According to an Amazon release, the program is a four-month, remote program seeking 10 Black-founded startups located in North America that are driving innovation in voice, artificial intelligence, and ambient computing.
The 10 startups selected by Amazon will have the opportunity to receive a $100,000 investment from the Alexa Fund and technology support from the Alexa Startups Team. Founders of the companies will also be invited to speak at events, panel discussions, and demo showcases to discuss their experiences.
Throughout the four-month program, the selected startups’ technical teams will engage with Alexa technical experts and Solution Architects, who will help advise on technical aspects of Alexa skills
Those interested in applying to the program will have to complete a two-step process that features a submission form and survey that applicants will receive, including a brief proposal of the Alexa skill or AVS integration the applicants want to work on by 5 p.m. Pacific on April 24.
The tech giant has made several moves over the last two years to boost and support Black talent in tech and Black entrepreneurs. The initiatives by Amazon have been designed to help Black female small business owners, HBCU students who want a career in tech and those already in the workforce.
The initiative is part of the tech giant’s effort to combat the lack of inclusiveness and underrepresentation of entrepreneurs of color in the tech industry. The Alexa startup team believes this will lead to more diverse perspectives, new ideas, and better products and services.
The Alexa Fund is Amazon’s venture capital fund investing in artificial intelligence, frontier tech, voice, digital health, and sustainability. Since 2015, the Alexa Fund has invested in more than 100 early- and growth-stage companies across the globe.