AI Curious Thing’s voice communication platform asks the right questions – TechCrunch

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Founders of Curious Thing Dr. Han Xu, Sam Zheng and David McKig

Base in Sydney An interesting thing this is a startup with an apt name. The voice AI communication platform can call people and ask them questions like “How are you feeling today?” and then say, “How do you feel compared to yesterday?” Used primarily by medical and financial companies, Curious Thing announced today that it has raised A $ 7 million (about $ 4.8 million) in pre-Serie A funding led by Hawkstone with Blacksheep Capital, January Capital and investors Reinventure and Qualgro returning.

Curious Thing was founded in 2018 by CEO Sam Zheng, CTO Dr. Han Xu and Chief Strategy Officer David McKeege as a technology company for personnel before moving to voice acting AI this year. The company says its platform has so far handled more than three million minutes of human conversations. Its customers are Foodpanda, Quitline, Calvary and Medibank, Brighte, Humm Group and several state and local governments.

Zheng told TechCrunch “instead of answering questions like ‘what’s the weather like today?’ we thought, can we create artificial intelligence that is designed to ask questions in an open context and, importantly, to gain understanding from people? ”

“It’s voice AI because a voice phone call has the right characteristic: be proactive and encourage customers to share more,” he added. “We know that people are more likely to be divided on the same issue when they talk.”

Zheng said he typically describes Curious Thing customers as “active customer service”. In the healthcare sector, it is used for daily examination of patients. For example, the company has partnered with governments in several Australian states to call COVID patients about their situation and symptoms so clinicians can provide them with the support they need. In the financial services and technology industry, examples of the use of Curious Thing include adaptation assistance, verification of information, payment reminders, and collection of customer reviews that have stopped.

Some other examples of questions Curious Thing may ask include, “do you have an appointment on Friday, can I confirm that you are coming,” and then “do you need to reschedule” if the patient answers no. In the financial services industry, he can ask people questions like “Your membership has expired, would you think about extending it if we give you a 10% discount?”, “Can I understand why you decided to stop using our service? » and “Thank you for using our service. Are there any feedback you can share with us? ”

About 85% of Curious Thing’s revenue now comes from Australia, and part of the new funding will be used for expansion in Southeast Asia and the United States, Zheng said. He also plans to hire his own technical team.

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