Israeli startup Hour One announced Monday that it has raised a $20 million Series A funding round led by New York-based venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners with participation from Galaxy Interactive, Remagine. Ventures, Kindred Ventures, Semble Ventures, Cerca Partners, Digital-Horizon and Eynat Guez, CEO of Papaya Global.
Hour One’s AI platform turns people into virtual human characters that can be activated with realistic expressiveness, in any language, for a variety of business and professional use cases. After a short filming session in which a person’s image is captured, Hour One’s AI technology generates a virtual twin that can then be deployed in a variety of roles, including a virtual receptionist, a salesperson, a human resources representative or a language teacher. The humans behind the virtual personas can earn passive income from appearances in a variety of professional and commercial content.
“The ability to easily turn anyone into a virtual character that can then be activated using just text will completely transform the way businesses and their customers engage with each other,” said Hour One CEO and Founder Oren. Aharon. “Soon, anyone will be able to have a virtual twin for professional use that can deliver content on their behalf, speak in any language, and scale their productivity in ways previously unimaginable. We’re incredibly excited that Insight Partners has come on board at this pivotal moment in our journey.
The company said it plans to triple its headcount in both New York and Tel Aviv after the funding round.
“We were privileged to support Hour One very early on with Remagine Ventures and are thrilled to see them scaling video creation and virtual twin technology to power the next era of business communication. Hour One can make video production anywhere. language as easy as writing a sentence,” added Eze Vidra, Managing Partner of Remagine Ventures.
“The power and precision of generative AI continues to improve at an extremely rapid rate, and Hour One is at the forefront,” said Lonne Jaffe, CEO of Insight Partners, who will join the Hour One board. “Just write a text, and behind the scenes, the incredibly scalable Hour One infrastructure creates fluid, lifelike video of an avatar speaking along with matching voice and graphics.The team’s grand vision is to be able to embed this extraordinary capability within any software product or enable invoked in real time via API”.