Amazon has launched Amazon Catalytic Capital, a new initiative to invest $150 million in venture capital funds, accelerators, incubators, and venture studios that provide funding to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, primarily at the pre-seed/seed stage of venture capital funding.
The company will invest in funds that focus on Black, Latino, Indigenous, women, and LGBTQIA+ founders. Amazon expects to support more than 10 funds and more than 200 companies through 2023. In the announcement, Amazon listed four funds that are already recipients of investment dollars.
“We’ve seen incredibly innovative ideas from underrepresented entrepreneurs—from companies offering inclusive health services for women, to startups helping companies mitigate climate impact for underserved communities—and we’re convinced that an inclusive investment strategy leads to better returns and innovation. We want to ensure that these companies and their founders have the same access to capital as anyone else,” said Peter Krawiec, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Development. “We hope that our investment will be catalytic—sparking a force-multiplying effect by inspiring others to invest in these companies, fostering inclusion and innovation, positively impacting communities, and creating generational wealth and financial return.”
In addition to capital, the companies in the funds’ portfolios will receive mentorship from Amazon executives and gain access to resources to support their business and technical strategy. Amazon teams will also work with the start-ups to identify partnership and product collaboration opportunities that could accelerate their growth.
Amazon Catalytic Capital is the latest in a series of Amazon-sponsored initiatives to boost and support early stage, underrepresented entrepreneurs. Amazon Web Services recently launched the AWS Impact Accelerator, investing $30 million in a series of programs designed to help high-potential, pre-seed start-ups led by underrepresented founders succeed. Amazon chose North American start-ups to be part of its 2022 Black Founders Build with Alexa cohort, each receiving a $100,000 Alexa Fund investment, as well as technology support. Additionally, in 2021, Amazon committed $150 million to its Black Business Accelerator, an initiative to help Black business owners succeed as sellers in Amazon’s stores.
Click here to read the Amazon announcement.