From the top · 16 November 2015

Amazon Launchpad unveiled in the UK to showcase British tech startups

Amazon wants to showcase its support for UK tech startups with its Launchpad
Amazon wants to showcase its support for UK tech startups with its Launchpad

Amazon has launched a new platform intending to help UK tech startups sell and market their products.

The Financial Times outlined that Launchpad – which has been usable in the US since July – will serve as a shop window for new UK businesses looking to reach a wider range of consumers. Amazon’s tagline online says it curates “the cutting-edge” so its customers can discover “unexpected and fresh new products from today’s brightest startups”.

The platform will partner with venture capital groups including Andreessen Horowitz as well as crowdfunding sites like Crowdcube, in order to find tech firms.

The ecommerce giant said it would then promote their products on a specific section of the Amazon UK website, helping to provide marketing support, manage inventory and help distribute products through the delivery network. In exchange, Amazon will take an undisclosed cut of the startups’ sales.

Christopher North, MD of Amazon.co.uk, said: “We know from talking to startups that bringing a new product to market can be just as challenging as building it.”

Launchpad will provide support to startups “so they can focus on inventing on behalf of customers”. Its launch also ties in with the run-up to Christmas to help small businesses boost their profile, displaying products that would otherwise likely be overlooked by its millions of consumers.

Products that will be available on the special site, include the Kano children’s computer kit, iKettles – the WiFi-enabled kettles, radiator fans from Radfan and the Cyanogen smartphones from Wileyfox. Many of those featured will have raised money on crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo.

Radfan's page features a brief Q&A with its founders
Radfan’s page features a brief Q&A with its founders

The site’s additional marketing for the firms also extends to a short “about” section for the startups featured, with a brief Q&A.

The unveiling of the UK Launchpad comes as Amazon’s expansion of operations within the UK unfolds. In early 2016, it will move to new offices in east London, with space for around 5,000 employees.

Amazon, along with numerous other companies, hasn’t been the most popular of big businesses with small UK firms, coming in for criticism due to its low tax regime.

In May, the online retailer began to pay tax on sales to its UK customers in Britain, as opposed to Luxembourg as it had been before.

The Welsh town of Crickhowell recently hit the headlines for its novel approach to protesting the behaviour of multinational giants when it came to paying tax – its local traders came together to create a DIY tax plan to take the whole town offshore.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

Business development