Hobbit Business Review

Amazon’s $1 Billion Innovation Fund Is Looking to Invest in a Specific Kind of Startup

Amazon plans to invest more heavily in startups that bring artificial intelligence to robots this year.

Franziska Bossart, the head of Amazon’s $1 billion industrial innovation fund, told the Financial Times on Wednesday that Amazon will focus on generative AI investments this year, especially on startups that combine generative AI with robotics to support Amazon’s broader business goals. Automating logistics at its warehouses continues to be a priority for the company.

“This year, we want to further establish the Fund as a venture investor of choice for innovative startups of all sizes within the robotics, fulfillment, and logistics space,” Bossart stated in a press release. She further disclosed that AI advances are helping the company automate a “broader range” of responsibilities.

For example, Amazon announced a pilot with Agility Robotics last year to test the company’s bipedal robot in its warehouses.

Agility Robotics’ bipedal robot in action. Credit: Amazon

Bossart told the Financial Times that automation through new hardware and software wouldn’t cut people out entirely, but rather shift jobs away from dangerous or repetitive tasks.

“We’re also a long way off from replacing all humans,” Bossart told the outlet.

Bossart separately stated that Amazon’s innovation fund would expand its investments to autonomous transportation this year, though other companies appear to be taking a different route. Apple, for example, scrapped a decade-long project to create an autonomous, all-electric car on Tuesday.

Amazon’s innovation fund, which was founded in 2022, strives to support startups developing automation tools for warehouses. It directly invests in startups, and currently has 10 listed portfolio companies, seven of which are in the robotics industry.

To apply for the fund, visit here.

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