Roughly half a year after Amazon revealed the startups chosen to participate in the second annual Alexa Accelerator, a 13-week program that grants 10 startups access to Amazon employees and mentors from the Seattle AI community and Techstars network, the Seattle company is kicking off the search for its third cohort. The 2019 program will take place between July and October 2019, Amazon says, culminating in a Demo Day in October.
The application window is open now and closes on April 7.
“The Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is an opportunity for founders from around the world to show off new ideas that push Alexa even further,” Brian Adams, portfolio manager at Amazon’s Alexa Fund, wrote in a blog post. “Each of the past two years, we received hundreds of applications across dozens of countries … [We] encourage applications from companies building a wide range of products, including devices that work with Alexa or have Alexa built-in; software and services that leverage voice technology; developer tools that service voice-first businesses; and core technologies like AI and machine learning that enable better voice experiences.”
This time around, Amazon’s seeking startups in education, health care, fitness and wellness, enterprise collaboration and productivity, property tech, and machine learning services verticals. “We are particularly keen on startups innovating in [these areas], but our final company selection will not be limited to these themes,” Adams said.
Program leaders from the Alexa Fund and Techstars will travel to meet with founders during office hours in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Toronto, Madrid, and Paris over the coming weeks, Amazon says. The city tour schedule is available from the Amazon Developer website.
The Alexa Accelerator is a part of Amazon’s $200 million Alexa Fund, which launched in 2015 and has contributed venture capital to more than 35 startups including Rachio, Vesper, Owlet, Adero, Ring, Sphero, Twine, and Hatch Baby. Amazon and Techstars invest an initial $20,000 in each company for 6 percent equity stake, with potential for an additional $100,000 convertible note.