Amazon’s Alexa Fund and the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering today announced a new collaboration to cultivate startups in Southern California’s Silicon Beach.
The USC Viterbi Startup Garage (VSG), a hub for early-stage technology startups sponsored by USC Viterbi since 2013, will now host startups focused on voice technology among its Fall 2019 cohort of companies. The initiative, supported by the Amazon Alexa Fund and Alexa Fellowship, will help encourage the growth of university-affiliated startups working with voice technology.
To date, USC Viterbi Startup Garage has sponsored 21 startups. Companies selected to participate in VSG will get help to take their businesses to the next level, including through access to a broad network of mentors from across the VSG network. Selected companies innovating in voice will also have the opportunity to connect with Amazon. The 12-month program is hosted in the USC Viterbi Startup Garage in Marina Del Rey, beginning with onboarding in October 2019 and concluding with participation in USC’s “Demonstration Day.”
“USC Viterbi has been a recipient of Amazon’s – Amazon Research Awards and Alexa Fellowship. We welcome this new opportunity to cultivate startups in Silicon Beach and push the envelope on voice activated technologies,” said Ellis Meng, the Vice Dean for Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
“Our goal is to help support startups of all stages working with voice technology and AI,” said Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund at Amazon. “We’re thrilled to be working with USC to support emerging startups in the region, and we’re excited to see the ideas and companies that emerge as a result.”
USC has received Amazon support in the past, with USC scholars serving as Amazon Alexa Fellows. Amazon has also supported natural language processing research at the USC Information Sciences Institute (also in Marina Del Rey), and sponsored the Amazon Alexa Voice Prize, a pilot program from USC Viterbi that included startups focused on at-home speech therapy, a health tracking app, and a social media platform for sharing for developing nations.
Applications are being accepted now at https://form.jotform.com/92166315520148
Please click here for more information about the VSG.