With automation, Helpforsure aims to make gadget and other home service solutions more streamlined
Helpforsure has about 4,500 monthly active users at this stage and the startup has catered to about 50,000 customers since inception.
At a glance
Founders: Rajesh Bhatia, Kusum Shukla and Vinay Shekhar S
Year it was founded: 2017
Where is it based: Bengaluru
The problem it solves: Automate electronics repair jobs
Sector: Home services and repair
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
Tech industry insiders believe that 2018 will be the year of the chatbot. With over 100,000 bots on Facebook Messenger, it is estimated that nearly 80 percent are basic bots that provide information in the form of FAQs and scripted dialogues with links to their website. A report by Ambit notes that although this can be useful and does reduce the load for live agents and call centres, 2018 technology, capability and design will see the new tranche of chatbots being markedly more useful.
We are now seeing more niche use cases for chatbots. Bengaluru-based Helpforsure has built an artificial intelligence (AI) backed repair chatbot that helps businesses and end-users automate electronics repair jobs with a DIY solution. Here is their story.
Story so far
Helpforsure was founded in late 2016 by the trio of Rajesh Bhatia, Kusum Shukla and Vinay Shekhar S. The founders bring complementary skill sets to the table.
Rajesh has 19 years of experience in the tech industry, of which 13 years were in HP, handling various roles like Head of Product Management, Architecture, Engineering Management and General Management. He has around 30 US patents related to cloud computing, security, manageability and printing. He holds an MS from BITS Pilani and BE from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology.
An MBA from Symbiosis, Kusum has around 10 years of experience in marketing. She also has a good mix of startup experience and has worked in large corporates like Mettler Toledo and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Vinay, a BTech from PESIT Bangalore, successfully ran a repair startup called Soldrit before joining Helpforsure.
Helpforsure provides web and Android-based applications that large businesses and end-users could leverage to deal and address technical issues on the DIY concept.
The startup consists of a five-member team at this stage and also works with on-ground partners to cater to the last-mile experience. Rajesh noted that while building their AI chatbot, Helpforsure had leveraged several years of experience of its development team, which has worked on different aspects of intersecting technologies that includes machine learning (ML), AI, cloud computing, mobility and software/hardware repair.
In terms of AI chatbot functionality, Helpforsure solves some of the common technical issues faced by end users such as software upgrades and migrations (Windows 8 to 10 upgrade, Windows 7 to 8 upgrade), machine dual booting, connecting the Wi-Fi networks in homes and more.
Helpforsure currently has two apps- a consumer-facing app, and a partner-facing one.
Rajesh noted that Helpforsure has about 4500 monthly active users at this stage and the startup has catered to about 50,000 customers since inception. He said,
Our target audiences are consumers primarily who are more comfortable using an automated solution rather than calling a home service consultant.
But Helpforsure still has a mobile number listed on their website for customers to reach out to.
While the most prominent use case is in the B2C segment, Rajesh believes that solutions like theirs can also be used in a B2B environment in large corporations where the manual customer support becomes very expensive. Large corporations spend around millions of dollars providing customer support to its employees or customers. A lot of it could be automated through the self-serve conversational chabot interface.
Sector overview and future plans
The home services market in India is at an interesting crossroad. Players like UrbanClap and HouseJoy have been able to get customers comfortable with booking services online and also aggregating a network of service professionals across India. The government recently brought down the GST rate from 18 percent to five percent for home services players.
While Helpforsure is in the home services space and offers services like pest control, carpenters and electricians, their focus is also on gadgets like laptops, tablets and phones. Bengaluru-based Servify is also another interesting player in this space and positions itself as a personal device assistant.
Helpforsure is bootstrapped at this stage and looking to raise Rs 1 crore in seed funding to expand operations. Overall, Helpforsure wants to help businesses and consumers save time and money in addressing the technical problems linked with electronics devices like laptop and mobiles and its maintenance. It also lets consumers rent laptops on short-term basis.