Amazon Launchpad has announced the winner of the ‘Startup of the Year’ award as part of the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Awards, a free-to-enter competition designed to support innovative European startups. The winner, UK based small business, WeWALK, creator of the revolutionary smart cane, has been awarded a €100,000 prize to support the future growth of the business.
The Startup of the Year and four other winners, CasusGrill from Denmark, Pahoj from Sweden, PlanetCare from Slovenia and Callaly from the UK were chosen from over 1,800 applications from 26 different European countries. All of the winners received a €10,000 grant to invest into their growing businesses as well as 1-year free access to Amazon Launchpad.~
Winning products were initially judged by a panel consisting of five industry experts, both within and outside of Amazon, including Andy Fishburn, Managing Director, Virgin StartUp; Greg Williams, Editor-In-Chief, Wired UK; Jamie Siminoff, CEO, Ring; Aditi Singh, General Manager, Amazon Launchpad Europe; and Ryan Frank, Head of Marketplace, Amazon Spain. Submissions were judged on their aesthetic, design and uniqueness as well as social, ecological, economical and sustainability factors. Customers were then invited to vote for their favourite of the winning businesses as their ‘Startup of the Year’.
To celebrate the Innovation Awards, Amazon Launchpad will run a 48 hour “Innovation Day” event, a curated storefront spotlighting the forward-thinking products designed by WeWALK and the other four winners. Customers will also find a host of other innovative products on offer from startups across Europe in categories ranging including Personal Care, Consumer Electronics and Home.
“We’re delighted to announce WeWALK as Startup of the Year – their forward-thinking and unique mobility solution for the visually impaired is a fantastic product, and we’re thrilled that customers recognised this as they cast their votes. Innovation is part of our culture. We continue to invent on behalf of customers, but we’re also a destination for innovative new products from small businesses,” said Xavier Flamand, Director EU Seller Services. “Amazon Launchpad has supported over 2,000 startups in Europe. These awards demonstrate both our commitment to supporting emerging brands and how we love to delight our customers with new and innovative products.”
Since its launch in 2015, Amazon Launchpad has worked with over 200 leading venture capital firms, startup accelerators and crowd-funding platforms to help startups launch products. There are now around 13,000 products from startups available at amazon.co.uk/launchpad in over 30 categories including furniture, electronics, fashion and beauty.
Prime Day 2021, which took place last month was the biggest two-day period ever for Amazon’s third-party sellers globally, nearly all of which are small and medium-sized businesses, growing even more than Amazon’s retail business. Customers spent over US$1.9 billion on more than 70 million small business products during the promotional period, more than a 100% year-on-year increase on sales compared to the Prime Day October 2020 promotion.
The ‘Smart Cane’
WeWALK, UK – The founders believe that the visually impaired community, consisting of more than 250 million people worldwide, could do more with the right technology. This starts with the white cane, a critical tool for visually impaired mobility that has not evolved in hundreds of years. Headquartered in London with offices in San Francisco and Istanbul, WeWALK is using modern technology to transform the traditional cane into a ‘Smart Cane’ to help visually impaired people feel safer, move more independently, and better navigate the world around them. The WeWALK team includes visually impaired members that drive product development through lived experience. WeWALK is now Series A fundraising after having reached users from over 59 different countries.