Twilio invests in adaptive communications platform Hyro

Hyro, formerly Airbud, is today announcing the close of a $10.5 million Series A financing round led by Spero Ventures, with participation from Twilio and Mindset Ventures. Existing investors Hanaco Ventures, Spider Capital and Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator also participated in the round.

Hyro is an enterprise application, currently aimed at the healthcare sector but with eyes on new verticals, that adds an intelligent layer of voice chat or text chat to any application or website.

The company calls itself an adaptive communications platform, which essentially means that customers use plug-and-play tools to get information to end-users in a conversational way, whether that be voice or chat. It can integrate with contact centers, chatbots, SMS and other forms of communication. Essentially, Hyro targets information-heavy industries that often have to communicate with end-users.

This type of scenario, in the words of co-founder Israel Krush, usually leads to a terrible experience for the end user and a costly, inefficient process for the organization. The problem was no more apparent than in the healthcare sector during the pandemic. End users would flood platforms for information regarding the virus, the vaccine, testing, etc., but ask those redundant questions in myriad ways. On the enterprise side, the answers to those questions were changing over time.

Hyro allows these organizations to easily edit and change that information and deliver it to end users in an efficient way. But perhaps most importantly, Hyro scrapes information from the website to set up its own conversational tree, so the client doesn’t have to do a lot of heavy lifting up front.

Krush says that the problem is big, which means that the space is crowded. He views Twilio’s participation in this round of fundraising as a differentiator.

“The market is crowded so it’s really hard to differentiate yourself from the crowd,” said Krush. “Even though we have great technology, everyone says they have great technology. Twilio coming into this round and the partnership we’re trying to develop around contact centers really attests to the differentiation of our approach, to the scalability and the modularity of our approach.”

He added that Hyro is not a healthcare company — “it’s really about serving any enterprise.”

Hyro healthcare customers include Carroll, Wheelpros, Mercy Health, University of Rochester Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine, but the company plans to use this new funding to scale into more verticals, with an aim toward real estate, government and other information-heavy industries. 

This latest round brings Hyro’s total funding to $15 million.


Airbud raises $4 million to add a voice interface to your website

Amazon’s Alexa ushered in a new dawn of user interfaces, bringing voice into the mix as a viable option. Dozens of companies have sprouted because of this, not least of which being

Airbud allows any company to add a voice interface to its website. The company just closed a $4 million round led by Hanaco Ventures, with participation from ERA and Spider Capital.

Airbud was co-founded by Israel Krush, Uri Valevski and Rom Cohen after the team saw the growth of voice interfaces and wondered how to capitalize on it.

By allowing companies to add voice/chat bot utility to their websites, Airbud hopes to increase retention of end-users on sites and give them easier access to the information they seek. Krush says that Airbud is focusing on websites that you have to be on, rather than the ones you want to be on.

That means Airbud clients are mostly in the healthcare space and travel space, helping end-users find a physician or book a flight using their voice.

Most importantly, Airbud operates on a plug and play system, meaning that clients don’t have to do the usual heavy lifting involved in creating a chat bot. Most of the time, folks who implement chatbots have to build a conversation tree. Airbud uses existing information scraped from the website, paired with an easy plug-and-play system for clients, to automatically build out a knowledge graph and have conversations with end-users.

Airbud charges based on the number of indexed pages and traffic to those pages.

The company plans to use the funding to increase the size of its team from seven to 15.

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