World News:

Amazon to introduce free music streaming with ads
Amazon is launching a free, ad-supported music service to U.S. owners of an Echo device. Until now, Echo owners who wanted to listen to music could either pay for prime membership, subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited, or use a third party service like Spotify. An interesting move probably aimed at pushing Echo owners to upgrade to a paid subscription. Also to note is that the service now competes directly with Spotify and that Amazon has entered discussions with records labels. Link (Venturebeat)

Voiceflow – a service to create voice apps without code – raises $3 million
Voiceflow a startup allowing teams to build voice applications without code has raised $3million in seed funding. The financing round was led by True Ventures with the participation of several angel investors. The interesting piece is that this happened 10 days after Invocable (formerly known as Storyline) shut down and said that there was no business to be done in the code-free voice development tool market….exactly what Voiceflow does. Link (Techcrunch)

Voice in the cars (continued)
The usage of voice in the car is natural with the motto “eyes on the road, hands on the wheel” and car manufacturers have understood this. Toyota announced that owners of Camry and Sienna could add either Apple CarPlay or Amazon Alexa thanks to a new retrofit. So, “new” technology in “old” cars, an interesting move. Link (Car and Driver)

A Podcast about Podcast
Not a news, but a very interesting piece of content released a few weeks ago by venture capital fund Andreesen Horowitz which details the current state of the Podcasting industry, its trends and opportunities. Link (Andreesen Horowitz)

European News:

Alexa In-Skill-Purchase available in the UK and Germany
Amazon is expanding its In-Skill-Purchase (ISP) capabilities outside of the United States with Japan, UK and Germany coming up next. ISP allows skills developers to monetize their service by offering either one-time purchases, subscriptions, or consumables. This is definitely a game changer for European developers. Link (Alexa Blog)

The British government responds to the public via Alexa and Google Assistant
Finding out information about the next bank holiday or even on how to get a passport via Voice is now possible in the UK. The government has embraced the voice revolution and is now offering 12’000 pieces of information via Alexa and Google Assistant recognizing that voice is a really convenient way to get information, particularly for people who find computers and phones hard to use. Link (Metro)

Luxembourg based Venture Fund Mangrove Capital Partners bets on Voice
In an interview with CNBC, Mark Tluszcz, CEO and founder of Mangrove Capital Partners announced seeing voice technology as a massive change in the coming years. The challenge is to figure out if voice will be a nice add-on to existing offers or a complete change to the user experience. The venture capital fund is betting on the latter. Link (CNBC)

 

Alexis Hue

Alexis Hue

Alexis is the founder of Voice & You, a boutique consulting agency where he advises brands on how to utilize Voice to increase their competitive advantage. Part-time venture capitalist, part-time entrepreneur, and originally from France, Alexis now lives in Berlin.