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Amazon Challenges Shopify With New Marketing and Sales Portal for Startups

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Startups afraid of getting lost in the shuffle when they hit e-commerce now have a new distribution channel to delve into.

Amazon on Tuesday unveiled Launchpad, a program that simplifies the selling process for start-ups that want to “launch, market and distribute their products” to the online retailer’s hundreds of millions of customers around the world.

More than 200 products in 15 categories are so far featured in the store, including the Casper mattress, a high-performance blanket from Rumpl and DermaTherapySport performance athletic bedding, and Amazon is working with the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator and Indiegogo to grow its selection of goods.

“Launchpad makes Amazon an ideal partner for the most innovative, young tech companies,” Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, said in a statement. “It’s yet another way Amazon fosters a real ecosystem of invention and creativity.” Luke Iseman, a Y Combinator partner, echoed this sentiment: “This program will help our hardware start-ups get in front of more users than ever before.”

Launchpad offers a streamlined onboarding experience, a dedicated storefront, a marketing package that includes merchandised placements and personalized recommendations, and access to more than 10 of Amazon’s international ports for distribution. Plus, it doesn’t cost start-ups anything upfront, just a commission on sales.

“As the pace of innovation continues to increase with the start-up community, we want to help customers discover these unique products and learn the inspiration behind them,” Jim Adkins, vice president of Amazon, said in a statement. “For start-ups, we handle inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service and more, allowing them to focus their efforts on the innovation that results in more cool products.”

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