Just a few months after its rebranding, cloud-based business software maker Freshworks (earlier Freshdesk) on Thursday announced that it has acquired Joe Hukum, a platform that enables businesses to build their own chat bots based on logical workflows. It, however, did not disclose the details.
The Joe Hukum team will now be responsible for building bots on top of existing Freshworks products, enabling workflow automation for demand generation, knowledge management, and dynamic in-app self-service.
This is the eighth acquisition by Freshworks in two years and the second one this year. In the past year, Freshdesk had made a series of acquisitions including:
1. Airwoot, a platform offering customer service solution on social media, in April 2016,
2. Framebench, an online collaboration platform, in February 2016,
3. Konotor, the Chennai-based messaging app, in December 2015,
4. Frilp, an online platform that helps users discover a shop or service through their friends and people, in October 2015,
5. 1CLICK, a video, voice, and text chat platform with collaborative features such as screen sharing and conversation recording, in August 2015,
6. Chatimity, a social chat platform, which developed artificial intelligence (AI) and chat bot technology, in October 2016,
7. And Pipemonk in January this year.
Joe Hukum was founded in July 2015 by Arihant Jain, Ajeet Kushwaha, and Rahul Agarwal. Its technology is powered by a robust decision tree framework that automates sales, service, and support workflows, across various channels and user interfaces.
Freshworks had earlier acquired Chatimity and Frilp. While these two have brought neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) based artificial intelligence capabilities, Joe Hukum’s decision-tree-based frameworks will enable Freshworks to launch chat bot-powered solutions.
The Freshworks team believes that most consumers today spend time messaging and more so on social media. Quoting a Gartner report, the team adds that by 2019, 40 percent of enterprises will be actively using chat bots to facilitate business processes using natural-language interactions.
Girish Mathrubhootam, Founder and CEO, Freshworks adds that they see a strong interest in their customers as to how they want to leverage chat bots as they are looking for new ways to engage with customers on their web and mobile channels.
He adds that as customer preferences shift from the traditional phone- tree-based call centre support, chat bots offer a new support experience, while essentially solving the age-old challenge of triaging customer inquiries and routing that to the right support agent.
“These are still early days for chat bots, but Joe Hukum’s innovative team and technology will help our clients better engage and support their customers,” says Girish.
Arihant adds that while helping build a successful e-commerce company in India, he realised customers are constantly looking for simpler ways to engage with businesses, and that chat bots offered a simple, yet powerful way to address this need. He says that being a part of Freshworks is exciting as it gives them a platform that provides the scale and reach necessary to impact hundreds of thousands of customers.
So is Freshworks looking at adding more companies now? All the acquisitions have helped add on and build the product suite for the company. Acquisitions, Girish believes, do not happen because they have to happen, but there are a series of factors like product fit and culture fit that matter.
Freshworks so far has introduced new products for IT service management (ITSM), customer relationship management (CRM), and cloud-based call centres. These products are designed to help companies better engage and communicate with their customers and employees. And the latest products will continue to do so.