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Showing posts tagged with Alexa Fund

October 27, 2017

Rodrigo Prudencio

The nine companies in the inaugural class of the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, capped off their 13-week program with final presentations to investors and the public on October 17 during Demo Day and Demo Night events.

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July 17, 2017

Rodrigo Prudencio

Today, The Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, announced its inaugural class of nine companies focused on products and services ranging from consumer devices to enterprise solutions.

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May 18, 2017

Ashwin Ram

We invite you to join the students on their Alexa Prize journey and help them along the way. You can interact with their socialbots simply by saying “Alexa, let’s chat” on any device with Alexa.

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March 02, 2017

Douglas Booms

Voice technology carries enormous promise, as many people know from their interactions with Alexa, the voice service that powers devices like Amazon Echo. Our teams here at Amazon are working hard to unlock that potential, but innovation requires a collective effort, from large companies like ours to two-person startups, and from casual hobbyists to major academic institutions.

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Today, we’re excited to announce the Alexa Fund Fellowship, a new program to support universities and researchers focused on transformative voice technologies such as text-to-speech (TTS), natural language understanding (NLU), automatic speech recognition (ASR) and conversational artificial intelligence (AI).

Alexa Fund Fellows will receive funding, access to Alexa devices, and mentoring from an Alexa Science team member to develop an undergraduate or graduate curriculum around one or more of these disciplines. The year-long program culminates in a demo day where students can showcase their work for peers, university faculty and members of the Alexa team.

We’re also pleased to announce our first group of university participants: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Johns Hopkins University, University of Southern California (USC), and University of Waterloo. Both Carnegie Mellon and Waterloo have already chosen fellows and begun offering classes for engineering students, while courses from Johns Hopkins and USC will begin in fall 2017.

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December 09, 2016

Ted Karczewski

Voice is one of the most natural ways we can control and interact with the technology we use every day. From the kitchen to the beach, customers have told us that they love the ability to simply ask Alexa to stream their favorite songs, check weather and news reports, and access thousands of Alexa skills.

Today we’re excited to announce the Alexa Fund has added Vesper, developer of the world’s most advanced acoustic sensors, to the Alexa family by contributing to its Series A funding. The $15 million round was led by Boston-based venture capital firm Accomplice, and also includes investment support from Hyperlane, Miraenano Tech, and other undisclosed investors.

Vesper’s MEMS microphones use a patented piezoelectric design to prevent dust, water, solder flux vapors, and more from impacting performance, presenting a unique opportunity for manufacturers to build products for a variety of environments and use cases. Vesper’s latest product, VM1010, is the only wake-on-sound MEMS microphone on the market, introducing the possibility of always-listening devices at next-to-zero power draw.

According to Marwan Boustany, senior technology analyst, MEMS and Sensors, at IHS Markit, “MEMS microphones are growing so quickly because voice interaction is becoming ubiquitous. Microphones such as Vesper’s, which improve ruggedness and performance and support well-matched microphone arrays, may well accelerate many more use cases where voice is the standard user interface.”

As part of its commitment to invest up to $100 million in companies fueling voice technology innovation, the Alexa Fund is constantly looking for startups enabling new and exciting voice-activated capabilities for their customers. Vesper’s technology opens the door to adding Alexa to new device types, such as portable electronics where environmental resistance is an important attribute or where in-home devices require far-field applications for truly hands-free experiences.

Are you the next Alexa Fund business?

The Alexa Fund builds on Amazon’s track record of helping innovative individuals grow ideas into successful products and businesses. Amazon helps accelerate ideas by offering unique benefits to development teams, such as early access to Alexa capabilities and enhanced marketing support across channels.

Learn more about the Alexa Fund and its portfolio of companies on the Amazon Developer Portal.

November 30, 2016

Douglas Booms

For over a year, the Alexa Fund has been investing in promising startups that are fueling speech technology advances and voice application innovation. Today, we are excited to announce the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars. The accelerator is the first of its kind at Amazon and another initiative from the Alexa Fund to champion builders, developers, and entrepreneurs innovating with voice technology.

The Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, will focus on Alexa domains, including, but not limited to, such areas as connected home, wearables and hearables, enterprise, communications, connected car, health and wellness, and enabling technologies.  It will also give us the opportunity to work with exciting startups from around the world, and along the way, we expect to see many new applications and innovations we haven’t even imagined.

The Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, will begin accepting applications to the program in January 2017.  Following a rigorous review process, 10-12 selected finalists will come together in Seattle to take part in an intensive  13-week program, during which time they’ll be matched with mentors from Amazon and Techstars to develop their technologies and business models.  The program begins in July 2017 and comes to an eventfulclose in October 2017 with the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars Demo Day, giving the companies the opportunity to showcase their products and meet with investors.

The Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is part of the fast-growing Alexa Fund, which now includes 22 investments in companies that range from early- to late-stage.  To share more about the accelerator, program leaders from the Alexa Fund and Techstars will host information sessions in places like Seattle, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, London, Berlin, and Tel Aviv over the coming months.  Visit the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars page to learn more and to stay tuned to updates.

 

June 16, 2016

Emily Roberts

Experiences designed around the human voice will fundamentally improve the way people use technology. The Alexa Fund—named for the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo—provides up to $100 million in investments to fuel voice technology innovation from developers, manufacturers, and start-ups of all sizes.

Today, Alexa Fund recipient Luma Inc. announced that its home WiFi system is available for purchase and will begin shipping to preorder customers. Luma’s routers create a mesh network that surround the home with fast and secure internet to eliminate dead zones and buffering and to safeguard connected devices. You can pre-order your Luma device today on Amazon.com for $149. Luma also plans to create fun and unique Alexa skills for Luma customers. The skill will be released in the coming weeks and will initially allow Luma customers to pause and unpause their home internet.

“It’s exciting to see Luma’s vision to bring better and faster WiFi to customers come to life with the availability of its first home system,” said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “We saw great promise in Luma to push forward IOT and voice technologies when we invested in the company through the Alexa Fund. The addition of an Alexa skill will bring increased functionality and make it seamless for customers to better control their home internet through their voice.”    

Alexa Fund Companies

Luma joins 16 companies—Sutro, Invoxia, Petnet, Musaic, Rachio, Scout Alarm, Garageio, Toymail, Dragon Innovation, MARA, Mojio, TrackR, OrangeChef, Kitt.ai, and Ring—that have already received investments from the Alexa Fund. And, recipients MARA, Rachio, Mojio, Garageio, and Scout Alarm have already launched new skills for Alexa. Most recently, MARA Running Assistant released their skill for Alexa that makes it easy to interact with MARA Running Assistant, a hands-free voice-controlled assistant that will support and coach you while you exercise. Customers can ask the skill questions like “Alexa, ask MARA how many miles have I run so far this week?”

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January 04, 2016

David Isbitski

This past summer we launched the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), a collection of self-service APIs and tools that made it fast and easy for you to create new voice-driven capabilities for Alexa. Alexa is the same cloud-based voice service that now powers Amazon Echo, Amazon Fire TV and Stick. Thanks to you, there are currently over 120+ Alexa skills available across Alexa enabled devices. The Alexa Skills Kit has had many new features added since launch, many of which were based directly on your feedback. As we continue to evolve Alexa in 2016 we look forward to hearing your feedback!

Here is a look back at helpful Alexa posts on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog in 2015:

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November 18, 2015

David Isbitski

Experiences designed around the human voice will fundamentally improve the way people use technology. The Alexa Fund—named for the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo—provides up to $100 million in investments to fuel voice technology innovation from developers, manufacturers, and start-ups of all sizes.

Today we announced the next recipient of the Alexa Fund, Sutro. Sutro is creating a connected smart pool monitor that uses breakthrough technology to remove the burden of water maintenance and enable homeowners to focus on enjoying their pool and spa investments. Sutro automates water testing, can ship chemicals when needed either direct from Sutro or through Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service, and guides users on how and when to maintain their pool. Sutro is using the Alexa Skills Kit so that Amazon Echo users can simply say “Alexa, ask Sutro what temperature is my pool?” or “Alexa, ask Sutro how long until my spa is ready?” Customers can sign up today and be the first to know when Sutro launches in early 2016 at www.mysutro.com.

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