Amazon is creating a $1 billion venture investment program called the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund (AIIF) to spur and support innovation in supply chain, customer fulfillment, and logistics. As customers increasingly shop online and look for even faster delivery, Amazon continues to invent new ways to raise the bar on customer and employee experience while working with other companies focused on those fields.
Amazon has a history of investing in technologies within its operations that support employees and customers, like artificial intelligence, robotics, and other cutting-edge inventions. Some past improvements include robotic arms that perform repetitive tasks and new products in autonomous movement that can help transport larger items. The Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund will invest in companies that imagine solutions that incrementally increase delivery speed and further improve the experience of employees working in warehousing and logistics fields.
The Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund’s first round of investments is focused on wearable technology that enhances safety in fulfillment buildings and robotics designed to complement and coexist with people’s lives. Below are details about those innovations and the companies behind them:
- Modjoul: Founded in 2016 and based in Greenville, South Carolina, Modjoul is developing wearable safety technology that enables real-time, personalized alerts and recommendations aimed at reducing injuries, most notably musculoskeletal issues.
- Vimaan: Founded in 2017 and based in Santa Clara, California, Vimaan is developing computer vision and artificial intelligence solutions engineered to improve inventory management.
- Agility Robotics: Founded in 2015 and based in Corvallis, Oregon, Agility Robotics is developing a bi-pedal walking robot, Digit, that addresses the mobility limitations of traditional robots so that machines can assist people wherever they are.
- BionicHIVE: Founded in 2014 and based in Israel, BionicHIVE is developing an autonomous robotic solution that can adapt to existing shelving racks and boxes in warehouses and is capable of floor to ceiling functionality.
- Mantis Robotics: Founded in 2020 and based in San Francisco, Mantis Robotics is developing a tactile robotic arm that uses sensor technology to cohesively work alongside people.
The AIIF will focus on companies of all stages, from early stage startups to more established companies that are developing innovative technologies to help advance and improve key areas in fulfillment operations, logistics, and supply chain management, such as safety. These could include companies working in the areas of robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomy, and other emerging technologies.