Conversational Engagement Platforms: Commerce Takes a Talkative Turn

Do you often interact with your favorite brands on one of the digital channels? Chances are a smart chatbot will greet you by your first name and talk to you like a friend. It can tell you about a new product based on your purchase history. Or even offer an instant offer on your next transaction. It’s conversational engagement powered by artificial intelligence (AI) for you.

Brands want to interact with consumers one-on-one, in a more contextual way – anytime, anywhere, on any channel or device. But doing this on a large scale is a challenge. That’s why they rely on conversational engagement platforms like Gupshup. “We are changing the way companies connect with their consumers by enabling better user engagement,” says Beerud Sheth, co-founder and CEO of Gupshup, the leading conversational engagement platform in India and other emerging markets. .

Richer conversations

“It’s time to imagine messaging apps like new browsers and conversational experiences – delivered by brands through messaging channels – like new websites,” he says. For consumers, the messaging app becomes a sort of “super-app” to connect with all businesses, replacing multiple single-brand apps. WeChat in China is a prime example of this phenomenon, Sheth shares.

Exponential growth in supply

Gupshup is betting that conversational experiences will become the norm in the next few years, if not months. “The conversational AI space is about to hit an inflection point, so there’s huge potential,” Sheth believes. He even suggests that in a decade people would look back and wonder how anyone did business without conversational messaging.

Gupshup’s Growth Story

Gupshup works with over 45,000 customers in over 40 countries and powers over 7 billion messages each month. According to Sheth, thousands of companies large and small in emerging markets use Gupshup’s business platform to create omnichannel conversational experiences. The company has experienced triple-digit growth. It works with leading companies across all industries in India and claims to be the market leader in the Conversational Platform as a Service (CPaaS) segment. Additionally, Sheth says, 80 of India’s more than 100 unicorns use Gupshup’s platform.

Investments in product-led growth

The company’s four main verticals are BFSI, Retail & Commerce, Travel & Hospitality, and Education (EdTech). With four acquisitions in less than nine months, it has increased its product line as well as its vertical depth. The San Francisco-based unicorn has raised $390 million in six funding rounds.

“We are looking at another fundraising round in about a quarter, leading to a U.S. IPO later this year, subject to market favour,” Sheth reveals. “Gupshup is one of the few profitable unicorns,” he adds. Looking ahead, the MIT and IIT-B graduate says, “I’m very excited about the role Gupshup can play in shaping the future of business-consumer relationships – through the conversational engagement, commerce and support worldwide.

The journey so far

Company: Gupshup
Headquarters: San Francisco, USA
Number of employees: 1,200+ (most of them based in India)
Annual turnover: more than 250 million dollars
Number of customers: nearly 45,000
Countries/markets present/operating in: 40+
Valuation (according to the last fundraising): more than 1.4 billion dollars
Number of companies acquired: 4
Acquired companies:

  1. Dotgo (leader in RCS)
  2. Knowlarity (leader in voice communications)
  3. Active.Ai (leading conversational AI platform used by BFSI companies)
  4. AskSid (leading conversational AI platform used by retail/e-commerce/CPG companies)
    Number of funding rounds to date: 6
    Total funds raised: $390 million

ESTIMATE
We are changing the way businesses connect with their consumers by enabling better user engagement through conversations”
Beeroud Sheth,
Co-founder and CEO, Gupshup