year. At that point, the retail giant had partnered with over 25 crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo, apart from venture capital firms, helping startups offer their products to the world on a platform as well-known as Amazon. The company would be in charge of inventory and order fulfilment, as well as customer service to an extent. Now, Amazon has launched the platform in India, however, in a slightly different form.
The US-based retail giant has partnered with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion's (DIPP) Start Up India initiative, as well as NASSCOM 10,000 Startups, and Indian Angel Network (IAN), amongst others accelerator and incubator programmes, with the aim of identifying and enrolling startups that can showcase their products on Amazon Launchpad. The company has also named a few strategic partners for the initiative, namely NITI Aayog, Government of Maharashtra, Government of Telangana, and TiE.
The company says Amazon Launchpad initiative in India will help Indian startups market, sell, and deliver their products to millions of Amazon customers across India the country and globally. While browsing the newly launched Launchpad section on Amazon India, Gadgets 360 however saw products from several non-Indian companies, such as Pebble, Withings, and Sugru. It appears Amazon may need to work on its filtering to ensure only products by Indian startups are visible.
The company in a press statement said that the Amazon Launchpad store in India features over 400 products ranging from wearable technology, smart homes, food and beverage, health monitoring, educational toys and more. The statement adds that even before its launch, over 25 Indian startups like Witworks, Leaf Wearables, Ducere Technologies, Seventh Sense Technologies have already joined the programme.
Startups that are associated with the Amazon Launchpad programme in India will get benefits like brand development (such as custom product pages, a dedicated Q&A section), customer reach (on-site merchandise placements, personalized recommendations, external program PR, and access to advertising), fulfilment along with customer service, and finally global expansion. The company added that when the Indian startups are ready to reach global customers, Amazon will help them expand to nine Amazon marketplaces across the world.
Amazon adds that startups interested in joining the Amazon Launchpad programme will need to have a "promising, unique and ready-to-ship product" that is compliant with Amazon policies. The Startup Application Form can be accessed on the dedicated Launchpad page.
"By bringing Amazon Launchpad to India, we encourage innovation from the startup community. India has great minds which invent amazing products and we will support their growth by helping customers discover their new products not just in India but other countries around the world," said Amit Agarwal, Vice President and Country Head, Amazon India.
"Through this programme, small entrepreneurs and innovators can go leverage the Amazon platform to increase the scale of their businesses and even get easy access to global markets," noted Jason Feldman, Director Global Innovations, Amazon.
"NASSCOM is excited to support and partner with the Amazon Launchpad programme in India. The timing couldn't have been better. The nascent but promising Indian hardware/IoT product ecosystem can now fully leverage the firepower of Amazon's distribution and marketing capabilities." added Dr R. Chandrashekhar, President, Nasscom.
"The biggest roadblock for a hardware startup is not product development but finding early adopters for its product. Amazon Launchpad is just the right platform to find them," said Paras Batra, Director Sales and Marketing, Leaf Wearables.