- Israeli startup Hour One allows users to create avatars or “virtual humans” using artificial intelligence.
- In April 2022, Hour One announced that it had raised a $20 million Series A round led by Insight Partners.
- Here is the 11 page outline presentation they used to attract investors.
Virtual humans are no longer fictional characters in science fiction novels. There are virtual influencers who have millions of followers, like Michaela, and companies are using avatars instead of humans to make the work more efficient.
Hour One, an Israeli startup founded in 2019 by CEO Oren Aharon and CTO Lior Hakim, is one of the companies helping to create these “virtual humans,” or avatars created by artificial intelligence.
The platform allows users to create videos with avatars, without code, using artificial intelligence.
Users can choose from a set of pre-existing characters or model a character on a real person. They can then enter the text they want the avatar to say, choose from over 35 different languages and a variety of dialects, and upload images to accompany the avatar and serve as a background. A video is created with a “virtual human” speaking in a matter of minutes.
Hour One customers use the service to create avatar-led videos such as language lessons, product lessons, or human resources and recruiting videos.
The company operates on a subscription model, starting at $49 per month for 18 minutes of videos per year. Many clients have enterprise level deals that are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, depending on how and how often the platform is used.
Hour One is currently working with corporate clients such as NBC Universal and Defiance Media to create video content featuring AI-generated avatars.
Some customers use Hour One’s self-service platform, called Reals, to automatically create fully-produced videos. Others have a more direct relationship with the company and a more personalized experience.
In late August, the company announced a new feature called News, which allows users to choose from a range of 3D newsroom environments for their default newscaster mode. Defiance Media, a 24/7 news outlet, was one of the first first hour customers to try this feature.
“Video is the most viral media outlet,” said Natalie Monbiot, Head of Strategy at Hour One. “We want to work with video. We don’t want to work in actual immersive media, which requires headphones, but we want to create the immersive effect, because that draws people into more.”
—Ian Beecraft (@Ianbcraft) August 23 2022
The company raised an initial $5 million round in 2020 and went to investors again in late 2021. In April 2022, they announced a $20 million Series A led by Insight Partners in New York.
Hour One co-founder Aharon said it wasn’t hard to convince investors, adding that it would have been helpful if the company had videos showing how the service they brought to meetings worked.
They also used a presentation, which they sent to investors after meeting them. The deck also included videos, which helped provide a proof of concept.
“Videos that prove each of the use cases, prove what our customers are saying, prove the technology, and show the quality,” Aharon said. “We market ourselves with videos that we can create with our technology and double the proof as to how the process works.”
Read through an 11-page presentation that the first hour was sent to investors to raise $20 million from the first round of the first round:
Note: The original layout presentation included videos within a PDF presentation. These videos are linked in the corresponding slide description.
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