Enterprise Conversational AI Startup Hyro Raises $20M
Conversational AI for customer service startup Hyro has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by Macquarie Capital. Hyro develops chatbots and voice assistants for healthcare providers. This sector saw a massive spike in the last few years as the COVID-19 pandemic led to the rapid adoption of conversational AI by the industry.
Hyro designs and programs custom conversational AI assistants for healthcare providers using both voice and text. Macquarie led the round with other new investors like Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Black Opal Ventures, and K20. Previous investors Hanaco Ventures, Spero Ventures, and Mindset Ventures also participated. The new funding more than doubles Hyro’s total venture capital investment to $35 million. Hyro claims to have serviced more than 20 million consumers and saved its clients tens of millions of dollars while generating a more than 100% rise in year-over-year recurring revenue since its 2020 launch. Voice interactions have grown as a component of that revenue from 25% to 60% just in the last 18 months.
Hyro doesn’t use large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-4 for customer service. Instead, it relies on what it calls ‘Conversational Intelligence’ with more metrics and transparency around how the AI communicates with customers and suggestions on improving the interactions. That said, Hyro does use GPT-4 for its new Spot conversational search engine, which helps reduce the time and effort spent by patients searching through healthcare websites by text and voice.
“In an age of generative AI, labor shortages, and economic struggle, healthcare organizations will look to eliminate low-level tasks to further drive efficiency,” Hyro CEO Israel Krush said. “Automation is no longer simply nice to have–we’re poised to capture unprecedented demand for AI assistants as health systems continue trusting us to scale interactions surrounding critical workflows. The x-factor in this market will be the solutions provider that most responsibly and effectively blends key components of conversational AI together, including emerging technologies such as large language models, and we’re best positioned to accomplish that here at Hyro.”
Around its debut, Hyro released a free version of its virtual assistant for healthcare providers that could answer questions about COVID-19 by text and voice using a World Health Organization database and other reliable sources of information, even asking follow-up questions as needed. The AI was customizable and drew much attention to Hyro and its capabilities. Hyro also created VAXA, short for Vaccine Access Solution. VAXA was devised to deal with phone calls, text messages, and website chat inquiries, specifically about the vaccines and making appointments.