Announcing the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars

Techstars is excited to announce our expanded investment in the Seattle ecosystem with the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Offered in partnership with Amazon’s Alexa Fund, this program is designed to support early-stage companies advancing the state-of-the-art in voice-powered technologies, interfaces and applications, with a focus on Alexa domains such as connected home, wearables and hearables, enterprise, communication devices, connected car and wellness.

Applications for the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars will open in January 2017 and the program kicks off in July. Techstars is excited to extend our partnership with Amazon, which has been a Global Network Partner for several years.

Seattle is a global center of excellence for conversational and voice-enabled interfaces, with major commercial and academic research centers including Amazon, the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence driving rapid advances in the field.

Amazon’s Echo family of products has quickly become the world’s most widely-adopted voice-activated computing platform, and the underlying services — Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and Alexa Voice Service (AVS) — are now the most widely embraced developer APIs for adding voice capabilities to any computing service.

Companies selected for this program will enjoy access to the most advanced technologies and will work with accomplished leaders working to advance the capabilities of voice interfaces and their enabling technologies.

The program will operate in the University of Washington’s Startup Hall, an innovation space located on the UW campus and operated in partnership between Techstars and the UW’s CoMotion innovation center.

If you’d like to be notified when applications open, please email us at

The Amazon Web Services Pop-up Loft is Returning to San Francisco on October 1st

AWS architects and engineers will reopen a physical loft in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco on October 1st. The Loft offers Bay Area startups free AWS technical resources to help scale and grow their businesses. Activities include hands-on bootcamps and labs, 1:1 sessions with AWS Solutions Architects, and evening networking events.


Hours and Location

The Loft is at 925 Market Street and doors will be open 10AM to 6PM on weekdays, with select events running until 8PM on weeknights. Check the Loft homepage which includes a calendar, listing all Loft events and activities.

Weekly Activities

Ask an Architect: You can bring questions about AWS architecture, cost optimization, services and features, and anything else AWS-related to a 1:1, 60 minute session with a member of the AWS technical team.

Technical Presentations: AWS Solution Architects, Product Managers, and Evangelists will deliver technical presentations covering topics including Introduction to AWS, Big Data, Compute & Networking, Architecture, Mobile & Gaming, Databases, Operations, and Security.

AWS Technical Bootcamps: These full-day bootcamps include hands-on lab exercises using a live environment with the AWS console. Usually these cost $600, but at the Loft they are offered for free. Bootcamps you can register for include: “Getting Started with AWS,” “AWS Essentials,” “Highly Available Apps,” and “Taking AWS Operations to the Next Level.”


Self-paced, Hands-on Labs: These online technical labs are available for walk-ins throughout the day. Beginner through advanced labs are offered on topics that range from creating Amazon EC2 instances to launching and managing a web application with CloudFormation. Usually $30 each, labs free at the Loft.

Customer Speaking Events and Evening Happy Hours: The most innovative Bay Area startups share the technical and business journeys they undertook as their ideas came to life. CircleCI, NPM, Lyft, Librato, Cotap, Runscope and others will be featured speakers during evening happy hours.

Visit the Loft homepage to learn more and see detailed weekly schedules.

Top 15 GSB Teams: Activate Circle Powered By Amazon Web Services

After tons of hard work and thousands of votes, we have our official top 15 teams for the Activate Circle Powered By Amazon Web Services!


These teams will move on to the formal judging round, in which they will be assessed based on set criteria by a panel of startup experts. Each team is now eligible to win some incredible prizes from Amazon Web Services, including $15,000 in AWS paid services, and more. Stay tuned for the announcement of the Activate Circle winner on December 16th.

Trips ‘N Tips | La Paz, Bolivia – A mobile app where travelers share their experiences, give and receive tips, ensuring that you have the trip of a lifetime.

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X-History | Sendai, Japan – With X-history, you can find webpages you’re looking for by visualization and order of importance from your browser history.

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AppNight | Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain – A smartphone application aimed at enhancing social relationships among nightlife venues customers.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 11.38.04 AM | Barranquilla, Colombia – The easiest way to find an apartment.

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ProjectedU | Newark, Delaware – An application for universities to target information to students in real time.

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Fundstarter | Columbus, Ohio – A crowd funding platform for celebrities to raise funds for their respective charities. Allowing more organizations to do more good in the world.

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RV Sherpa | Laguna Beach, California – A website which helps renters find RVs to rent at a great price. Also, adding over $100 million to the RV rental economy by accepting rental offers for unused or unrented RVs just like airbnb and priceline does for homes and hotel rooms.

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MyBox | London, United Kingdom – Brings all your inboxes into one. It let’s you easily search, find, and share your messages from Facebook, Twitter, SMS, E-Mail and many more.

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Griflens | Toronto, Ontario – An entertainment and educational platform that spans online and offline worlds by combining physical, collectible beads with online interactive storytelling.

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Gymsight | Melbourne, Australia – An app which tracks your workouts, sending live data from gym exercise equipment to your mobile phone.

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Optics4Africa | Accra, Ghana – Connecting Africa to the rest of the world through data.

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Amble | Queensland, Australia – A budding social project that helps you create your perfect outing.

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Tip It | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Gathers people who appreciate good music and talented artists in an online environment. You can meet new talents in music, enjoy live and unique shows and contribute to the artist’s career.

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Life Capsule | Toronto, Canada – A pill box that tweets. If you’re worried that you forget to take your medication or, more importantly, that a loved one needs a reminder to take their medication, you can use our mobile app to “program” the pill box.

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Youtrace | Arrecife, Spain – The place were you can build your emotional biography and send it to the future to share it with the people you love.

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GSB 2013: Introducing the ‘Activate Circle’ powered by Amazon Web Services

A few weeks ago, we announced the 2013 edition of Global Startup Battle and we promised there would more amazing ways to win than ever before. We’re calling these ‘Circles’ (themed battles within GSB), and today we’re thrilled to introduce another.

Please welcome the Activate Circle powered by Amazon Web Services to Global Startup Battle!

AWS Activate-Little-Standby (1)

Every team that uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) during the Global Startup Battle will be eligible to compete for the Activate Circle prizes. They are pretty sweet, and we definitely recommend finding a creative way to use a range of AWS products and services as part of your team over the weekend. (Qualifying list below in ‘Judging Criteria’)

Grand Prize:

  • $15,000 USD in credit from AWS for Paid Services (other than Amazon FPS, reserved instances or support services) to be used within 2 years from the date of award; and
  • 5 Dedicated Tweets from @AWSStartupsInclusion in one blog post on the AWS Blog (
  • An AWS Swag Pack, consisting of an AWS T-Shirt, Stickers, Coffee Mug and Kindle Paperwhite

First Prize:

  • $10,000 USD in credit from AWS for Paid Services (other than Amazon FPS or reserved instances or support services) to be used within 2 years from the date of award; and2 Dedicated Tweets from @AWSStartups
  • An AWS Swag Pack, consisting of an AWS T-Shirt, Stickers, & Coffee Mug
  • Inclusion in one blog post on the AWS Blog (

Second Prize:

  • $5,000 USD in credit from AWS for Paid Services (other than Amazon FPS or reserved instances or support services) to be used within 2 years from the date of award; and
  • 1 Dedicated Tweet from @AWSStartupsInclusion in one blog post on the AWS Blog (
  • An AWS Swag Pack, consisting of an AWS T-Shirt, Stickers, & Coffee Mug

If you want to be a part of Global Startup Battle this year, look for an event in your area that takes place or subscribe to StartupDigest and be notified of all upcoming startup events in your area.

join us, global startup battle

Amazon Web Services is a proud Global Technology Sponsor of Startup Weekend. They provide startups with the tools needed to get up and running quickly at a low cost, allowing you to fail quickly and experiment often.


Prepare to win the Activate Circle from AWS by following the judging criteria below. As we get closer to November, every Circle will have a page at with all the details, official rules, and instructions on how to enter.

Judging Criteria

The Amazon Judging Panel will judge the qualified Entries using the following judging criteria:

  • Implementation and integration of AWS Paid Services: Amazon Glacier, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon ElastiCache, Amazon Elastic MapReduce, Amazon Flexible Payments Service (FPS), Amazon Mechanical Turk, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), Amazon Simple Email Service (SES), Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Redshift, Amazon OpsWorks (collectively, the “Paid Services”)
  • Originality and creativity
  • Likelihood of long-term success and scalability
  • Effectiveness in addressing a need in the marketplace.
  • We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to select fewer than 3 Prize Winners if we do not receive a minimum of 6 eligible and qualified Entries from such category.


Missed the announcement on the Champion’s Circle powered by Google for Entrepreneurs?

What is a ‘Circle’?

A Circle is a themed battle within Global Startup Battle. Based on different ways to qualify, GSB startup teams can enter one or more of the Circles our GSB partners are hosting. Every Circle has it’s own prizes, eligibility requirements, and judging criteria. This means more ways to win and more prizes than in previous years. It also means ALL teams will qualify for one or more of the themed Circle battle, even those not winning on the local level. With Circles, every single Startup Weekend team formed at every event during GSB will have a chance at startup glory! Stay tuned as we reveal all the Circles and how you can qualify for each.