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Amazon invests $1.4B in housing, $230M in generative AI startups

The rooftop of the Nitze-Stagen Apartments in Seattle.
The rooftop of the Nitze-Stagen Apartments in Seattle.

Amazon is dedicating significant funding to affordable housing and the development of new generative AI solutions.

The company is allocating new financial resources toward its Housing Equity Fund and its Amazon Web Services (AWS) Generative AI Accelerator programs. Summaries of each initiative follow:

Amazon Housing Equity Fund

Amazon launched its $2 billion Housing Equity Fund in January 2021 with the goal of creating and preserving 20,000 affordable homes across three of its hometown communities—Washington State's Puget Sound region; the Arlington, Virginia/National Capital region; and Nashville, Tennessee — within five years. 

The fund is designed to help moderate- to low-income residents gain access to quality affordable housing, and Amazon says it has exceeded its original goal two years early by providing $2.2 billion to create and preserve more than 21,000 affordable homes. 

Amazon is now extending its commitment with an additional $1.4 billion in funding to create and preserve an additional 14,000 homes in these communities, bringing the total to more than $3.6 billion to fund more than 35,000 affordable homes across these three regions.

"We created the Amazon Housing Equity Fund to preserve and create homes that will remain affordable for the next century, ensuring families can stay in their communities for generations to come," said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in a corporate blog post. "We hope that our additional commitment—coupled with other public and private resources—will help make a meaningful difference for thousands more people and enable these regions to thrive."

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AWS Generative AI Accelerator

Amazon is also committing $230 million for startups around the world to accelerate the creation of generative AI applications. This investment is intended to provide startups, especially early-stage companies, with AWS credits, mentorship, and education to further their use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. 

Part of the new commitment will fund the second cohort of the AWS Generative AI Accelerator, a program that provides hands-on expertise and up to $1 million in credits to each of what Amazon identifies as the top 80 early-stage startups that are using generative AI to solve complex challenges. 

Applications for the AWS Generative AI Accelerator will be accepted until July 19, 2024. 

"For more than 18 years, AWS has helped more startups to build, launch, and scale their business than any other cloud provider—it’s no coincidence that 96% of all AI/ML unicorns run on AWS," said Matt Wood, VP of artificial intelligence products at AWS, in a corporate blog post. "With this new effort, we will help startups launch and scale world-class businesses, providing the building blocks they need to unleash new AI applications that will impact all facets of how the world learns, connects, and does business."

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