Hugging Face Raises $ 1.2 Million To Become Teens’ Virtual Best Friend

by bold-lichterman

  • The goal of the application is to get closer to real conversations between teenagers in a quirky tone.
  • Hugging Face claims that over 30% of users who tested the app expressed an emotional connection with their new virtual friend.
  • This investment should allow Hugging Face to strengthen itself to support the launch of the application this week.

The amount

The Franco-American start-up Hugging Face, which is developing an artificial intelligence-based mobile application to interact with adolescents, has completed a funding round of $ 1.2 million. Among its investors, the company notably includes the New York studio start-up BetaWork, SV Angel, basketball player Kevin Durant, but also French business angels. Among the latter, we find Anh-Tho Chuong, Business Developer at Qonto, Thibaud Elzière, founder of eFounders and co-founder of Fotolia and Aircall, Nicolas Steegman, François Lagunas and Etienne Albert, founders of Stupeflix, and Ludovic Huraux, founder of Attractive World and Shapr. Last year, the young shoot had raised $ 400,000.

The market

Hugging Face AppFounded in 2016 by Clément Delangue and Julien Chaumond, Hugging Face allows its users to ask questions to the application. However, Hugging Face does not react like a classic chatbot from a brand on Facebook Messenger or a virtual assistant like Siri or Alexa. Indeed, the application was not designed to make life easier for the user but to entertain him.

After a few customary questions so that the user can introduce themselves and define the name and appearance of their new companion, Hugging Face offers the opportunity for its users to engage in an entertaining conversation. And for good reason, if the user asks the application to schedule an appointment or to seek information on the Internet, the artificial intelligence may for example perform the task reluctantly or even tell the user to complete it. -even. The goal of the application is to get closer to real conversations between teenagers in a quirky tone.

So far available in beta, Hugging Face claims that over 30% of users who have tested the app expressed an emotional connection with their new virtual friend, using terms like “I love you” or “You are my BFF (Best Friend Forever) ”. The start-up also specifies that more than a million messages concerning hobbies, friends and user stories have already been shared on the application.

Hugging Face follows in the footsteps of the French Tribe and Zenly who have also attempted an adventure across the Atlantic. The Franco-American start-up will however have to face the heavyweights of American Tech such as Facebook and Snapchat, whose mobile applications are highly targeted by Millennials.

The objectives of the Start-up

This investment should allow Hugging Face to strengthen itself to support the launch of the application this week. Hugging Face will be available on iOS worldwide. Improvements are planned for the coming months, such as voice capabilities and the application’s integration with other messaging platforms.

Founders: Clément Delangue and Julien Chaumond

Launch: 2016

The head office : Paris

Activity: entertaining chatbot

Funding: $ 1.2 million in March 2017, $ 400,000 in October 2016