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‘Amazon Launchpad’ Launched For Indian Startups

The monthly fee is 5000 rupees payable to Amazon. In exchange, Amazon will provide logistic capabilities and promote partnered startups more prominently.

Photo Credit : http://www.amazon.in/,

Today Amazon unveiled ‘Amazon Launchpad’ in India. India is the seventh country for the program to be launched in. The world’s biggest ecommerce company by gross merchandise value and India’s second biggest by shipments will be partnering with India’s startups, so that these budding companies may leverage the logistics infrastructure, mentoring on marketing and networking contacts Amazon may be able to provide them with. Amazon Launchpad is likely to be of relevance to those hardware startups looking to go global.

There are already 25 startups enrolled in the program along with hundreds more expected to join according to Jason Feldman, director of Global Innovations at Amazon said, “Amazon Launchpad is an exceptional opportunity for Indian startups to get access to big consumer markets nationally and internationally.

Anyone is free to sell their products on Amazon the normal way. However startups approached to be a part of the program must pay 5000 rupees a month. It’s not an exclusive contract and the startup can choose to sell on other ecommerce websites as well. Amit says the point of the fee is not to increase revenue but to make sure that the startups joining are committed and to have “skin in the game”, said Amit Agarwal, vice president and country head of Amazon India. “Amazon has always encouraged and supported innovation. By bringing Amazon Launchpad to India, we are excited to support the Government’s ‘Start-up India’ initiative and encourage innovation from the Indian start-up community,” he further said.

As a member of Amazon Launchpad, these Amazon officials reiterate that Amazon will use its technological capabilities to increase discoverability and promote these startups that otherwise may not happen.

Founders of a smart footwear solution company said that before Amazon approached them to be a part of the program via NASSCOM, the founders also said they had indeed been talking to another large ecommerce company in India about partnering up. However the deal with Amazon had been cleared within a month - much faster than the other ecomm company according to them. The founders seemed happy to be a part of Amazon Launchpad, they say they know through personal experience that some US startups have benefitted through the American version of the program.

GOQii founder feels the fee is a nominal one, and is worth it. About the discounts offered on each of the products, he says that it goes on a case by case basis, that the discount may be borne by either the marketplace or seller, and that it depends on the time of season etc. GOQii partnered with Amazon in 2014 and believes Amazon has helped them increase standards of merchandising and customer service. All standard policies on selling, the related terms and conditions will be the same even for the Amazon Launchpad members.

Within in India, Amazon has 27 warehouses, spanning 7 million cubic feet of space and is the largest offering among ecommerce companies in India. They also have their own logistics and delivery arm along with India Post as a partner for delivering to rural areas where Amazon reach is limited.

Some of the criteria to enter the program are that the startup needs to have received funding, have a physical product and the product be available for shipment within 30 days.

The program is already present in the US, UK, Germany, France, China and Mexico.

Amazon.in has partnered with Startup India, NASSCOM 10,000 Startups, Indian Angel Network, NITI Aayog, Government of Maharashtra, Government of Telangana, TiE and investor entities amongst others, to help identify and enroll Startups.

Commenting on the discounting of product Shri Ramesh Abhishek, secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that it is between the seller and marketplace and not in the jurisdiction of the DIPP. He responded in kind when asked about the FDI policy of India, except that it would be in the jurisdiction of the FIPB.

“The central government needs to play a big role in increasing funds and labs, and ease of patenting processes for startups. State governments too must play a big role here. I myself am not satisfied with how much we have done, although we have done quite a bit, there’s a long way to go. But we are all in this together and must work together. Therefore your [general public’s] opinion and feedback on how to improve the ecosystem is welcomed.”


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