- Los Angeles-based startup Aiva Health got a shot in the arm from the Google Assistant Investment Program to support development of its artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant.
- Aiva uses Google Home, Amazon Echo and other smart speakers to engage patients and the elderly and connect them with their caregivers.
- The funding will be used to speed development and commercialization of Aiva's voice assistant platform.
Voice assistants are a key trend, and everyone is looking to capitalize on Amazon Alexa, Google Home and other voice-activated platforms. A few healthcare organizations have deployed voice control applications, but they have mostly been for a broad base of consumers.
Last September, Mayo Clinic launched a health-related voice control Alexa skill aimed at helping people with first aid advice. More recently, Cigna rolled out "Answers by Cigna," an Alexa skill to educate consumers on 150 commonly asked healthcare questions.
Tapping into the home health market in a meaningful way could prove lucrative, particularly if the technology enables a growing senior population to remain longer in their homes.
The Google Assistant Investment Program was created earlier this year to support development of innovative voice technologies. The Aiva infusion is the program's first healthcare investment.
"Voice is the new mobile for delivering better healthcare," Aiva founder and CEO Sumeet Bhatia said in a statement. "We're thrilled to be working with the Google Assistant investments team to help expand our offerings and improve care for people who need it the most."
Aiva's other investors include Act One Ventures, Mucker Capital, Techstars and the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator powered by Techstars.