Enterprise Conversational Messaging Startup Gupshup Raises $100M
Conversational messaging startup Gupshup has raised $100 million as part of a Series F funding round from Tiger Global Management. The new funding officially makes Gupshup a unicorn valued at $1.4 billion, 15 years after it was founded in India.
Gupshup, which means chit-chat or gossip in Hindi, facilitates six billion messages a month and counts more than 100,000 businesses and other developers as users of its API. The platform produces chatbots and messaging services for more than 30 channels, focusing especially on mobile services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and its own Gupshup IP (GIP) messaging channel. The idea is to make it simple, fast, and cheap for a company to build an interactive chatbot that can understand questions on a relevant subject and respond accordingly.
“Customers expect to converse with businesses the way they do with friends. They expect the conversation to be simple, easy, quick, contextual, and personalized,” Gupshup CEO Beerud Sheth said in a statement. “Gupshup’s mission is to build the tools that help businesses better engage customers through mobile messaging and conversational experiences. As we work towards our mission, we are delighted with this investment from Tiger Global, given its incredible track record of making big, bold, successful bets on innovative, category-defining companies worldwide.”
Gupshup even built a specialty chatbot centered around the announcement you can use to learn more about the funding. The chatbot comes off as very limited, with no ability to respond to anything except the main menu questions. Even if typed out, it has to be capitalized and punctuated correctly to get an answer. It’s more an illusion of a chatbot over a hyperlink menu, though presumably, the ones built by the many thousands of Gupshup’s clients are at least slightly more flexible in their interactions with users.
The $100 million is only the first part of Gupshup’s Series F funding, but it’s already two-thirds of the $150 million raised by the startup previously. The company rapidly expanded as a consumer product in India thanks to its group messaging feature. The company, now headquartered in San Francisco, saw more potential profit in switching to enterprise clients. Gupshup closed its series E round a decade ago and has since become profitable, but it has new ambitions that will need the capital investment to achieve. Part of the funding will go toward growing the business and expanding Gupshup’s sales and marketing teams’ reach. A lot o the rest of it being invested in boosting research and development at Gupshup. The company has been experimenting a lot in the last few years, testing ideas like SMS social networks, AI-powered message visualization, and merging messaging APIs with automated AI.
“While many others in our space were content to offer basic messaging services, we’ve always pushed harder to create better messaging experiences. While others offer standard connectivity, we also help businesses build conversational experiences on top of that connectivity. While others talk about how big they are, we focus on how good we are for our customers,” Sheth said. “We’re on a mission to enable businesses to engage their customers better through conversational messaging. Our vision is a future where it’s as easy for a customer to chat with a business as it as with a friend. These conversations will be simple, easy, quick, smart, contextual and personalized. ”