Messaging apps have come to the limelight ever since Facebook decided to acquire WhatsApp for $21 billion. Users across the globe have lapped up messaging apps and it didn’t take time for entrepreneurs to understand that the simplicity of these messaging applications would soon penetrate business conversations as well.
Ram Menon, a senior professional with more than a decade of experience building businesses across the globe, was President, Social Computing, at TIBCO from 2011. He came across an instance when he had to close a deal on WhatsApp even though his company had concerns about using a consumer application for such purposes. This was the Eureka moment for Ram who decided to quit and start Avaamo in early 2014 with an intention to give users a simple chat application for business purpose and a security angle.
Ram identified the gaps in the security and reliability of enterprise data that was being shared extensively via mobile platforms to devise the product. Avaamo is a secure business messaging mobile app for the enterprise which incorporates governance, security and administration features. The company raised $6.3 million last year from WI Harper Group along with Rembrandt Ventures Partners, Streamlined Ventures, Eleven Two Capital and Ovo Fund. Founded along with Sriram Chakravarthy, the CTO, Avaamo is currently available on Google Play and Apple store.
“We have business users in 50 countries and Avaamo is available in 12 languages. Users in more than 3000 organizations in India alone have downloaded the app,” says Ram. The company faces competition from the likes of HipChat and Slack globally while in India Bhavin Turakhia’s Flock is another player betting on the same market. Talking about their funding journey, Ram says, “We raised one of the largest seed rounds in 2014 in the Valley and the funding was used to focus on building the product. We have a long runway and we will raise money when we feel we need more to scale.”
On the business side, Avaamo offers software as a service (SaaS) for the development and delivery of mobile applications for enterprises and all included services therein. The team strength stands at above 20 and is co-headquartered in Bangalore and Los Altos, California, with an R&D center in Bangalore. The focus for Avaamo is on sectors like pharma, e-commerce, manufacturing, real estate and healthcare where the number of mobile-only workers is high and they spend a majority of the day away from their desk.
Messaging as a sector has been on a high with frantic activity on all quarters. And if things go as they have been, it would mark a qualitative shift in how we interact with computers as Jonathan Libov, a VC with Union Square Ventures mentions in this post. He says, “Whereas computer interaction to date has largely been about discrete, deliberate events — typing in the command line, clicking on files, clicking on hyperlinks, tapping on icons — a shift to messaging- or conversational-based UIs and implicit hyperlinks would make computer interaction far more fluid and natural.”