A startup that started its journey in India 15 years ago to help businesses reach out and connect with users through texts said on Thursday that it has achieved unicorn status and is profitable as well.
San Francisco-headquartered Gupshup has raised $ 100 million from Tiger Global Management in its Series F financing round, which cost the 15-year-old startup $ 1.4 billion.
The startup operates a conversational messaging platform, which is used today by more than 100,000 businesses and developers to build their own messaging and interactive experiences to serve their users and customers.
Gupt, which has raised $ 150 million so far and concluded its Series E round in 2011, says its customers send more than a billion messages every month.
“Increasing the professional use of messaging and interactive experiences, changing the outlook of almost every customer, is an exciting secular trend,” said John Curtius, a partner at Tiger Global Management, in a statement. “Guptup is uniquely positioned to win in this market with an experienced product with a distinct product, a clear and durable moat, and a proven track record. In addition to its market leadership, the group’s unique combination of scale, growth and profitability attracted us. “
However, millions of users in India, in fact, remember the chatter for a different reason. For the first six years of its existence, Gupt was known to enable users in India to send group messages to friends. (These cheap texts and other clever techniques enabled millions of Indians to get in touch with each other over the phone a decade ago.)
The model was ultimately incapacitated to continue, Birup Sheth, group co-founder and CEO, told ClearTips in an interview.
“For that service to work, the group was subsidizing messages. We were paying the cost to the mobile operators. The idea was that once we were on a larger scale, we would put ads in those messages. Short story, we thought that as the volume of messages would increase, operators would lower their prices, but they did not. The regulator also said that we cannot place advertisements in messages.
When Gupt decided to pivot. “We were not able to subsidize messages, nor monetize our user base. But we had all this advanced technology for high-performance messaging. So we switched from consumer model to enterprise model. So we have started serving banks, e-commerce firms and airlines who need to send high-level messages and may have to pay for it, ”he said.
Over the years, Guptup has expanded into new messaging channels, including interactive bots and also helps businesses set up and run their own WhatsApp channels to connect with customers.
Sheth said scores of leading companies around the world in banking, e-commerce, travel and hospitality and other sectors are among the group’s clients. These firms are using chatter for their clients for transaction information, and other use cases with authentication codes. “These are not advertising messages or promotional messages. These are the main service information, ”he said.
The startup, which had an annualized rate of $ 150 million, will use fresh capital to offer its products and broaden court clients in more markets.
This is a developing story. More to follow…