Amazon recently announced a US$250 million venture fund for startups and entrepreneurs. The fund will be focused on digitizing Indian SMBs and will drive innovation in the healthcare and agriculture sectors to improve healthcare access for people and farmer productivity by using technology.
Through this new venture fund, called the Amazon Venture Smbhav Fund, the ecommerce giant wants to invest in tech startups that help Indian SMBs move online where they can sell and expand to wider audiences while automating and digitizing their operations. Amazon has yet not shared that how long it plans to take to run through this fund.
According to the incoming CEO of Amazon, Andy Jassy, the small and medium size businesses play a vital role in the country’s economy and with this fund they plan to accelerate the small and medium businesses in India. He also announced that the company plans to bring one million offline retailers and neighborhood stores on Amazon India by online platform by 2025 through the company’s Local Shops on Amazon initiative.
Amazon also announced “Spotlight North East” initiative to get 50,000 small businesses, weavers, and artisans online from the eight states of the North East region of the country by 2025. The focus will also be laid on boosting exports of key commodities such as honey, spices, and tea from the northeast region of India.
In the SMB sector with this new venture fund, Amazon plans to invest in tech startups that will assist in digitizing the small and medium businesses for demand access, supply chain efficiency, and efficient operations. The Venture Fund will help in creating solutions to empower Indian SMBs to start, manage, and grow their business online. This would help them expand business globally by exporting to international consumers. The investment in the startups will also help seed and scale up innovation in the segment.
The two main focus areas of this fund are the healthcare and agriculture sectors. In the healthtech sector, with this venture fund Amazon aims to invest in startups that are using technology for telemedicine, doctor’s assistance, and e-diagnosis. This include digitizing operations of healthcare providers such as diagnostic labs, specialty doctor clinics, independent primary care clinics or pharmacy value chain for improving access to a bigger patient base irrespective of geographical boundaries. It will also help them in making AI-powered treatment recommendations.
In the agritech sector, the fund will invest in Indian startups that are leveraging technology to bring the best produce to consumers. The initiative will give better accessibility of agri-inputs to the farmers and will offer customized agronomy solutions to them to improve productivity. Additionally, distributing insurance and credit facilities to farmers and helping in building efficient farm to fork supply chains to reduce food wastage will also be covered under the program. Besides that, Amazon’s Venture Fund will continue to invest in tech-startups focusing on other sectors as well to make a positive impact on the livelihoods of the Indian SMBs.
All these initiatives are being taken as part of the ecommerce major’s long-term commitment to unravel the endless possibilities of digital India.