If we’ve ever met to talk startups, you’ve heard me mention Techstars once or twice (okay maybe a hundred times). I’m like an alumni who bleeds the Techstars green, but when you ask me what year I went through the program, I surprise you with my answer, “never… but it’s complicated.”
Over the past seven years I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Chris Devore and Andy Sack, the current and former MDs of the Techstars Seattle program respectively.
As part of the program’s selection committee, I’ve reviewed hundreds of applications and met face to face with nearly 300 companies.
Most importantly, I’ve been able to work with and mentor about 100 founders whose experiences have immeasurably enriched my entrepreneurial journey, especially during those first two years when my company, Simply Measured, shared an office with the program.
At the core of Techstars is the principle “give first,” which I’ve experienced comprehensively since first being welcomed into the Techstars family.
Techstars has foundationally shaped who I am as an entrepreneur and investor, and has taught me how to be a valuable member of any community. With that, this summer I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to give back and learn in a new way, as Techstars Managing Director of the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars.
The era of voice is just beginning, and my goal is to create, support and cultivate a vibrant community of startups shaping the future of how humans interact with machines through voice. And do so the Techstars way, founder first, in a city that’s experiencing rapid growth across every sector. With the Alexa Accelerator, we’re adding more fuel to Seattle’s powerful entrepreneurial engine.
We’re looking both for founders who know the space, as well as those who are just dreaming about it. Alexa is just getting started and voice technologies are going to change how we build products and solve problems in ways that are hard to even imagine today, which is what I’m the most interested in.
That being said, there are some specific areas of opportunity for startups to thrive in the accelerator that I’m extremely excited about:
For any of you who own an Amazon Echo, this should be obvious. I can’t imagine my home today, especially with my four month old infant in my arms much of the time, without Alexa.
Like a lot of consumer experiences we love, voice innovation should follow us to work. Imagine always available hospitality services through voice, or interacting with a manufacturing line like you would your co-worker. The sky is truly the limit here.
While driving my car I feel like I’m in a prison in between stop lights. If only someone would listen to me…
I’m your stereotypical Seattleite who is always looking for new ways to live a fun and healthy lifestyle, but it’s never easy. Imagine if voice could help me easily find information suited to my personal likes and conditions.
Anyone familiar with wearables knows their promise, but also the deficiencies in trying to juggle using them alongside your phone. Sometimes it makes sense, but other times not so much. Imagine the possibilities with voice to help in this disconnect.
Amazon and Techstars are ready to pour everything we’ve got into enabling founders to define the future of voice. Today, Seattle is known by many in the tech world as Cloud City, but it’s my mission to turn Seattle into Voice City. That mission begins today with the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Applications are open and we’d love to hear about what you’re up to.
If you’re a startup interested in learning more about the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, I’ll be hitting the road to meet the world’s best entrepreneurs. Be sure to sign up for office hours and attend an upcoming info session near you:
New York City | March 9 | Sign up for office hours
You can also join us online for a live AMA on March 15th to learn more and get your questions answered, register here.
Applications for the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars close April 23rd. Apply today.