Merchant Innovation

Is Amazon Building An Inventor Platform?

It seems that Amazon will be taking no break in their attempt to become the online “everything” business in 2015, and is now developing a “secret” inventor platform aimed at helping create (and eventually exclusively sell) the next generation of electronic hardware.

The proof, according to recent reporting in re/code, is in the job postings.  One listing mentions a new venture tasked with creating the “best end-to-end platform for startups.” In another job description, the venture is referred to as “a new platform with inventors.”

“Are you inspired by inventors who develop and launch new products? Do you want to market the world’s best end-to-end platform for startups? Do you see the opportunity to connect these entrepreneurs with Amazon’s hundreds of millions of customers through creative and strategic marketing?” asks the one listing for a senior marketing manager.

This all seems to support a new stated goal of Amazon’s: fostering ties with new hardware makers developing the next generation of promising  robotic toys, fitness and health gadgets with the ultimate goal of developing Amazon as those new electronics’ main sales channel.

“They are trying to figure out how to engage with startups in new product categories in a more thoughtful way,” one source said.

This new push coms as Amazon attempts to compete with more specialized online  marketplaces like Etsy and The Grommet, which are seeing big success tapping into the next generation of tech entrepreneurs who are getting a hold of things like 3-D printing and crowdfunding to get products to market faster and cheaper. This move on Amazon’s part to create an electronics tech-focused investor platform is likely an attempt to jump into this market segment before it has a chance to take off on a rival distribution channel, hypothesizes re/code.

Apart from providing funding to start-ups, Amazon could also be looking to bring start-ups’ leadership in-house for mentoring, according to one former employee with whom re/code spoke. The e-commerce giant might also be looking to compete more directly with sitess like Kickstarter and Indiegogo by helping promising entrepreneurs raise funds.

At this point, Amazon’s not saying, though they do seem to be carrying on in quietly building a consumer tech inventor platform.

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