Amazon Is Starting a New Contest to Find the Most Innovative Startup Companies

By Elijah Labby Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Amazon, the world’s leading online marketplace offering for sale just about anything that one can find in a physical store, is setting its sights on the next big thing by creating a competition where a startup company can compete for funding and exposure.

Europe has a thriving startup economy. According to market research firm Statista, investment in the European startup business had more than doubled from €6 million ($7.2 million) to almost €16 million ($19 million) from 2016 to 2019. That number is unlikely to slow, and Amazon is eager to get in on the craze and spur innovation while doing so.

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How the Business Competition Works

It works like this: an innovative startup company selling a product that, according to Amazon, doesn’t “just belong in the future, but shape it” applies to enter the contest. Once in, a panel of judges — including Greg Williams, editor-in-chief of technology magazine WIRED UK, and Jamie Siminoff, founder and CEO of Ring — determines which products meet the criteria to win awards.

The Startup Company Awards

The best product wins €100,000 ($119,200) a month to be featured on the company website, and a permanent trophy badge certifying that the startup company has won Amazon’s contest next to the product listing.

Four more startup companies get €10,000 ($12,000) each, a similar silver trophy badge, and a month of being featured on the website. Fifteen others get a bronze trophy badge.

Williams told Wired that he was excited to participate in judging the startup company contest and bringing about innovation in the consumer products space.

“I'm excited to be participating in the Amazon Innovation Awards,” he said. “The energy and fresh thinking of European founders has established a vibrant ecosystem. Showcasing these entrepreneurs and their products is an exciting prospect.”

He’s not alone. Siminoff, who created the now-ubiquitous Ring video doorbell business aimed at giving homeowners peace of mind about who’s visiting their houses, said that judging the contest was an exciting opportunity.

“I can’t wait to dive in with the inspiring group of emerging brands that are coming to the inaugural Amazon Launchpad Innovation Awards,” he told Wired. “As someone who is no stranger to invention competitions, I’m honoured to join the Amazon seller community in finding the best innovations that delight customers and improve lives.”

What the Company Contest Means for Amazon’s Business

The contest is not only a way for the online retail business to stay relevant in a sector that is constantly being disrupted, but it’s also a way for Amazon to push further into a European area of business in which it still performs more or less dismally.

Amazon’s business successes have, thus far, vastly outnumbered its failures. And now, it’s hoping to pass those successes on to others (and take a bit for itself).

About the Author

Headshot of Elijah Labby

Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.

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