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Amazon has a cunning plan to snatch up even more of the ecommerce market

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Amazon has announced it will invest $1 billion in companies across the fulfilment, logistics and supply chain sectors in an effort to capitalize on emerging technologies.

"We see an opportunity to look beyond our own experience and empower companies that are developing emerging technologies in customer fulfilment operations, logistics, and the supply chain,” said the ecommerce giant. 

“We know there are companies out there that share our curiosity and excitement to invent. Whether our investment helps them grow or leads them to work with Amazon, or both, we’re excited to help advance these technologies as online shopping becomes even more important to people who are looking for more convenience and time savings.”

The first batch of companies that Amazon will fund includes Agility Robotics, which makes bipedal robots for warehouses. The company will receive $150 million from Amazon and others.

Other startups set to benefit from the scheme include Modjoul, which makes wearable safety tech; Vimaan, which uses computer vision to manage inventory; BionicHIVE, an automated shelf-stacking robotics startup; and Mantis Robotics, which is developing a tactile robot arm.

Ecommerce is expensive 

The news of the $1 billion fund comes after Amazon CEO Andy Jassy emphasised a commitment to improving the safety of workers at the company, in response to a recent study that showed its workers are twice as likely to be injured than at its competitors.

“These industries are inherently complex,” said Amazon's Alex Ceballos. “With our scale, Amazon is committed to investing in companies that will ignite innovation in emerging technologies that can help improve employee experiences and safety while seamlessly coexisting with workforces across the supply chain, logistics, and other industries.”

Spending $1 billion is a drop in the ocean for Amazon, which generated almost $470 billion in revenue during 2021. 

But the competitive edge provided by being early to fund startups that help create efficiencies in its vast warehouses could prove priceless.

Date

25 Apr 2022

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