Amazon and Techstars today announced startups chosen to participate in the Alexa Accelerator, a 12-week program held in Seattle that is now in its second year.
In all, nine companies will participate in the accelerator, which grants them access to Amazon employees and more than 100 mentors from the Seattle conversational AI community.
Graduates of the inaugural accelerator have gone on to raise a combined $10 million in additional funding, a Techstars spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. This includes a $3.2 million round for Sensible Object, maker of the first Alexa board game experience called When in Rome, and a $2.5 million round for Pulse Labs, a voice app analysis tool.
The Alexa Accelerator is paid for by the $200 million Alexa Fund and managed by Techstars. The Alexa Fund was also an investor in both Pulse Labs and Sensible Object funding rounds.
Whereas the first cohort of startups that participated in the accelerator focused heavily on games and interactive experiences, the second cohort seems focused on more practical applications, such as water conservation and making voice technology accessible for people with speech impairments.
Startups selected to take part include:
– Helix is making AI assistants for use in laboratory sciences.
– Jargon describes itself as a company on a mission to eliminate conversational language barriers.
– Unruly Studios makes floor tiles kids can play games with or code for other purposes.
– Conservation Labs enables users to detect water leaks and save money on water usage with a smart water meter
– Presence AI helps small businesses manage appointments with customers through SMS messages.
– Voiceitt is creating speech recognition for people with traumatic brain injuries, strokes, mental disabilities, and other potential speech impairments.
– Novalia produces thin adhesive material that can make any device or surface responsive to touch, enabling interactive experiences with things like books or posters.
– Imgageous is developing a platform that helps businesses adopt AI solutions like AI assistants in commercial buildings.
– Blutag helps businesses create Alexa skills and Google Assistant actions.
The Alexa Accelerator will conclude with a Demo Night scheduled to take place October 9 in Seattle.
The companies participating in this year’s Alexa Accelerator will have access to a bigger group of Alexa-enabled devices to potentially incorporate into their products and services, as the AI assistant continues to spread.
In the past two months, Amazon has introduced the Fire TV Cube to control streaming video and televisions, brought “Show mode” to Fire TV tablets for visual Alexa experiences, embedded Alexa in the Alexa iOS app, and made generally available the Echo Look, a computer vision-powered device that turns Alexa into a fashion assistant.