A London-based startup that graduated from the inaugural Amazon Alexa accelerator has raised more cash to help develop the first board game powered by the Alexa voice platform.
Sensible Object today announced a $3.2 million funding round that included participation from the Amazon Alexa Fund, a $100 million investment arm used by Amazon to invest in voice-based interaction companies. Other investors include NCSOFT, March Capital, and London Venture Partners.
The 25-person company is developing a physical board game series called Voice Originals that puts Alexa in the role of a host, interacting with users who can ask questions. The first game in the series, When in Rome, is a travel trivia game that introduces players to real locals from 20 different cities.
Sensible Object is known for Beasts of Balance, a stacking game similar to Jenga that works in conjunction with a tablet or phone. Alex Fleetwood, the company’s CEO, said that Sensible Object is “creating a completely new kind of gameplay built around social interactions and active listening.”
“We are delighted to be an Alexa Fund portfolio company because we share a vision for the voice-first home,” Fleetwood said in a statement. “By using Alexa as a driver of a new kind of connected play experience, we are driving down the price of connected play products to the point where we can compete directly with analogue counterparts.”
Founded in 2016, Sensible Object was apart of the first-ever Alexa Accelerator run by Techstars in Seattle last year. Other startups from the cohort to raise investment include Novel Effect, Pulse Labs, Play Impossible, and Comet. Sensible Object has raised $5 million to date.
Amazon launched the Alexa Fund in 2015, its first and only dedicated venture capital program. This past November it announced an additional $100 million for the fund to help invest in international startups.
Both the accelerator and the fund are part of Amazon’s push to get Alexa everywhere. Alexa powers Amazon’s Echo smart devices, and can be integrated into other third-party devices. Both the Alexa virtual assistant and Echo devices are two of the company’s most successful products. Amazon is battling other tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Apple in the competitive voice assistant market, though it has a lead as the first mover.