Amazon’s Alexa Accelerator today announced the names of nine startups chosen to participate in its inaugural session.
The 13-week accelerator program, which will be managed by Techstars, will take place in Seattle and was paid for by the $100 million Alexa Fund. The accelerator begins today and will conclude with Demo Day in October. Participants receive $120,000 in exchange for 6 percent of equity.
Startups chosen to participate, according to a Techstars spokesperson, include:
– Novel Effect — an app that uses voice recognition to add sound effects to stories in real time.
– Semantica Labs — helps brands coordinate activity and insights from automated bots and customer service agents.
– Tinitell — a device kids attach to their wrist as an alternative to giving them their first smartphone. The device is able to make about a dozen phone calls and allows parents to track kids with GPS through a smartphone app.
– MSZ or uTuneIn — provides user-testing communities to voice app developers.
– Sensible Object — based at Makerversity in Somerset House in London, the startup uses real objects and digital apps for game play.
Managing director Aviel Ginzburg, who has said he wants to make Seattle “voice city,” sought out startups from cities around the world, including New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, London, and Berlin.
Unexplored areas of potential for voice apps at the Alexa Accelerator include health care, enterprise, and the restaurant experience, Ginzburg told VentureBeat earlier this year.
The Alexa Accelerator was one of nine accelerator classes announced today by Techstars, now in its 10th year.
Entrants into the Alexa program will certainly have plenty to work with, as the intelligent assistant has undergone many developments since applications for the accelerator were accepted back in April.
Since then, Alexa has learned how to do things like make voice and video calls through the Alexa app, act as a home intercom system, and create reminders. New products with Alexa inside have also launched.
Last month, Amazon released its Echo Show and gave developers the option to create Alexa skills with videos and other visual elements. Amazon also launched Prime Wardrobe, a service for people to try on clothes and send back the ones they don’t like for free. It could work closely with the Echo Look, which debuted in April and uses computer vision to help users make fashion decisions.