Amazon Announces Second Alexa Accelerator, Expands Program Globally
This morning Amazon announced the second Alexa Accelerator following the success of last year’s inaugural program. Like its predecessor, the accelerator is paid for by the $100 million Alexa Fund and is managed by TechStars. The goal is “to uncover Alexa innovation in categories such as smart home, entertainment, finance, enterprise, communications, automobile and transportation, health and wellness, connected learning, connected devices, hardware components, and other enabling technologies.” In short, to develop technology to make Alexa even smarter.
Alexa Accelerator Goes Global
There are a few changes this year however. First, Amazon will select up to 13 companies to participate. Last year, only nine companies were chosen. Another difference is that Amazon is going global with its second accelerator. Last year, the 13-week program was held exclusively in Seattle. This year, 3 companies will have the option to work from the TechStars London office.
The expansion of the Alexa Accelerator program is just one piece of Amazon’s global initiative for Alexa. Last November, the company announced it would provide an additional $100 million in venture capital for the Alexa Fund to target international investment opportunities. This new global initiative is no surprise given Google and Google Home’s quick expansion to six countries this year and supports more than twice as many languages as Alexa. Amazon’s additional Alexa Fund investment demonstrates that the company acknowledges this weakness and needs to invest in Alexa to take its voice assistant to the global market despite the fact that the Amazon Echo now ships to 89 countries across the world.
Applications are due on April 8 and the program will conclude with Demo Day in October of this year. If you’re interested in applying, click here.