Amazon now selling crowdfunded gadgets

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Yahoo Canada | Jul 28, 2015

Amazon Launch pad

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc launched a new platform on Tuesday that will help startups advertise and distribute their products directly to millions of Amazon customers, filling an important gap for entrepreneurs trying to reach a wider market of consumers.

The online retailer is partnering with more than 25 crowd-funding platforms like Indiegogo and venture capital firms to offer 200 products on the platform, which is called "Amazon Launchpad." Amazon said it is not working with Kickstarter in "any official capacity" for its program.

Some of the products are already availalbe on Amazon.com, but the program will be listed on Amazon's Launchpad store.

Amazon will manage inventory, fulfill orders using its own distribution network and provide customer service for a margin of the startup's sales.

An increasing number of startups are tapping crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter to line up financing for everything from new films to gadgets, but it is also an area fraught with challenges.

Entrepreneurs can attract massive interest in a new gadget through crowdfunding sites, but often find it difficult to actually market and distribute orders on time to a large number of consumers.

Related:  Why Amazon has a big opportunity in product crowdfunding

"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," said Jim Adkins, vice president of Amazon in a statement.

"We also know from talking to startups that bringing a new product to market successfully can be just as challenging as building it."

The company will also help companies expand globally when startups are ready to ship products to consumers outside the United States. Startups will also be able to offer their gadgets to members of Amazon Prime, the retailer's popular $99-year subscription service.

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CNN Money | Jul 28, 2015

Amazon LaunchpadAmazon is lending some of its considerable power and reach to startups. The online retail giant launched Amazon Launchpad on Tuesday, a program to help young companies with sales and distribution.

After the excitement of a successful Kickstarter campaign dies down, a startup needs to get their product manufactured. They also have to find customers and ship those thousands of "Internet of Things" things, smart oven mitts, or revolutionary make-up removers.

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That's where Launchpad comes in. Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) will handle all the logistical steps that come with selling physical goods: storing inventory, shipping, marketing, even returns and customer service. Companies that might otherwise have fallen through the cracks will show up in Amazon searches and be eligible for Prime shipping.

To lure Silicon Valley startups, the program is starting with products that have been backed by VC firms, gone through an accelerator or had successful crowdfunding campaigns. Amazon worked closely with 25 big names like Andreessen Horowitz, Indiegogo and Y Combinator to get the first 200 products in the marketplace.

So far, it's a colorful collection of gimmicky gadgets and hipster lifestyle products. There are connected pet feeders, wireless audio systems smart garage controllers. But not everything has a tech angle -- there's also a seaweed detox bath, a coffee press and rubber spoons.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1100+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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