Amazon made headlines this month when the company began to work through its long-rumored 18,000 job cuts. Going, too, are a number of products and strategies as the company right-sizes for the current state of the economy, the market’s attitude to tech stocks and the current landscape as dictated by its competitors and would-be rivals.
One thing that looks like it’s here to stay, though, is the Alexa Fund, the company’s venture fund founded back in 2015 and used to back companies in spaces that are strategically interesting to Amazon itself.
Initially covering products and services leveraging its namesake, the interactive voice platform that was launched not long before the fund itself, the Alexa Fund has over the years expanded to cover other areas of AI, connected home, health, media services and more — as limitless, potentially, as Amazon itself sometimes seems to be.
Amazon is famously murky when it comes to disclosing discretionary metrics that speak to its size. That’s the case here, too, as it declines to comment on how much it has invested in aggregate through the Alexa Fund, nor anything like AUM (assets under management, or the total valuation of startups in its portfolio).
As a general marker, it has invested at least $200 million, based on an initial injection of $100 million and a further commitment of $100 million two years later. A few notable exits from the fund, and its growing scope, may well have meant more was pitched in over time.
“We invest off the balance sheet so it’s an evergreen process,” and Paul Bernard, the longtime Amazon employee and investment lead who first started the fund, in a conversation with TechCrunch. “We’re not constrained by a certain fund size.”