Amazon Introduces First ‘Black Founders Build With Alexa’ Cohort

Amazon’s Alexa Startups has announced the first cohort for this year’s Black Founders Build with Alexa program.

Seven North American startups founded by Black entrepreneurs were selected based on their ability to innovate with Alexa and build the next generation of voice, artificial intelligence (AI), and ambient experiences. 

The application opened in April and will see up to 10 Black-founded startups partake in panel discussions, demo showcases, and mentorship programs. In addition, the initiative, which will span four months, will give all business owners the chance to develop their Alexa skills. 

The initiative, founded by Amazon in 2015, works closely with founders and investors through startup programs, business development, and technical support. To assist each startup, Alexa’s business development teams will provide individual technical support to each business.

The founders will also be able to access networking events, panel discussions, and demo showcases to help them enhance their skills and knowledge. The Alexa Fund will also allow each business to receive a $100,000 investment from the Alexa Fund.

“I’m incredibly honored for our team to work with these startups on Alexa innovations and support these talented founders with advancing their companies and creating amazing new customer experiences,” said Liz Myers, head of business development for Alexa Startups. 

“It’s no secret that entrepreneurs of color are underrepresented in the tech industry, and we hope that initiatives like these will lead to more diverse perspectives, new ideas, and the development of products and services across voice, AI, and ambient computing that will better enrich the lives of all customers.” 

The seven startups participating in the inaugural Black Founders Build all share one thing in common: They all have a strong desire to invent on behalf of customers. The group runs a collective of seven North American startups, including MyavanaOne Stop Wellness Inc., Kiddie KreditDOSS Group Inc., Seam Social, and PayTalk. 

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpamika is a tech reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.

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