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Is Amazon Going to Launch a Startup Incubator?

Amazon is well-known for giving indie authors a chance to succeed as publishers via KDP, and now it looks like they’re going to offer a similar opportunity to inventors.

Re/code reports that some of Amazon’s recent job listings suggest a new focus on recruiting and supporting up-and-coming gadget startups:

Over the last few months, the company has been hiring for a new venture with the goal of creating the “best end-to-end platform for startups.” In another job description, Amazon touts the venture as “a new platform with inventors.”

But sources say it could be connected to a recent initiative Amazon has been pursuing. Amazon is attempting to build close relationships with young, promising hardware and electronics companies — think robotic toys, fitness and health gadgets — with the goal of convincing them to build their business using Amazon as the main sales channel.

Is it just me, or does that sound a lot like an incubator?

For those that don’t follow tech news that closely, an incubator is "an organization or place that helps in the development of new businesses" (Merriam-Webster). A couple of the better known incubators include YCombinator and Tech Stars, but there are a dozen or more incubators across the US, each with a particular focus.


Some focus on certain industries, while others certain types of technologies (green and renewable, for example). And now Amazon might be working on one.

Okay, this doesn’t quite look like other incubators, and it has a very singular focus (getting new products to market), but I think that’s what it could be.

As Re/code notes, Amazon has done similar things in the past:

In June, Amazon sponsored a contest that rewarded 20 creators of Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns with “entrepreneurial mentorship,” three free months of an Amazon professional seller account and a $200 credit toward Amazon’s warehousing and shipping program. The contest was timed to coincide with the first-ever White House Maker Faire, an event that celebrated technologists and inventors using cutting-edge manufacturing technologies.

They also suggest that Amazon could turn this into a KS competitor, which could happen. But it’s not the impression I get.

What do you think?

image by JustGotLayed

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StevH January 9, 2015 um 1:13 pm

Hmmm…this ties in nicely with the recent news this week that Kickstarter just dropped Amazon as their payment processor.

Nate Hoffelder January 9, 2015 um 1:16 pm

Yes and no. I was going to mention that but then I decided that the new thing was different enough that the KS-Amazon split was entirely unrelated.

fjtorres January 9, 2015 um 1:43 pm

They could be looking to replicate the process they use to find their Prime Video exclusives. They provide development assistance and feedback to help refine the product and then provide a sales channel. If somebody comes up with a homerun, they get first dibs at buying them.

William Ockham January 9, 2015 um 8:46 pm


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