Birmingham tech firm Help Lightning lands $8M in funding + feature in Forbes

Birmingham, Help Lightning, expertise software
Help Lightning provides expert assistant to customers through merged reality. Photo via Help Lightning’s Facebook page

It’s not often a business booms during a pandemic, but Birmingham-based Help Lightning sure is. The Forbes-featured tech firm just secured $8M in Series A funding—here’s a look at what this company is all about and how they’re striving during COVID-19.

What is Help Lightning?

Birmingham, Help Lightning
Can you imagine being able to get in-person service through a mobile device? Photo via Help Lightning

A really cool virtual expertise software, that’s what. The software aims to help service organizations reduce costs and increase productivity through remote video collaboration through something called merged reality.

Merged reality allows video interactions to have similar characters to in-person interactions. Through the use of mobile devices, merged reality allows experts to visually collaborate, assist with issues and resolve problems—just like they were working side-by-side with a colleague or customer. 

Here’s how it works:

Say you are in need of help from a service tech, but are unable to meet them in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other reason. Help Lightning will allow you to receive virtual assistance. But it’s not just via your typical Zoom call. 

Birmingham, Help Lightning
A side-by-side view of an expert helping a technician in need of assistance. Photo via Help Lightning

Help Lightning experts are able to do a number of different things, including:

  • Freeze an image
  • Draw on the screen 
  • Zoom in to work collaboratively

The coolest thing, however, is they can virtually reach their hand into the field of view to show you exactly how to resolve a problem.

Think of it like teleportation, but without anyone actually traveling to a new location.

Check out this video to see how Help Lightning works

How did Help Lightning come to be?

Though Help Lightning may provide tech support in 85 countries, it all began in Birmingham. 

“The technology behind Help Lightning was invented at UAB. The leadership team has lived in Birmingham for most of our careers and we saw an opportunity to build Help Lightning right here in our hometown.”

The Funding Process

Birmingham, Help Lightning, expertise software
Software experts can draw and point on screen to better assist customers. Photo via Help Lightning’s Facebook page

As previously mentioned, Help Lightning officially received Series A funding—$8M to be exact. As you can imagine, receiving funding is not the easiest in the midst of a global pandemic. But they managed to make it happen. Here’s a bit of backstory for you.

Help Lightning got its start in 2015 and business rapidly grew. York declared that 2019 was also “a great year for Virtual Expertise.” 

This is where things get interesting. When the pandemic hit, many businesses took a huge hit, with a lot having to temporarily or permanently shut down. But Help Lightning saw the opposite effect.

“When the pandemic hit, we saw a new urgency to delivery service innovation when travel restrictions and social distancing made it impossible to do business the old way. We had interest from investors all over the country due to our leading position in a rapidly growing market.”

Who led the $8M investment? Baltimore’s Resolve Growth Partners. 

How will the funding be used? 

“We see growing demand as our current customers expand use to new divisions, countries, and product lines. We also see new customers need to innovate in service delivery in the U.S. and internationally. We plan to grow our sales, marketing, and customer service teams to meet that demand.”

Local Companies Using Help Lightning

Birmingham, Help Lightning
An up-close view of merge reality. Photo via Help Lightning

Since Help Lightning was created in Birmingham, there are a number of local companies/businesses using this expertise software. 

According to York, this includes clinicians at UAB and the Birmingham-based nonprofit InterSurgeon. AutoCar Trucks is also using it to support their customers.

The Future in Expertise Software

Though COVID-19 has increased the need for virtual software like Help Lightning, you have to wonder if things will slow down once the pandemic is finally over. 

According to York, the need for virtual expertise will only continue to rise. 

“The market for virtual expertise is in the early stages of development. We see it growing over 70% year over year and Help Lightning is a leader in this emerging market.”

What do you think of merge reality and Help Lightning’s expertise software? Let us know on social at @BhamNow on Facebook and Instagram, or @Now_Bham on Twitter.