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Amazon Dives into the ‘Shark Tank’ With New Retail Partnership

Though Mark Cuban once said on “Shark Tank,” “You gotta crawl before you ball,” successful startups that have secured deals through the hit ABC program now have a golden ticket to mega-growth, thanks to a freshly inked partnership with Amazon that will bring these newbie brands into its Launchpad Accelerator.

It’s the latest sign the Seattle-based online retailer is doubling down on brand differentiation, complementing efforts to cultivate its own stable of private-label and exclusive brands as competition in e-commerce heats up.

Walmart, forever nipping at Amazon’s heels, has been on a hot acquisition streak: Its purchase of Bonobos, Moosejaw and ModCloth now seem like old news in light of a recent spending spree on plus-size favorite Eloquii and intimates e-tailer Bare Necessities, both direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands with built-in audiences and online expertise.

Startups featured and funded on “Shark Tank” have a lot to gain from exposure on Amazon’s platform as part of the Amazon Launchpad Shark Tank Collection. “The Amazon Launchpad program is all about empowering creators and inventors, enabling them to reach hundreds of millions of customers,” Jim Adkins, Amazon VP, said. “By teaming up with ‘Shark Tank,’ we are making it fun and easy for fans of the show to discover a wide variety of unique innovations and cutting-edge products.”

Some popular and well-loved apparel and fashion retail brands have gotten their start in front of the “Shark Tank” investors. Tipsy Elves, purveyor of ugly Christmas sweaters, secured a $100,000 deal on Season 4, and one-for-one DTC sock brand Bombas exchanged a 17.5% stake in the company for $100,000 on the program’s sixth season.

The partnership is a smart play for Amazon. Though brands from the reality show are just gaining their footing in the marketplace, they’ve already been exposed to millions of national television viewers, many of whom are primed and ready to purchase. What’s more, the addition of these fledging brands reinforces Amazon’s status as a destination for brand discovery.

The Amazon Launchpad Shark Tank Collection is already stocked with hit products from the first nine seasons of the entrepreneurial-minded show, with standouts from the upcoming Season 10 to be added going forward.