Amazon Launchpad, the one-stop shop for unique and unexpected finds from startups, has announced UK based small business, WeWALK, as the 2021 ‘Startup of the Year’
The ‘Startup of the Year’ has been awarded a €100,000 prize, with four other winners from around Europe each receiving a €10,000 grant, free access to Amazon Launchpad for one year and much more
To celebrate the Innovation Awards, Amazon Launchpad will run a 48 hour “Innovation Day” event from today, a curated collection packed with forward thinking products designed by the winner and finalists available to shop at amazon.co.uk/launchpad/innovationawards
LUXEMBOURG—Today, 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 2021 Startup of The Year
WeWALK, UK – The founders believe that the visually impaired community, which consists of more than 250 million people worldwide, were being left behind by technology. The walking cane had not evolved in hundreds of years. Headquartered in London with its team spread across London and Istanbul, WeWALK is using modern technology to transform the traditional cane into a ‘Smart Cane’ to help visually impaired people feel safer and better navigate the world around them. What began with a successful crowdfunding campaign, WeWalk has gone on to raise $750,000 in April 2020 and with users coming from 59 different countries.
Callaly, UK – This British period care start up was born when a gynaecologist, garment technologist, and investment banker came together to create the biodegradable “tampliner”. The invention single-handedly changed the menstrual product landscape by injecting innovation to a category that had not seen change since its inception in 1930’s. After over seven years of intensive research and development, patent and design registrations, market testing and soft launches, Callaly fully commercialised in early 2020 and within just a year, they are ready to take on the world using Amazon as a launchpad.
CasusGrill – Denmark – Carsten Brøgger, Founder of CasusGrill, re-designed the aluminium disposable grill and made it green. Made of cardboard, untreated bamboo, briquettes of bamboo and lava rocks – the grill is 100% natural. It’s a truly unique product as bamboo is a sustainable material – the plant is fast-growing, naturally thrives without pesticides and fertilisers, absorbs CO2 and produces up to 35% more oxygen than trees.
Påhoj – Sweden – The Påhoj bike seat and stroller is a tool for environmental and social change. It promotes a healthier and more flexible lifestyle, making it easier for parents and carers to go biking and walking with their children. With Påhoj’s unique dual functionality and clever design, customers don’t have to choose between the two activities. The product is a great way to manifest healthy habits from childhood to adulthood.
PlanetCare – Slovenia – Mojca Zupan, founding CEO of PlanetCare is on a mission to stop microplastic pollution that pollutes the oceans and harms our health. 35% of all microplastics in the ocean come from washing machines. PlanetCare is the first and only washing machine filter with 90% efficiency in keeping plastic microfibre pollution out of wastewater before it goes from the machine down the drain and into oceans. The filter installs easily and operates with reusable cartridges for a fully closed loop service – 95% is reused and 5% is recycled.