For Google, artificial intelligence and Assistant is frequently touted as the future of technology and the company. To keep its lead, Google often invests in startups through GV, while also maintaining a VC fund specifically aimed at AI investments. Today, the company is now investing in startups that work on the Google Assistant.
Unlike Gradient Ventures, which is an AI-focused venture capital fund launched last year, Google Assistant Investments is just a program within the company. Its goal is to spur development on both Assistant Actions and hardware that “push new ideas forward and advance the possibilities of what digital assistants can do.”
We’re welcoming companies across a diverse range of fields, including startups that are developing technologies that broaden the Assistant’s set of features, or are building new hardware devices for digital assistants, or that focus on a particular industry such as travel, games, or hospitality.
Focusing on early-stage startups, Google will provide resources that are typical to VCs including mentorship, advice, and feedback from Google designers, engineers, and product managers. These companies will also have early access to upcoming Assistant features and tools, as well as the Google Cloud Platform to run their services.
Financially, resources will allow for developing, hiring, and management, with Google also providing promotional support to “drive greater awareness for the features and functionality of these new applications.”
Google has already invested in four startups, with an application process open for interested startups:
- GoMoment: Creator of Ivy, a 24/7 concierge for hotel guests, capable of providing instant answers to common questions like “Is there a happy hour at the bar tonight?” or “Can I get a late checkout?” Anything requiring human expertise is sent to hotel staff and tracked for quick and reliable resolution. Ivy is used by leading hotels like Caesars Palace, Treasure Island and Hard Rock.
- Edwin: Your personal English tutor powered by AI. Edwin prepares students looking to take English as a foreign language tests, such as the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL). Edwin combines advanced AI technology with the expertise of professional English teachers to tailor every lesson to your individual needs, learning style and pace.
- BotSociety: You can say a million things in a billion different ways to voice assistants, so BotSociety created a tool that allows developers to design, prototype and user test voice interfaces. More than 30,000 developers worldwide have designed their voice assistant applications using Botsociety.
- Pulse Labs: Helping voice application designers understand what their users want to do. With Pulse Labs, developers can test their applications with real people, quickly acquire in-depth insights, and use that feedback to refine the experience.