Amazon launched Thursday a $1 billion fund to support supply chain, fulfilment, and logistics startups at all stages.
To increase delivery speed and improve warehouse and logistics employee experience, Amazon’s vice president of international corporate development, Alex Ceballos Encarnacion, announced the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund on his blog.
Amazon’s growing investing activities includes the fund. With $2 billion to invest in climate technologies by 2020, Amazon also runs the Alexa Fund, which has invested in speech recognition technology among other areas.
Among the new fund’s investments is Modjoul, a wearable safety technology business that offers alerts and advice to reduce injuries including musculoskeletal diseases and strains and sprains.
As one of the most prevalent warehouse injuries, founder Jeff Bezos has stated that Amazon must seek strategies to reduce MSDs among new employees. Amazon has committed to become “Earth’s Safest Place to Work” after rising criticism from lawmakers, advocacy organisations, and even its own employees.
Amazon said three other businesses in the initial round of financing are developing robots to “complement and coexist with people’s lives.”
Ten years ago, it bought Kiva Systems, which made warehouse wheeled robots. Amazon has since introduced robotic fulfilment centres to speed up consumer deliveries. Last year, it revealed four warehouse robots it’s testing to cut labor-intensive movements.