Jonathan Frankel, the Chief Executive Officer and founder of startup company Nucleus, was really excited when the investment arm of Amazon’s Alexa division made a $5.6 million investment in his startup. Now, almost a year later, the CEO is unhappy – well, furious actually.
Nucleus CEO Frankel not happy about what Amazon did
The online retailing giant announced its most recent voice-controlled device — the Echo Show — on Tuesday. The voice-controlled device does all the things that the other Alexa devices can do and additionally, it can do a few more functions as well. The device can work as a video-conferencing tool or a home intercom system like Skype or Face Time, as it comes with both video camera and touchscreen.
The release of the voice-controlled device was, however, a bad news for the CEO of startup ‘Nucleus’ because the Nucleus product is almost the same thing – an Alexa-powered tablet computer which is designed to be an easy to use video conferencing tool and home intercom system. And to make matter even more bad, the release video of the online retailing giant focuses not on the visions of Amazon but on several communication features which are at the core of the startup company’s vision. The new gadget ‘Echo Show’ comes with the same entertainment or smart-home capabilities that the Nucleus product envisions.
Here’s what the Nucleus CEO has to say about the product
On Tuesday afternoon, Frankel said in an interview with Recode, “The degree to which communication is a core functionality of the device is pretty astonishing. Their thesis is what our thesis was: Communication is that Trojan horse to get those devices throughout the home and throughout the extended family’s home.”
He added that the difference is that they (the online-retailing giant) want to sell more detergent (while Nucleus) the startup company wants to help families communicate easier. In March, it was reported by Recode that voice-calling and intercom features were coming and the Nucleus CEO also knew that what Amazon did recently was a possibility as an Echo with a screen was being rumored for quite some time.
However, the CEO is still shocked to see what the online retailing giant did with one of its own portfolio companies. He said, “They must realize that by trying to trample over us — a premiere partner in the Alexa Fund ecosystem — that they are going to really cripple that ecosystem and put a warning out for others.” He added that it must be a big opportunity if the online retailing giant is really willing to threaten that.