Applications are now open for the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars. We’re excited to team up again with the Alexa Fund to run our second class and we are matching the growth in the space and opportunity by expanding this year’s program.
On top of up to 10 companies that we’ll be working with in Q3 2018 here in Seattle, we’ll also be selecting up to three international companies that will spend their time in both our London and Seattle offices. This will help us leverage the Alexa Fund’s recently announced $100MM in venture capital to support global investment opportunities.
Amazing First Year
We had a very successful inaugural class of the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars and the future of our alumni is bright. For example, Pulse Labs recently announced its first funding round, while others like Sensible Object, Play Impossible, Novel Effect, and Botnik have been covered in the likes of CNET, GeekWire, Mashable and WIRED for their innovation with voice. We’re excited about what’s ahead for all of them in the months to come.
What’s New in Voice Technology?
Voice technology has evolved considerably since we announced the program back in 2016. At the time, Alexa was available on three Amazon devices. Today, there is a whole family of Amazon Echo and Alexa devices, and more than 50 Alexa-enabled products built by other device makers. Alexa is now truly everywhere… even within my own home, my family has grown from a household of two Echos to 10 (four of them with screens).
As Alexa has grown and evolved, so too have the enabling technologies that make the service possible. This, in turn, has created a whole new set of opportunities for startups.
In addition to domains such as connected home, entertainment and speech science, we see a number of new themes emerging that represent opportunity.
With the launch of Alexa for Business, there is also new opportunity for startups to help bring Alexa into the workplace. Twine was a part of our 2017 program and was an early launch partner for the Alexa for Business program. We now know what Alexa looks like in the home, but what about in a conference room, office lobby, or at your desk?
On the Go
Customers are increasingly taking Alexa with them on the go – whether that’s in their car, out on a run, with them on vacation – and companies are innovating to bring voice to wearables, mobile phones, connected fitness experiences and so much more. We can’t wait to see the next creative ideas startups will have for extending Alexa beyond the home.
Family-Focused Technology and Connected Play
Echo devices are designed for the whole family to use together. With the Verified Parental Consent functionality launched at the end of 2017, startups can now develop new voice experiences for the whole family to enjoy. Companies from our 2017 program like Play Impossible, Novel Effect, and Sensible Object are building new voice experiences for this segment.
Enabling Technologies and Developer Tools
As brands and businesses flock to Alexa in 2018, there’s an enormous opportunity for startups that can help make the transition to voice easier. Like Pulse Labs and Aspinity from our last program, we are interested in startups who bring the picks and shovels that enable products and services which incorporate voice in compelling new ways, following in the footsteps of Levi Strauss during the California Gold Rush.
We look forward to meeting the amazing startups that will join us for year two. Please join us over the next couple months in your city as the Alexa Accelerator team travels the world.
February 27: Seattle, WA
March 6: San Francisco
March 7: Los Angeles
March 15: London
March 19: Paris
March 25: Tel Aviv
March 27: Online AMA
April 2: New York
April 3: Boston