Phonely, an AI-powered virtual receptionist firm, receives $750,000 funding from Y Combinator

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Y Combinator has invested US$500,000 (A$750,000) in an artificial intelligence-powered call receptionist through Melbourne startup Phonely. With articles that instantly establish Phonely as a rising star and a remarkable consumer response that puts the fledgling Australian firm on the fast track to success, the illustrious US accelerator has thrown its weight behind making Phonely a global sensation.

Eight months after they set out to construct an AI receptionist, for Phonely co-founder and CEO Will Bodewes (a PhD AI researcher at the University of Melbourne) and his co-founder Nisal Ranasinghe, it’s been everything, everywhere, all at once.

Launched in February, Phonely was a spin-off of the university’s AI Research Lab. It can manage a variety of phone inquiries, transferring calls, setting up appointments, and responding to often requested queries with a human voice. Bodewes said that the system can learn and adjust to a company’s specific requirements, unlike a standard robotic voice assistant or “press 1 for this” type of system.

Imagine it like Iron Man’s voice assistant, but for businesses. Real-time, emotionally mature, and able to manage intricate inquiries in the same way as a human being, he claimed.

“A company’s phone support is frequently its consumers’ first point of contact. However, 37% of business calls go unanswered by small and mid-sized companies, while larger companies find it difficult to grow effectively. The technology of Phonely is especially made to close this gap.
Phonely is 70% less expensive than a traditional answering service, but according to Bodewes, the company wants to “allow businesses to provide better support to their customers and let all of us never have to be put on hold again,” not to replace receptionists.

After winning the People’s Choice Award at a Startup Victoria AI pitch event earlier in the evening with their Y Combinator interview, the two began their May morning at three in the morning. Subsequently, Bedowes boarded an aircraft to Sydney in order to pitch for Blackbird’s Sunrise.
One of the most watched and shared launches in Y Combinator history, Phonely launched last week with the help of Y Combinator.

Things can occasionally happen all at once. Bedowes stated, “We never expected this. Entrepreneurship is about taking every opportunity you’re given and trying your best with every one.” Our postings are currently among the most popular ones on YC’s Twitter and Linkedin sites, and our already sizable user base has increased by more than 500% almost overnight. I’m incredibly happy and appreciative of our staff.

The two are travelling to Silicon Valley later this month to be a part of the accelerator that aided in the development of companies like Stripe, DoorDash, and Airbnb. One of the main difficulties, according to Ranasinghe, was getting their AI system to answer calls correctly.

He remarked, “It’s not a simple problem; large language models need to be carefully trained and instructed in order to interact with scheduling software and prevent speech errors.”

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