Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund to spur further innovation in logistics

The ecommerce giant Amazon announces its plans to invest $1 billion in companies developing technologies in logistics, supply chain management and safety, as the retailer seeks to keep an eye on new ideas that might aid its core business.

The Seattle company last week said it was launching the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund, a venture investment program that will back companies “of all stages” working on technology to increase e-commerce delivery speeds and improve the experience of workers in warehousing and logistics.

Alex Ceballos Encarnacion, vice president of worldwide corporate development, said in an Amazon blog post that target companies may work with Amazon, or opt to grow on their own. “We’re excited to help advance these technologies as online shopping becomes even more important to people who are looking for more convenience and time savings,” he said.

Amazon has a long track record of buying stakes in other companies, including several Amazon partners. This strategy helps the ecommerce giant explore new and emerging technologies, and share in the profits from the growth that can follow a relationship with the gigantic retailer.

As per amazon, the fund’s first round of investment will focus on wearable technology that enhances safety in fulfillment buildings and robotics “designed to complement and coexist with people’s lives.

With a focus on companies of all stages from early startup to more established companies, AIIF looks for companies developing innovative technologies to help advance and improve key areas in fulfillment operations, logistics, and supply chain management, such as safety. These could include companies working in the areas of robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomy, and other emerging technologies, amazon said.

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