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Engineering  |  Entrepreneurship + Innovation

Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge


How might voice technologies, such as Alexa, reduce friction points within your area of research or among people’s daily lives at work, play, or at home?

For example, Vesper, a researcher-founded startup, manufactures the only wake-on-sound MEMS microphone on the market, which enables ocean life researchers to leverage always-listening devices at next-to-zero power draw. Supporters of this innovative product believe that voice interaction between humans and technology—or in this case, sea life and technology—is becoming ubiquitous. Microphones such as Vesper’s may accelerate many more use cases where voice is the standard user interface.

Could voice be the standard user interface for your product, service, or solution?

If so, Amazon and ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering encourage you to apply to the Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge.

The Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge is part of ASU’s Startup Funding Network, a suite of startup funding tracks that are defined and led by the University’s colleges and schools. The ASU Funding Network is designed to activate the New American University’s design aspiration of valuing entrepreneurship and providing entrepreneurial experiences to all ASU affiliates.

The Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge, powered by the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, enables practicing entrepreneurs to win up to $50,000.00 in seed grant funding, along with professional Venture Mentorship and additional startup support offerings.

The Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge is open to all ASU-affiliated and external entrepreneurs who aim to prove or disprove that there is valid demand for a prototyped solution (product or service) beyond an initial beneficiary or customer. Organized by Entrepreneurship + Innovation @ The Fulton Schools, this annual competition aims to strategically develop early-stage technology ventures that may be well suited to compete for and win other ASU, local, national, and global entrepreneurship competitions. The Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge also helps all supported ventures to develop repeatable and scalable business models, regardless of follow-on funding or support opportunities.


The Amazon Alexa Innovation Fellowship as a Catalyst 


The Amazon Alexa is a virtual assistant developed by Amazon, used in the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers developed by Amazon. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, such as news, and more.

The Alexa Innovation Fellowship inspires and enables student entrepreneurs to enhance their products with voice. As conversational AI advances, we will increasingly interact with technology using voice. Since technology innovation and entrepreneurship starts on college campuses, Amazon has partnered with leading university entrepreneurship centers to help student-led startups across all industries supercharge their innovations with voice. Dr. Brent Sebold, the director of Entrepreneurship + Innovation at ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, was one of 10 national entrepreneurship faculty members selected for the 2018–2019 Alexa Fellowship. Sebold’s Fellowship award powers ASU’s Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge.


How it Works


The Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge features several highly competitive phases. First, competitors must apply to the ASU Venture Devils program, or to the Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge directly.

Venture Devils applications are accepted and processed five times per year, coinciding with the Fall A+B, Spring A+B, and Summer C session start dates. Venture Devils applications must be submitted exactly one week before classes begin for any given Fall A+B, Spring A+B, and Summer C session in which you aim to participate. This application deadline cycle is essential to ensure that we are able to review your application information and match you with an appropriate Venture Mentor and Funding Network track prior to the start of the session. 

If you would like to be considered for the Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge seed funding grant without applying to the ASU Venture Devils program, please complete this alternate application form.

After application, you may be invited to participate in our bi-annual Pitch Playoff and Demo Day events. During the Pitch Playoffs each October and March, several volunteer evaluator panels will determine which affiliated startups are worthy of the available seed grant funding.

Finally, during the annual Spring Demo Day event, an Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge judging panel will determine which voice technology startups are worthy of up to $50,000.00 in available seed grant funding.

Let the voice technology revolution begin. Join us.

Apply to Venture Devils to be considered for the next Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge

If you would like to be considered for the Amazon Alexa Venture Challenge seed funding grant without applying to the ASU Venture Devils program, please apply here.