According to foreign media reports, Alexa Fund, an Amazon-owned venture capital fund, specializes in companies that integrate Amazon's smart assistant Alexa in their products, which recently received an additional $ 100 million in funding to support Its international expansion. Amazon launched the Alexa Fund in June 2015 with an initial investment of $ 100 million.
Amazon spokesman said the company will be in early 2018 to Alexa to Australia and New Zealand. In October of this year, Amazon expanded its Alexa service to India, landing again in Japan in early November. Amazon smart speaker Echo will be listed in Canada next month. This smart voice device debuted in the United States in 2015 and expanded to the United Kingdom and Germany by the end of 2016. A billion-dollar investment helped Amazon expand Alexa beyond the United States. In addition to residential, it also appears in hotels, shops and workplaces.
In the past two years Alexa Fund has invested in more than 30 companies, including seven outside the United States. Alexa Fund participated in a $ 120 million financing from Thalmic Labs, a Canadian wearable device company, and $ 35 million from Ecason, a Canadian smart home startup, and funded French speaker manufacturer Invoxia. Other companies that have been funded by Alexa Fund include Smart Home Security, Ring, home intercom startup Nucleus, microphone maker Vesper, and TrackR, a device maker that locates lost items at home.
Paul Bernard, a fund manager, said the conversational AI community and businesses interested in using Alexa voice services and including Alexa in their products should expect Alexa Fund's investment standards for U.S. and foreign companies to remain unchanged. He said: "We are interested in companies that are using voice to improve their everyday lives in a wide range of areas, and we continue to focus on those companies that are focused on technical support, from voice and NLU to development tools." With the help of Alexa Fund, we specialize in helping companies of all sizes, from start-ups to veteran companies, all of whom have the idea of using voice technology to improve everyday life. & rdquo;
Some of Alexa Fund's funds have been used to support international activities. In addition to funding start-ups and research activities such as Alexa Prize and Alexa Fund Fellowship, Alexa Fund pays Alexa Accelerator, a 13-week startup accelerator provided by TechStars, mostly in Seattle. The first Alexa Accelerator class received applications from international applicants from more than 50 countries and was promoted in places such as Berlin, London and Tel Aviv. The first participating companies include Sensible Objects, a gaming startup in London that will launch six board games next year, and Alexa will be part of the experience.
Bernard said it is not yet decided whether Alexa Fund will support the second Alexa Accelerator project. Two companies that received funding from Alexa Fund have been acquired: Dragon Innovation, a manufacturing planning shop, was acquired by Avnet and natural language understanding company Kitt.ai was acquired by Baidu this summer.