“Alexa, help grow my company.”
WATERLOO, Ont. Applications open today to join Canada’s first and only Amazon Alexa accelerator. The Accelerator Centre’s Alexa Voice Tech Accelerator Program is launching in Waterloo, ON thanks to a new collaboration between the Accelerator Centre (AC) and Amazon’s Alexa Fund. The accelerator program is designed exclusively for entrepreneurs who are advancing voice-powered technologies. Five companies from across Canada will be selected to join the program.
The Accelerator Centre’s Alexa Voice Tech Accelerator Program runs for six to twelve months and is built on the AC’s world-renowned curriculum-based programming—with a twist.
“The Alexa Voice Tech Accelerator Program builds on our proven program model and is specialized for software, hardware and service companies that have the potential to integrate with Alexa, or directly incorporate Alexa already,” says Clinton Ball, director of client programs and initiatives at the Accelerator Centre. “When an AC client, YOURIKA, was one of nine companies worldwide to be chosen to join the Alexa Accelerator Powered by TechStars in Seattle, we had the unique opportunity to explore what more we could do in house to help accelerate voice technology. We’re really happy to be the first Canadian accelerator that Amazon is collaborating with to take Canadian voice tech to the next level.”
When voice assistants began to appear in 2011 with the release of Siri, few predicted that a new driver for tech innovation was born. Fast forward to 2019, 5.8 million people in Canada use a smart speaker at least once a month—a 51 per cent increase from 2018, according to eMarketer estimates. By 2020, it is projected that 6.7 million people in Canada, or 18 per cent of the population, will use a smart speaker, while American users of voice assistants will surpass 100 million.
In our ever-evolving digital world where speed and convenience are constantly improving, the mass adoption of artificial intelligence in users’ everyday lives is fueling the shift towards voice-powered technologies.
“Last year, the Accelerator Centre was named the fourth best accelerator in the world and the top AI accelerator in Canada. The voice-powered technology space is exploding, and we’re excited to be at the Canadian forefront. The Alexa Voice Tech Accelerator is a natural addition to our specialized accelerator programs,” says Accelerator Centre CEO, Dr. Paul Salvini.
Applications to the Accelerator Centre’s Alexa Voice Tech Accelerator are open to all companies across Canada who are willing to complete programming in Waterloo, ON. The premiere program will take place in the Accelerator Centre’s Headquarters, located in the University of Waterloo’s David Johnston Research and Technology Park.
“Applications are open to entrepreneurs who are currently building with Alexa or have Alexa built in, and those who have potential to broaden their products with voice and AI enablement. We are looking for diverse founding teams who are working with interesting technologies and have strong visions of where they see their product or products going in terms of enabling better voice technology experiences,” says Ball.
Successful applicants will also benefit from access to Amazon Alexa devices to build with, Amazon Web Services (AWS) credits and select access to Amazon’s vast mentor network. Select companies will also have the opportunity to participate in a pitch-based Demo Day at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, WA.
Applications to join the Accelerator Centre’s Alexa Voice Tech Accelerator are now open until Sunday, November 24. Interested entrepreneurs can learn more on the program page of the Accelerator Centre’s website.
“Alexa, apply to the Accelerator Centre.”
About the Accelerator Centre
The Accelerator Centre is an award-winning startup accelerator dedicated to building and scaling sustainable, globally competitive companies and giving startups the highest probability of long-term success. In 2018, it was ranked the #4 accelerator in the world due to, in part, a reputation for meaningful, one-to-one mentorship and helping entrepreneurs go from the idea stage to high-growth enterprises. A key feature of the University of Waterloo’s David Johnston Research and Technology Park, the Accelerator Centre encourages the growth of high-tech firms and acts as a catalyst for the creation of new products and services.
The Accelerator Centre has a strong history of supporting high growth technology companies and has worked with more than 500 startups since 2006, bringing over 3,000 full time jobs and 600M in investment to Waterloo Region. Graduates include Canadian success stories Axonify, Big Road, Clearpath Robotics, eleven-x, Magnet Forensics, and Rapid Novor.
About the Alexa Fund
The Alexa Fund provides up to $200 million in venture capital funding to fuel voice technology innovation. We believe experiences designed around the human voice will fundamentally improve the way people use technology. Since introducing Alexa-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, we’ve heard from developers, device-makers, and companies of all sizes that want to innovate with voice. Whether that’s creating new Alexa capabilities with the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), building devices that use Alexa for new and novel voice experiences using the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), inventing core voice-enabling technology, or developing a product or service that can expand the boundaries of voice technology, we’d love to talk to you.
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