- Israeli startup Hour One allows users to make avatars, or “virtual humans,” using AI.
- In April 2022, Hour One announced it raised a $20 million Series A round led by Insight Partners.
- Here is the 11-page pitch deck they used to woo investors.
Virtual humans are no longer imaginary characters in sci-fi novels. There are virtual influencers with millions of followers, like Miquela, and companies are using avatars instead of humans to make 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 AI-generated avatars.
The platform allows users to generate videos featuring avatars, without code, using AI.
Users can select from a range of pre-existing characters or model a character on a real person. They can then insert the text they want the avatar to say, choosing from over 35 different languages and a variety of accents, and upload pictures to accompany the avatar and serve as a background. A video with a talking “virtual human” is generated within minutes.
Hour One’s clients use the service to generate avatar-led videos like language lessons, product tutorials, or HR and recruiting videos.
The company functions on a subscription model, which starts at $49 a month for 18 minutes of videos per year. Many clients have enterprise-grade deals that are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, depending on how and how often they use the platform.
Hour One currently works with corporate clients like NBC Universal and Defiance Media on video content creation featuring the AI-generated avatars.
Some clients use the self-service platform Hour One provides, called “Reals,” to generate fully-produced videos automatically. Others have a more direct relationship with the company and a more customized experience.
In late August, the company announced a new feature called “News,” which allows users to select from a range of 3D newsroom environments to place their virtual news anchor. Defiance Media, a 24/7 news outlet, was one of the first Hour One clients to try the feature.
“Video is the most pervasive media,” said Natalie Monbiot, head of strategy at Hour One. “We want to work with video. We don’t want to work in current immersive media, that requires headsets, but we want to create the effect of immersiveness, because that draws people in more.”
—Ian Beacraft (@Ianbcraft) August 23, 2022
The company raised a $5 million seed round in 2020 and went out to investors again in late 2021. In April 2022, they announced a $20 million Series A led by New York-based Insight Partners.
It wasn’t difficult to convince investors, Hour One cofounder Aharon said, adding that it was helpful that the company had videos illustrating how the service works that they brought to pitch meetings.
They also used a pitch deck, which they sent investors after meeting them. The deck also included videos, which helped provide proof of concept.
“The videos that are proving both the use cases, proving what our customers are saying, proving the technology, showing the quality,” Aharon said. “We market ourselves with videos that we can create using our technology and doubling the proof regarding how the process works.”
Read through the 11-page pitch deck Hour One sent to investors to raise a $20 million Series A round:
Note: The original pitch deck included videos within a PDF presentation. These videos are linked in the description of the corresponding slide.