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


Curious Thing founders Dr. Han Xu, Sam Zheng and David Mckeague

Curious Thing, based in Sydney, is an aptly named startup. The AI ​​voice communication platform can call people and ask them questions like “How are you feeling today?” then continue with “how do you feel compared to yesterday? Used primarily by healthcare and financial companies, Curious Thing announced today that it has raised A$7 million (approximately US$4.8 million) in a pre-Series A funding led by Hawkstone with participation from Blacksheep Capital, January Capital and returning investors Reinventure and Qualgro.

Curious Thing was founded in 2018 by CEO Sam Zheng, CTO Dr Han Xu and Chief Strategy Officer David Mckeague as an HR technology company, before moving into voice AI this year. The company says its platform has processed more than three million minutes of AI-human conversations so far. Its customers include 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 build an AI designed to ask questions in open context and, most importantly, pull ideas from people? »

“It is a voice AI because the voice phone call has the good characteristic of being proactive and fast to encourage customers to share more,” he added. “We know that for the same question, people are more likely to share if they talk.”

Zheng said he usually describes Curious Thing to customers as “proactive customer service.” In the healthcare sector, it is used for daily patient checks. For example, the company has worked with several state governments in Australia to call COVID patients about their situation and symptoms, so clinicians can give them the right kind of support. In the financial services and fintech industries, Curious Thing’s use cases include onboarding assistance, information validation, payment reminders, and collecting stale customer feedback.

Other examples of questions Curious Thing might ask are: “Do you have an appointment on Friday, can I confirm you’re coming,” followed by “Do you need to reschedule” if a patient says no. In the financial services industry, he may ask people things like “Your membership has expired, would you consider renewing if we give you 10% off?”, “Can I understand why you have decided to stop ‘use our service?’ and “Thank you for using our service. Are there any comments you can share with us?”

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

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