Amazon’s launch of a $250 million venture fund focused on India is the Big Tech company’s next big step for its investment program targeting the subcontinent.
The $250 million Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund will invest in startups and entrepreneurs in the areas of agriculture, healthcare and the digitization of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), reported the Business Standard. The fund plans to invest in “technology-led startups.”
The goal in the agricultural sector would be to improve farmers’ productivity and help them deliver the best of the country’s agricultural products to consumers. In healthcare, the aim would be to use technology to enable universal and quality healthcare access, the report said.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are the engine and the lifeblood of economies,” said Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services (AWS) chief. On one level, the plan is “to help inspire more SMBs … to build brand new businesses,” said Jassy at Amazon India’s flagship event, Smbhav, which was hosted virtually. He added that the new venture fund will build on what the company has done previously in India. In addition, Jassy said that the eCommerce giant plans to bring one million retailers and neighborhood stores online by 2025 through its Local Shops on Amazon program.
Jassy is poised to become the next CEO at Amazon, replacing Jeff Bezos.
Also at the Smbhav event, Amazon announced its new “Spotlight North East” initiative, which aims to bring 50,000 artisans, weavers and small businesses online from the eight states in the North East region of India by 2025. One goal is to boost exports of commodities such as tea, spices and honey from the region.
In January, Amazon said it was “on track” to meet sweeping targets for growth in India that the company announced the year before. Amazon stated that it had already helped create nearly one million jobs in India. In addition, Amazon said it had “digitized” 2.5 million SMBs and “enabled cumulative exports worth $3 billion.”