How Silicon Valley based Webaroo is creating ripples in the mobile messaging spaceAparajita Choudhury
"The entrepreneurial journey with Webaroo has been like a Bollywood movie: a good start, followed by complications in the middle, which get resolved to create a happy ending," says Beerud Sheth, co-founder, Webaroo.
Headquartered in Sillicon Valley, US, Webaroo is claimed to be one of the world’s leading cloud and mobile messaging platforms. Businesses use Webaroo for improved communication with their customers, employees, partners, suppliers etc. The messaging platform helps them engage customers, to operate efficiently and collaborate instantly.
Webaroo has two products under its umbrella: GupShup and Teamchat. GupShup cloud messaging platform is a cloud-based API (Application Programming Interface) which enables enterprises to message their customers across SMS, voice and data channels.
It supports nearly four billion messaging transactions per month and is being used by over 550 brands, 27,000 businesses and over 81 million users.
Teamchat app enables clutter-free messaging in groups of unlimited size. It is being used by over 2,000 organisations worldwide, including HDFC, ICICI, PNB Metlife, Bharti Axa, Café Coffee Day, with nearly 30,000 users.
We started with a million dollar seed round, and eventually raised 50 million dollars over multiple rounds. Our key investors are Charles River Ventures, Helion Ventures and Globespan.
Innovation at its best
Webaroo handles nearly four billion messaging transactions every month and has processed over 120 billion messages cumulatively.
Webaroo has consistently launched globally innovative products and features. The SMS GupShup social network, SMS Reply All, Cloud APIs, Teamchat app are all the market leading products.
Webaroo offers messaging infrastructure to enterprises in verticals such as social media, e-commerce, banking etc.
"We pro-actively engage with developers at industry events and continue to add more features to our APIs and SDKs. We will soon be releasing an HTML-like markup language to enable web developers to easily build interactive messaging apps," Beerud adds.
SMS vs Data messaging
The usage of smartphones and data adoption is considered as the growth driver of data messaging apps. Whereas, SMS is also growing, driven by the growth in apps (verification messages), social media (alerts), e-commerce (transaction confirmations), banking (transaction alerts) and e-government (government updates).
Unlike a plain text message in traditional messaging apps, a smart message includes meta-data to render itself and handle the responses. A smart-message can aggregate related responses to show summary data to the user.
For example, when a user posts a smart-message with the poll template, the smart-message will keep updating the total votes as other group members respond. Instead of displaying hundreds of individual responses, it will display a single message with the overall vote count, thereby reducing clutter.
There are many different templates: survey, sales tracker, location tracker, form filler, checklist, among others. We came up with an interesting name for these ‘smart’ messages – we call it ‘chatlet’, a chat message with an embedded applet in it.
Usage of messaging apps
With the help of messaging app, consumers can do banking, travel-booking and gaming, and enterprises can do CRM, ERP, HR work, finance, approvals and training. Government agencies, non-profit organisations and political parties can manage their businesses through messaging apps.
Messaging will become the ubiquitous platform that enables virtually every mobile activity. Teamchat customers are doing sales tracking, employee surveys, attendance monitoring, business approvals, financial controls and workflow automation through messaging.
Apart from the biggies, Teamchat also has startups as its clients who, instead of building new apps, customise Teamchat to automate the messaging-heavy workflows. For instance, Fitcircle is a social fitness app that is built on Teamchat.
Webaroo has offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Silicon Valley. The company has witnessed a revenue number of Rs 350 crores in the last fiscal year and its employees have expanded to 150, over the years. According to Beerud, the company culture is very open, collaborative, meritocratic and entrepreneurial.
Going forward, GupShup and Teamchat services are expected to grow rapidly in India and abroad. Product wise, the company intends to invest heavily in GupShup cloud API and Teamchat smart-messaging platform.
"Tech innovations have a disproportionate impact on the startup ecosystem. Netscape, Amazon, Yahoo, Google and Facebook are few examples of tech platforms that have enabled many startups to be built upon their platforms. Our goal for Webaroo is to be a powerful tech platform, that enables the creation and accelerate the development of many new startups in India and worldwide," adds Beerud.