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Amazon launches its second mini-store for hardware startups

Amazon launches its second mini-store for hardware startups

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There's a new way for hardware startups to get their goods onto Amazon. Today, the company unveiled Amazon Launchpad, a new digital storefront devoted entirely to hardware startups and crowdfunded products. Launchpad currently stocks more than 200 products, including an electric skateboard, Automatic's car monitoring device, and a $300 mechanized wine-bottle opener billed as a "wine access system."

The purpose of the new store is to level the playing field for hardware startups, giving them access to Amazon's shipping and inventory infrastructure, as well as the company's significant internal marketing systems. "We handle inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service, and more," Amazon VP Jim Adkins said in a statement, "allowing [companies] to focus their efforts on the innovation that results in more cool products." Some of those products have been funded through traditional startup channels like Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator, while others have been funded through crowdfunding campaigns on IndieGogo. There's a specific subsection for IndieGogo products, but otherwise little effort is made to distinguish the two.

This isn't the first time Amazon has built a storefront for hardware startups. In March, the company launched Amazon Exclusives, a digital storefront featuring a number of Kickstarter projects as well as products developed on ABC's Shark Tank, all sold exclusively on Amazon. Launchpad will coexist alongside Exclusives, with more focus on VC- and incubator-funded goods and no insistence on exclusivity. The new platform will also face significant competition from outside Amazon. In June, Etsy launched its own crowdfunding platform, called Fund On Etsy, designed to let product makers move from fundraising to retail sales without leaving the site.