Why Amazon Is Teaming Up with This Startup

A picture shows the logo of the online retailer Amazon dispalyed on computer screens in London on December 11, 2014. Online retail giant Amazon scored its first ever Golden Globe nominations -- a breakthrough in its bid to catch up with streaming pioneer Netflix. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Leon Neal — AFP/Getty Images

A year ago, Amazon debuted LaunchPad, a section within the online retailer where customers can find products made by startups. Now, the company is getting extra help in showing customers the section’s best products.

On Wednesday, Amazon (AMZN) and Product Hunt, an online leaderboard for tech products, announced they’re teaming up to help customers find the best or newest gadgets available on LaunchPad. The partnership will have Amazon denote products that have been posted on Product Hunt’s website to highlight their popularity, or lack thereof, among its community of tech enthusiasts, while Product Hunt will directly link those LaunchPad gadgets to Amazon’s website, making it easier for users who wish to purchase them. Users will also be able to design and feature lists of top LaunchPad products on both its website and Amazon’s.

Example of how Product Hunt users can directly head to Amazon to purchase the Eero Wi-Fi router. (Courtesy of Product Hunt)
Courtesy of Product Hunt


“For an Amazon customer, it will be a new way to explore,” Product Hunt founder and CEO Ryan Hoover told Fortune, adding that the badges on the online retail giant’s website noting a particular product’s Product Hunt popularity will provide “social proof.”

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Hoover founded Product Hunt in late 2013 as a service for enthusiasts of apps and gadgets to share and discover new tech products. Every day, the leaderboard publishes new products suggested by its users, and also lets them vote on their favorites and post comments. Over the past year, it has expanded to include books, games, and podcasts.

The partnership comes at a critical time for Product Hunt as it has recently begun to experiment with ways to generate revenue from its users. Now, when visitors to its website end up purchasing a LaunchPad product, Product Hunt will earn an affiliate fee, matching those in Amazon’s existing affiliate program, said Hoover.

See also: Product Hunt Aims to Become the Oprah Book Club of Silicon Valley

For Amazon, working with Product Hunt is a way to earn cool points among startup fans and tech enthusiasts who appreciate new gadgets developed by ambitious, nascent companies. Amazon initially approached Product Hunt before it even released LaunchPad, though the startup wasn’t yet ready to work with big companies, said Hoover.

Since then, it has shifted its focus and recently teamed up with General Electric (GE) to let its users buy certain products right from its website, shortening the steps in making a purchase.

“We are working hard every day to make Amazon LaunchPad the go-to destination for customers who are interested in the wide variety of products available from up-and-coming startups,” head of LaunchPad Sateesh Srinivasan said in a statement. “By teaming up with Product Hunt, we can even better understand what is new and exciting to their community of technology enthusiasts.”

See also: Amazon Just Bought This Gaming Company

Helping Amazon’s customers find interesting products in its LaunchPad section is part of a larger effort Product Hunt is working on for its own website. Though he declined to share details, Hoover said his team is working to release new features and a design that will help users discover products relevant to their interests beyond each day’s new content. Ideally, it would be able to highlight older apps and gadgets they wouldn’t necessarily immediately see on the website, since it is currently designed to showcase users’ newest submissions.

Product Hunt raised more than $7 million in funding in 2014, but it has no immediate plans to raise more, according to Hoover. “We’ve been really conservative in our burn rate,” he said of the company’s monthly expenses.

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