The ink is barely dry on the Amazon Alexa Fund’s addition of another $100 million available for venture capital investment in voice technology startups. Amazon announced yesterday that it would double the size of the current investment fund and use the additional capital to focus on investments outside the U.S. Today, we learn that Alexa Fund has participated in funding a $30 million B round led by Kensington Capital Partners for Canadian connected car startup Mojio. Crunchbase reports that the Alexa Fund also participated in the A round.
Providing an Alexa Access Point In The Car
Mojio provides secure connections for sensors on cars that enable data to be shared to cloud services and mobile apps. It is an open platform deigned for wireless carriers and automakers and collects diagnostic, behavioral and contextual data. That data can identify the need for repairs, measure driver behavior and offer insights based on where, when and how vehicles are used. Geekwire is reporting that Alexa Fund director Paul Bernard commented on the funding with the statement:
The Mojio skill for Alexa lets customers simply use voice to track vehicle location, trip distance and fuel levels. By unlocking data insights from the car, we see opportunity for Mojio to continue innovating with Alexa to bring customers more delightful voice-powered experiences.
Mojio promotes that the product avoids vendor lock-in. The Alexa skill is a nice touch, but there is a bigger play here. Putting a platform independent connected device into vehicles can also offer a point of entry for Alexa in the car. While Alexa is now supported by Ford SYNC and will be incorporated into some BMW models next year, very few automakers are on a path to soon add the voice assistant to the in-car experience. Mojio already is connected in more than 500,000 cars and may be another way for consumers to get in-car Alexa access in the near term. That may narrow the advantage that Apple Siri and Google Assistant have today from their head start getting CarPlay and Android Auto respectively installed into hundreds of car models.