Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
April 19, 2021
arrowPress Releases







If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Press Releases
  Hour One Raises $5M Seed Round to Transform Remote Human Interaction with AI Driven, Synthetic Character Platform
  Share on Twitter RSS
 
 
08/17/2020
 


[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource Games Press.]

(August 17, 2020) Tel-Aviv, Israel Hour One, a pioneer of artificial intelligence in synthetic character creation in the digital realm, today announced it has completed its $5 million seed funding led by interactive content and technology investor Galaxy Interactive via its Galaxy EOS VC Fund, a partnership with EOSIO blockchain software publisher, Block.one, Remagine Ventures and Kindred Ventures with participation of Amaranthine. Hour One will use the funds to scale its AI driven cloud platform, onboard thousands of new characters, and expand its commercial activities.

 

Founded in 2019, Hour One develops technologies for creating high quality digital characters based on real people. Utilizing deep learning and generative adversarial neural networks, Hour One generates production grade video-based characters in a highly scalable and cost-effective way. 

“We believe that synthetic characters of real people will become a part of our everyday life. Our vision is that Hour One will drive the use of synthetic characters to improve the quality of communication between businesses and people across markets and use cases” said Oren Aharon, Hour One’s Founder and CEO. “By enabling each person to create their own character together with our scalable cloud platform, we will provide a variety of solutions for next-gen remote business-to-human interactions.”

 

The investment comes at a time of tremendous momentum for the company. In January 2020, Hour One began deploying its videos across sectors where immersive video with digital human characters drives engagement. Hour One is currently working with companies in the e-commerce, education, automotive, communication, and enterprise sectors, with expanded industry applications expected throughout 2020. The company also showcased its “real or synthetic” likeness test at CES 2020, challenging people to distinguish between real and synthetic characters generated by its AI. “We are utilizing encryption technologies backed by Hour One’s ethical standards to secure the use and rights of our characters,” states Lior Hakim, Hour One’s Founder and CTO. “These technologies will enable anyone to identify our videos as well as mark them as altered to notify the viewers”.

 

“Hour One’s technology is truly best-in-class, as is their ethics-driven approach to the creation of synthetic video and it’s something that can’t be ignored given the implications of this groundbreaking innovation.  Given how challenging production with live actors has become as a result of COVID-19, now is the perfect time for businesses of all sizes to produce their content with Hour One’s synthetic characters,” said Sam Englebardt, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Galaxy Interactive.   

With the reduction in the cost per character use that the solution affords, companies are no longer constrained in how much video they can create, “in essence, any textual content can now be automatically translated into a live action video of a person that engages an audience by speaking the text” said Eze Vidra, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Remagine Ventures, “Now more than ever companies of all sizes understand that they need to dramatically change how they engage with their customers. And now, with Hour One, they can rapidly, efficiently, and programmatically introduce exceptional customer video experiences, as a primary and affordable way of doing that. We’re delighted to have invested in a first-mover with such a disruptive solution”.

 

About Hour One:

Founded in 2019 by Dr. Oren Aharon and Lior Hakim, Hour One is an artificial intelligence driven, synthetic character platform, set forth to drive the economy of the digital workforce powered by synthetic characters of real-life people, giving them the freedom of action in the digital realm while giving businesses an outstanding emotional experience serving their customers.

 

About Galaxy Interactive 

Galaxy Interactive is a division of Galaxy Digital, a diversified merchant bank specializing in digital assets and blockchain technology.  Led by Sam Englebardt (one of Galaxy Digital’s partners and co-founders) and Richard Kim, Galaxy Interactive manages and invests from the $325mm Galaxy EOS VC Fund (a partnership with software development company, Block.one) with a particular focus on video games, esports, digital objects, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) and lifestyle applications that are leveraging the EOSIO blockchain protocol and other technologies to power their businesses.

About Block.one and EOS VC 

Block.one's EOS VC program offers developers and entrepreneurs the funding they need to create community-driven businesses leveraging EOSIO. It makes investments and provides support to companies building on EOSIO software through its venture capital partnership funds. For further information, please visit Block.one and vc.eos.io.

About Remagine Ventures 

Remagine Ventures is an early stage venture capital fund investing in startups at the intersection of tech, entertainment, data and commerce with a spotlight on Israel.

Remagine Ventures is backed by some of the leading corporates in the media industry and covers the full spectrum of opportunity within the Israeli market – accelerating the startup go to market by facilitating commercial relationships leveraging the fund's strategic investor network.