Amazon today (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced a $100m fund dedicated to voice technology.
The Alexa Fund focuses on supporting developers, manufacturers, and startups of all sizes who create new experiences designed around the human voice.
The Alexa Fund—named for Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo—is open to anyone with an innovative idea for how voice technology can improve customers’ lives.
Areas of interest include:
– New hardware products for inside or outside the home that would benefit from Alexa’s voice interface.
– New features and functionality for Alexa.
– New contributions to the science behind voice technology, including text-to-speech, natural language understanding, and automatic speech recognition.
The investment decisions will be made based on the potential for novel applications of voice technology that leverage the Alexa Skills Kit (a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create new voice-driven skills and capabilities for Alexa) or the Alexa Voice Service.
To apply for funding have a look at https://developer.amazon.com/AlexaFund.
The Alexa Fund is launching with seven initial investments:
– Orange Chef, a startup that has created a new product for the kitchen called “Countertop”, a mobile app that connects to an ecosystem of cooking tools such as blenders and slow cookers to measure and track ingredients placed into those devices—all powered by Orange Chef’s cloud service nutrition database.
– Scout Alarm, a do-it-yourself home security system provider and connected security device maker.
– Garageio, which provides a system to control and to monitor the status of a garage door from anywhere.
– Toymail, which is creating a new category of connected toys that enable parents and children to communicate without the need for the child to be using a smartphone or tablet device.
– Dragon Innovation, which provides a suite of products and services that help hardware startups and device makers go from “garage to factory” to make their ideas a reality with a framework that guides them through all stages of production—from prototype through sales.
– MARA, an intelligent, voice-based running assistant that provides performance data and training information during exercise, serving as a virtual running coach or personal trainer.
– Mojio, a provider of connected car solutions.