Alexa, What’s Your Favorite Accelerator?

I love Alexa. Of all the various tech things I’ve bought in 2016, Amazon’s Alexa has become the most consistently used new thing in my world. I’ve even had a breakthrough on the home front as Amy now regularly says “Alexa, play …” We’ve got them everywhere and the Echo Dot that showed up in October is centrally located on my office desk at Foundry Group.

On Wednesday, Techstars and Amazon announced the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Applications will open in January and the first program will start in July 2017.

Amazon, through their Alexa Fund, has been investing in companies that are using Alexa Voice ServiceAlexa Skills Kit, or companies working on the science behind voice technology, including text to speech, natural language understanding, automatic speech recognition, artificial intelligence and hardware component design. Several companies we’ve invested in, including TrackR, Rachio, and Dragon Innovation now count the Alexa Fund as investors.

It’s exciting to me to see Amazon and Alexa take it to the next level with their partnership with Techstars. I expect that will add another reason for me to spend even more time in Seattle.

Also published on Medium.

  • Alexa is a great product. 2 comments
    a) the biggest shortcoming is the fact it isn’t integrated with telephony. If you could make calls using Alexa that is a killer app for a LOT of people. I got my mother an Echo because she is blind and in a home. So rather than constantly having to ask the helpers for everything she is much more in control of her life. Wonderful. There is a massive market for these devices in such places, hospitals etc anywhere people are in some sense handicapped. But adding telephony is massively increase the value of the Echo.
    b) I bought a google home – the competing product. And I did so for 3 reasons.
    i) I like to explore competing offerings
    ii) I am a big believer in Google’s AI competence and am highly confident they can outdevelop amazon in this area to deliver more results more relevant to me
    iii) I am hoping that because they have hangouts and understand VoIP they will be the ones to integrate telephonh.

  • MNU

    Brad, I totally agree. I love my Alexa. My family uses her almost everyday. We use the speaker to link up to YouTube songs, stream amazon prime music and iheart radio. The kids favorite thing is “alexa tell us a joke.” Then they giggle and squeel with the clean jokes she tells. I like to grab the news and ask about the weather. Overall there is a ton we can do with her. Now if our company could figure out how to offer our online business courses via Echo we would jump on that Alexa fund. – Jess via The Marketing and Networking University.