Amazon Alexa Accelerator Announces 2018 Class of Startups
Amazon has posted the nine participants accepted to its 2018 Alexa Accelerator class operated by TechStars. The Alexa Accelerator was started in 2017 and is supported by the $200 million Alexa Fund investment vehicle. Pulse Labs founders outlined the Alexa Accelerator three-month program in a recent Voicebot Podcast episode. They said the first month involves meeting with relevant mentors and contacts in Amazon to gather information on how best to position the startup solution. The second month is about building out the solution and the final month is preparing for demo day and fundraising. Dylan Zwick, co-founder and chief product officer for Pulse Labs commented:
What I want to stress is the Alexa Accelerator is a really ideal combination. If you’re working in the voice space, you’ve [immediately] got a lot of support, a lot of access to teams within Amazon and on Alexa in particular…you can work with them very closely.
Broad Geographic Representation, Mix of Consumer and Enterprise Solutions
This year’s Alexa Accelerator class includes a wide geographic representation of new startups. Three startups are from Seattle and San Francisco, but the remaining six are from Boston, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, London and Tel Aviv. Amazon and Tech Stars are casting a wider net than the west coast startup ecosystem. And, they are also looking at both consumer and enterprise oriented businesses. The class of 2018 includes:
- BlueTag (NY, NY): Voice-based experiences for in-store consumer engagement
- Conservation Labs (Pittsburgh, PA): A smart water meter that can help consumers save money
- HelixAI (Atlanta, GA): Voice assistants for scientific laboratories to facilitate hands free information access and safety
- Imageous (Seattle, WA): A smart facilities assistant for commercial buildings
- Jargon (Seattle, WA): Conversational translation services
- Novalia (London, UK): Touch-based consumer engagement technology that apparently is venturing into voice
- Presence AI (San Francisco, CA): Currently positioned as AI-powered texting for business, is now referring to AI-powered conversations for small businesses to replace phone calls
- Unruly Studios (Boston, MA): A STEM experience for kids that combines play with learning to code.
- Voiceitt (Tel Aviv, Israel): Automated speech recognition solution to enable people with speech impairments to communicate and be understood by voice
A Path to Fundraising
Past Alexa Accelerator participants from the 2017 class have shown significant success in capturing follow-on financing. Sensible Object raised $3.2 million in June, Novel Effect raised $3 million also in June, and Pulse Labs closed a $2.5 million round in February. A key metric for any accelerator is what percentage of their portfolio graduates to seed and A round financings and over what time period. Progress thus far appears to be good for the 2017 participants. The 2018 Alexa Accelerator class will complete their program with a Demo Day on October 9th.