Artificial Intelligence

U of Washington, Amazon Partner to Create AI Startup Accelerator

The University of Washington (UW) has teamed up with Amazon to launch a startup accelerator, in an effort to help the tech powerhouse connect to new companies that are fueling innovation in artificial intelligence.

The Alexa Accelerator will take place at UW's Startup Hall (above).

Powered by Techstars and created by Amazon’s $100 million Alexa Fund, the newly launched Alexa Accelerator aims to advance conversational AI, including speech technology and voice application. The startup accelerator is “built around the belief that voice will fundamentally improve the way we interact with technology,” according to an announcement from Amazon.

“[The Alexa Accelerator] will focus on Alexa domains, such as connected home, wearables, hearables, enterprise, communications, connected car, health and wellness, and enabling technologies,” according to Amazon. “It will also give us the opportunity to work with exciting startups from around the world, and along the way, we expect to see many new applications and innovations we haven’t even imagined.”  

About 10–12 companies will be selected to participate in a 13-week program at UW’s Startup Hall, one of three innovation hubs at the university devoted to helping startups build and grow their companies. Program participants will work with mentors from Amazon and Techstars to develop their technology and business models. According to a TechCrunch report, participants will each receive an initial $20,000 investment, and some may receive an additional $100,000 convertible note.

Applications for the Alexa Accelerator open next month and close in March. The program will start in June and end September. In October, the companies will showcase their products and meet their investors at Demo Day.

To learn more, visit the Alexa Accelerator site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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