AI voice bot startup raises $7 million pre-Series A

- May 16, 2022 2 MIN READ
Curious Thing co-founders Dr Han Xu, Sam Zheng and David Mckeague.
Sydney-based voice communication platform, Curious Thing has raised $7 million in pre-series A funding.

The round led by private investment firm Hawkstone, supported by Blacksheep Capital and January Capital, with existing investors, Westpac’s VC fund Reinventure, and Qualgro, returning after backing a $1.5 million round in 2019.

The cash injection will be used to help the business ramp up staffing and growth in the startup’s key verticals; financial services, health and technology clients, as well as additional expansion in Southeast Asia and the United States.

Co-founder and CEO Sam Zheng said the company decided to pivot its software capabilities from software from HR and job interviews to customer engagement, with companies using AI voice bots for companies to proactively engage with their customers. Already the business has process more than three million minutes of AI-human conversations through the platform.

Curious Thing’s client base includes Quitline, Calvary, Brighte, and Humm Group as well as state and local governments. It has grown its core team in Australia to more than 30, with additional staff in 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,” Zheng said.

“In the past, businesses usually dealt with a static view of customer touch points. Today, passively responding to customers’ needs is simply not good enough; businesses have to proactively engage and curiously discover insights about customers.”

Zheng said they were particularly proud of their social impact 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’,” he said.

Hawkstone Asia Pacific MD John Hollingsworth said his company 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,” he said.

“There is certainly a lot of work to be done in the voice AI space around engaging users on the benefits of this technology as well as creating more positive and trusting human-AI relationships. We have every confidence in Curious Thing playing a leading role in the growing adoption of voice AI.”

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