Israel Krush and Rom Cohen first met at an artificial intelligence course at Cornell Tech, where they bonded over a common desire to apply AI voice technologies to the healthcare sector. Specifically, they sought to automate routine messaging and calls that often lead to administrative burnout, such as calls about scheduling, prescription refills and searching physician directories.
Several years after graduation, Krush and Cohen fleshed out their ideas with Hyro, which uses artificial intelligence to facilitate text and voice conversations across the web, call centers, and apps between healthcare organizations and their customers. Hyro announced today that it has raised $20 million in a Series B round led by Liberty Mutual, Macquarie Capital, and Black Opal, bringing the startup’s total to $35 million.
Krush says the new money will go towards expanding Hyro’s market and R&D teams.
“As we looked for an area that could benefit from transforming these technologies the most, we discovered and validated that healthcare, with its understaffing and legacy processes, has the greatest needs and pain, and we’ve continued to focus on that particular sector,” Krush told TechCrunch in an interview via Twitter. E-mail.
For Karsh, the healthcare industry is facing a significant staffing shortage, exacerbated by logistical complexities that have arisen during the pandemic. In a recent interview with Keona Health, Halee Fischer-Wright, CEO of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), said MGMA had heard that 88% of medical practices had difficulties hiring office staff over the past year. By other estimates, the healthcare field has lost 20% of its workforce.
Hyro is not trying to replace employees. But that Do Inject automation into the equation. The platform is basically a quick alternative to traditional IVR systems, handling calls and texts automatically using conversational AI.
Hyro can answer common questions, handle tasks like booking or rescheduling an appointment, and provide engagement and conversion metrics on the backend as it does so.
Plenty of platforms do — or at least claim to do. Watch RedRoute, a conversational AI startup that delivers an “Alexa-like” customer service experience over the phone. Elsewhere, there’s Omilia, which provides a chatting solution that works on all platforms (phone, online chat, social networking, SMS and more) and integrates with existing customer support systems.
But Krush claims Hyro is differentiated. First, he says, it offers an AI-powered search feature that scrapes updated information from a customer’s website — ostensibly preventing wrong answers to questions (a notorious problem with text-generating AI). Hyro also boasts Smart Routing, which enables it to “intelligently” decide whether to complete a task automatically, send a self-service link via SMS or route a request to the appropriate department.
“Our AI assistants have been used by tens of millions of patients, automating conversations on various channels,” Krosh said. Hyro creates a feedback loop by identifying missing knowledge gaps, essentially simulating the operations of a call center agent. It also shows in conversation how the AI assistant has inferred the correct response to a patient or customer query, which means that if incorrect answers are provided, the organization can Understand exactly which piece of content or dataset is mislabeled and fix it accordingly.”
Of course, no technology is perfect, and Hyro is likely no exception to the rule. But the startup’s sales pitch was enough to win dozens of healthcare networks, service providers and hospitals as customers, including Weill Cornell Medicine. Annual recurring revenue has doubled since Hyro entered the market in 2019, Krush claims.
Hyro’s future plans include expansion into healthcare-adjacent industries, including real estate and the public sector, as well as complementing the platform with more customization options, business optimization recommendations, and “diversity” in AI skills powered by Hyro.
“The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of health care and made the problems we’re solving very clear and obvious (eg spikes in calls surrounding information, access to tests, etc.),” Crouch said. “We were among the first to offer a COVID-19 virtual assistant that was deployed in less than 48 hours based on trusted information from the health system and trusted resources such as the CDC and WHO…. hero It’s well funded, with good growth and momentum, and we’ve always managed a responsible budget, so we’re really looking forward to expanding and gathering more market share while competitors slow down.”