Briefing

Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre partners with Amazon on voicetech program

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The Alexa Voice Tech Accelerator opened to applications from software, hardware and service firms working on voice-powered tech. The centre will select five companies making technology that has the potential to integrate with Alexa, or does so already. The program will begin on December 2 and run for six to 12 months. (The Logic)

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Talking point: This is the first Canadian accelerator to partner with Amazon on voice technology, after a similar program in Seattle launched earlier this year. The programs give Amazon integrated access to early-stage startups, part of its effort to increase its dominance in the voicetech market—expected to reach US$31 billion by 2025—in which Facebook, Google and Apple have also made major investments. Amazon held 64.6 per cent of the smart-speaker market as of September 2018, and is the only tech giant currently running accelerator programs focused on the technology. It also runs a US$200-million Alexa Fund—partnered with the Accelerator Centre for this program—which uses “Alexa fit” as a metric for selecting companies in which to invest.