Amazon invests in startups
Amazon (AMZN) invested in at least six strategic firms over the four months ended July, according to CrunchBase data. The majority of the firms Amazon has recently invested in are in India, the country in which it has lined up more than $5.0 billion to grow its business.
Amazon has also recently invested in India-based Shuttl through its Alexa fund. Shuttl operates an app that lets people reserve seats in shuttle buses. Amazon participated in a funding round that raised $11.0 million for the startup.
Expanding payment service offline
In May, Amazon invested in India-based contactless payment provider ToneTag. Amazon helped raise $6.5 million for the startup, which has the potential to open up the offline market for its Amazon Pay service. Amazon Pay is a rival to PayPal. Amazon has also invested in digital insurance providers and alternative small business lenders in recent months.
Amazon used $2.7 billion in cash on investing activities in the second quarter, according to its quarterly report.
PayPal invests in Indian payments provider
Rivals have not been standing still as Amazon takes positions in strategic companies. Alibaba (BABA) reportedly helped raise $600.0 million for Megvii. Megvii is a startup that builds facial recognition technologies that can be used in running retail stores with fewer workers.
In June, Google (GOOGL) invested $550.0 million in JD.com (JD), a rival to both Amazon and Alibaba. PayPal (PYPL) has followed its launch of domestic operations in India with investors in key startups. The company helped raise $125.0 million for India-based payments and credit startup Pine Labs in May.