Amazon is putting a lot of irons in the fire and diversifying its offerings as new competitors like Jet enter the market. The online shopping giant launched (pardon) Launchpad, a service that will give startups a showcase for their products.
The program doesn't cost anything but sales commissions, but it does require that you have the product ready to ship within 90 days. The platform is supported by a number of big names in the venture capital/crowdfunding business like Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator, Indiegogo, Bolt, and Betaworks to name a few.
Think of some standard startup offerings: Casper's mattress, Soylent's solutions, the usual Kickstarter fare. Now give them a familiar, universal storefront with the perks of selling on Amazon: Prime shipping, a feedback system, and a larger audience. There's even a "meet the team" blurb on the product description page, a touch that feels pretty Kickstarter-ish.
It's not a completely new concept. Launchpad could be seen as a successor to the company's Exclusives section, which provided a marketplace for odd Kickstarter and Shark Tank successes, like the Zackees Turn Signal Glove and the Olloclip phone lenses, both of which premiered as Kickstarter products.
The difference is this: Launchpad promises to act more as a discovery platform with extra marketing tools than a simple shipping proxy, and it'll work effectively as a signal booster.
Something tells me Amazon won't be the go-to avenue for experimental products in the same way that platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become. But if anything, it'll provide some much-needed coverage to creators looking to put their products in front of more consumers' eyes.