E-commerce giant Amazon has announced a $250 million venture fund investment in Indian entrepreneurs and startups. Amazon plans to mainly focus on the digitization of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the key market overseas. Andy Jassy, the incoming CEO of Amazon on Thursday via virtual event, said that small and medium businesses are the lifeblood and engines of economies, and Amazon is passionate about accelerating growth in these businesses.
This announcement has come amidst the heat faced by existing American e-commerce group investors from government bodies. Several American e-commerce groups had previously invested approximately $6.5 billion in Indian small and medium-sized businesses.
Amazon has named this new venture fund Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund. Through this, it plans to help startups that work toward helping small businesses sell online, come online, digitize and automate their operations so they can cater to customers across the globe. As of now, Amazon has not shared the details of this venture fund lifecycle.
Amazon to invest in healthcare & Agri-tech
Amazon has invested around $10 million in a three-year-old Gurgaon-based startup, M1xchange. M1xchange works for MSMEs by operating invoice discounting marketplace exchanges. The company connects financiers and banks with MSMEs through marketplace exchange. With the help of M1xchange, MSMEs are able to receive financing at better rates and assign their invoice to a financier or bank, thus helping them solve the challenge of payments. This is Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund’s first investment.
Healthcare and Agriculture are also two areas where Amazon is focusing with its Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund. However, Amazon said that it is also open to investing in tech startups from other sectors, provided their work is with SMBs. Amazon is also looking to invest in an agri-tech startup that is focusing on leveraging technology to make agriculture-based inputs more accessible to farmers, improve the product to consumers, reduce food wastage and provide insurance and credit to farmers. Whereas for the healthcare sector, Amazon wishes to invest in a company that enables AI-powered treatment recommendations, e-diagnosis and telemedicine for healthcare providers.
Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund
Amazon made this announcement of investment in Indian startups in an event, Smbhav (possible in Hindi). It was an annual 4-day virtual event. During this event, Amazon also spoke about its initiative, “Spotlight North East,” through which it aims to bring weavers, 50,000 artisans, and small businesses online from across eight states of North East India by 2025 so the exports of spices, tea and honey from the region can be boosted.
During the first edition of Smbhav, Amazon as per reports, announced that it would be investing $1 billion to digitize 10 million SMBs.The company said earlier this month that it created 300,000 jobs in India and enabled exports for made-in-India goods worth $3 billion.
Amazon Marketplace in India
As per reports, the company currently has more than 50000 Kirana (neighbourhood stores) and offline retailers on its platform. Amazon marketplace. Around 250,000 new sellers are also a part of the platform. Amazon announced that it plans to onboard 1 million neighbourhood stores and offline retailers by 2025 on the Amazon program.
Several global technology giants including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have invested in startups across India in recent years. Amazon, too, had earlier backed a number of firms, such as ride-hailing startup Shuttl, and MyGlamm. Last month, it acquired Perpule, a retail startup for about $20 million.