Alexa Fund Kickstarts Early-Stage Voice Startups


Amazon’s Alexa Fund invested in three new startups this week.

Bamboo Learning received Alexa funding, which will be used to continue building education skills that help students learn a variety of subjects.

“The goal of the Alexa Fund is to find compelling companies for its portfolio that demonstrate how voice technology can improve everyday life, and Bamboo Learning embodies that vision,” Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund, said in a press release. “Bamboo Learning skills benefit from their founders’ deep understanding of Alexa and decades of education experience, and we’re excited to support them as they build more educational skills for Alexa customers.”

Bamboo also revealed it is launching Bamboo Math — the first education-focused voice-first Alexa Skill to help students practice arithmetic using their Alexa-enabled device. It will be officially released on October 1.

The Alexa Fund has also invested in Endel, which generates personalized adaptive environments to help users focus, relax, and sleep better. Its core algorithm is based on circadian rhythms, pentatonic scale, and sound masking. And the third company to receive backing is Aiva, a voice-powered healthcare assistant to boost response times and improve experience for users and caregivers. It is a 2017 alumnus of the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator.

“We are consistently impressed by the caliber of new companies building voice-based technologies and experiences on Alexa, and these companies, in particular, showcase the growing pace of innovation among early-stage companies experimenting with voice,” said Bernard. “Bamboo Learning and Aiva were both founded as voice-first companies from the very start, while Endel has its roots in audio and sound, having participated in Techstars’ Music Accelerator. Each is a prime example of a business that’s leading with voice and we’re thrilled to support them as they leverage new Alexa capabilities and features.”

Since its launch in 2015, the Alexa Fund has invested in more than 50 different companies, including Ring and ecobee.