Amazon has introduced the second edition of its Alexa Accelerator programme and has opened applications for startups worldwide including India.
The 2018 Alexa Accelerator is a part of Amazon’s $100 Mn Alexa fund which was launched in 2015. It aims to seek out 13 promising startups which use voice technology. The 13-week programme, powered by Techstars, will be hosted in Seattle from July to September 2018, with a demo day in October 2018.
Dilip RS, the Country Manager for Alexa Skills Kit, Amazon, said, “Experiences designed around the human voice will fundamentally improve the way people use technology. We invite innovators, with ideas on how voice technology can improve everyday life, to participate in 2018 Alexa Accelerator.”
He also added that more than 15,000 developers from India have already started to build skills for Alexa. This time the company expects the participants to come up with new devices that can integrate Alexa.
Earlier in 2017 Alexa Accelerator, the company received applications from more than 50 countries. In the 13 week programme, nine early-stage startups worked on their B2C and B2B technologies which incorporate Alexa including Aspinity, Botnik, Comet, Novel Effect, Play Impossible, Sensible Object, Tinitell and Twine.
Amazon has already invested in more than 30 startups from the fund.
What’s In Store For The Startups In 2018 Alexa Accelerator?
The 2018 Alexa Accelerator programme is looking for startups to explore Alexa innovation in segments such as smart home, entertainment, finance, enterprise, communications, automobile and transportation, health and wellness, connected learning, connected devices, hardware components, and other enabling technologies.
The 13 selected startups will work with Techstars, Amazon, and the Alexa Fund to build out their technologies and develop their business models. The teams will be mentored and guided by local Amazon teams while they work on their company before the Demo Day.
As part of the programme, the selected three startups will also get the opportunity to work from the Techstars London location. The international expansion is a part of Alexa Fund’s new global initiative to support entrepreneurs globally.
Program leaders from the Alexa Fund and Techstars will be travelling to 10 cities to host information sessions in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Tel Aviv, New York City, Boston, and Toronto over the coming weeks.
The accelerator programme will grant $120K funding in return for 6% of the equity in the startup. The last date to apply for the programme is April 8, 2018.
Recently, many other accelerators also opened up applications for their startup hunt in India. For instance, Delhi NCR-based startup accelerator Espark-Viridian is inviting applications for the March cohort of its #AccessXcceleration programme. The Accelerator is looking for early-stage startups from all sectors to be a part of the programme. The entries are open till February 26, 2018.
In January 2018, Facebook collaborated with Hyderabad based T-Hub to kickstart ‘India Innovation Hub Accelerator Program’ to discover the best amongst startups working in the field on AR/VR in India.
Also in January, YES BANK launched the second cohort of its fintech startup accelerator, YES FINTECH. The 15-week innovation programme will witness eight startups, chosen from over 500 applicants across 10+ countries, undergo rapid enhancement of their value quotient through product-market-fit guidance, Proof of Concept (PoC) validation and Go-To-Market advisory.
Amid the various accelerator programmes, it will be interesting to watch which startups will make it to the final 13 for Amazon Alexa Accelerator 2018. You can apply for the program here.