retail news in context, analysis with attitude

From CNBC:

"Amazon is launching a $1 billion fund that will back companies 'of all stages' building supply chain, fulfillment and logistics technologies, the company announced Thursday.

"The Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund will focus on new technologies that will 'increase delivery speed and further improve the experience' of warehouse and logistics employees, Alex Ceballos Encarnacion, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide corporate development, wrote in a blog post.

"The fund is one subset of Amazon’s growing investment activity. The e-commerce giant in 2020 launched a $2 billion fund to invest in climate technologies, and it operates the Alexa Fund, which has made investments in speech-recognition technology, among other areas."

And, earlier this week, Amazon Web Services announced it "has committed more than $30 million to early stage startups led by Black, Latino, LGBTQIA+, and women founders as part of its new AWS Impact Accelerator. Over the three-year commitment, AWS will provide funding and guidance for a series of programs that will help these organizations build successful companies. Each qualifying startup receives up to $225,000 in cash and credits, extensive training, mentoring and technical guidance, as well as introductions to Amazon leaders and teams, networking opportunities with potential investors, and ongoing advisory support. Eligible startups can now apply to the first of these programs, the AWS Impact Accelerator for Black Founders."

KC's View:

The lesson here for every retailer, it seems to me, is that a little bit of everybody's budget should be reserved to invest in people and companies that you think have the potential to take you to new places and new levels.  And it all should go to people and companies that are outside your comfort zone, that challenge all your assumptions about how to do business.

They won't all work.  In fact, most of them might not offer any sort of ROI.  But the ones that do will have the potential to be transformational.