Sydney-based artificial intelligence (AI) voice-tech platform Curious Thing is augmenting its global reach after closing a $7 million pre-Series A funding round led by private investment firm Hawkstone.
The funding round also saw backing from Blacksheep Capital and January Capital, in addition to garnering support from return investors Reinventure and Qualgro, which had previously helped the company raise $1.5 million in 2019.
The capital injection will be used to strengthen Curious Thing’s growth in fintech and health verticals, as well as help the company accelerate its footprint in Southeast Asia and the US.
“Helping businesses reimagine B2C communication is the core of Curious Thing’s mission as there is an increasing misalignment between customer expectation and what businesses are able to deliver when communicating with customers,” Curious Thing co-founder and CEO Sam Zheng said.
“We are proud to be trusted by our clients, especially for the socially impactful work we do in the health sector.
“We look forward to using this funding to continuously build our unique voice AI technology as well as deepen our expertise in human-AI trust and conversational user experience - at a time when voice AI rapidly emerges from a ‘good to have’ to ‘strategic business tool.”
Founded in 2018, Curious Thing has developed a voice artificial intelligence (AI) assistant which asks customers open-ended questions in order to understand their queries. Using the real-time feedback, businesses are able to gain insight from every interaction.
Since its inception, the company has witnessed rapid growth and now supports businesses in over 11 countries – the majority of which are in the finance and healthcare sector.
The latest investment round comes after the company pivoted away from HR tech into customer engagement. To date, the company has processed over 50,000 hours of AI-human conversations and can initiate 200,000 phone calls a day.
Curious Thing’s Australian clients include Quitline, Calvary, Brighte, Humm Group (ASX: HUM) and a number of state and local governments.
“We are excited to partner with Curious Thing to facilitate this funding round,” Hawkstone Asia Pacific managing director John Hollingsworth said.
“Hawkstone has lengthy and extensive investor and management expertise in customer care and voice automation, so we firmly grasp the value and potential of the Curious Thing product.
“We can’t wait to witness how the voice AI category evolves over the coming months and years.”
In the 2021 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 awards, Curious Thing was recognised as one of Australia's top five rising stars.
“We have known the Curious Thing team for several years now and are excited to be investing. We initially got to know them when using the solution as a customer as part of our internal hiring process,” Black Sheep Capital director Daniel Gavel said.
“It has been great to stay connected with the team, and exciting to see them face the challenges presented by COVID, commit to a pivot and come out the other side with a bigger opportunity.
“The ability to turn a business around, commit to a new strategy and accumulate revenue and use cases so quickly, is very impressive.”
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