DSIM startup of the week “HelpChat”:

11/03/2016

How HelpChat is solving the real life consumer complaints problem through its app only digital platform?

About HelpChat

HelpChat earlier known as Akosha is today India’s biggest personal assistant app that is helping consumers in their day-to-day decision making process. HelpChat is helping consumers in getting more things done with ease. The startup offers various options to choose from whether it is mobile or DTH recharge services, or it is gadget tech support, travel ticket booking, holiday package guidance, deals and discounts, stylist support, at home beauty services, movie tickets, on demand laundry, ordering from local grocery shops, home services.

helpchat

HelpChat with a team of more than 600 people uses AI to automate query answering. The company works with over 25% of its 30,000 daily requests through a chatbot.

Akosha changed to HelpChat and modified its business model to keep in pace with the changing market dynamics and consumer requirements.

Why we chose HelpChat as Startup of the Week?

  • It is a startup to serve consumers with its unique business model.
  • The company recently modified its business model to serve more consumers efficiently.
  • Its social media reach is quite attractive. It has more than 43K fan following over Facebook, 5+K followers over Twitter, and more than 5700 followers over the company’s LinkedIn page.
  • HelpChat handles over 25% of its 80,000 daily requests through a chatbot.
  • HelpChat has more than 57 brands integrated using API.
  • The company recently acquired Mumbai based hyper-local deals start up Niffler to expand its service in cities like Mumbai and Pune.
  • $16 million (100 crore) was raised in a series B round of funding led by existing investor Sequoia Capital in July 2015 which was $5 million earlier in Series A round raised in July 2014.
  • When they began, they received 350K app downloads in the first three months.

How HelpChat jumped over the web?

It was 2009 when Ankur Singla working with a corporate law firm in London quit his job to startup. The idea stuck in his mind once when he came back to India and he faced a problem with his mobile service company. The telecom operator was overcharging him for the internet services, and then he realized how difficult was the consumer complaint redressal in India. Thus as a solution, he started up Akosha in 2010.

With the digital industry getting a huge thrust in the last few years, the nature of queries started to vary from customer to customer. Thus the website that was started as a complaint platform for companies in 2010 soon changed to a personal assistant app in 2015.

How HelpChat makes it possible?

HelpChat has integrated with brands like OLA, Cleartrip, ecommerce brands, and Food brands like Mast kalandar, Brekkie, Freshmenu etc. & household services companies using an API approach.

“HelpChat has 57 brands integrated using API. It has covered all the services and information that a user requires in the daily life, right from personalized early morning news to booking a cab for office, from ordering lunch based on the personal choice to planning things for the weekend”.

The company had recently acquired Mumbai based hyper-local deals start up Niffler for an undisclosed amount to expand their services in cities like Mumbai and Pune.

Funding

$16 million (100 crore) was raised in a series B round of funding led by existing investor Sequoia Capital in July 2015. The company had previously raised $5 million in series A round of funding in July 2014 and a seed investment of $200,000 in September 2011, both from Sequoia Capital.

Akosha used the fund to employ 200 more software professionals and product managers to further redefine its platform and develop its mobile apps. At that time, the platform claimed to handle over 30,000 consumer inquiries every day, including on its mobile app, which it claimed saw over 18,000 chat sessions every day. Akosha also monetized by providing OneDirect, a social CRM platform that offered results for the customer service benchmarking, reputation management, and online feedback CRM.

As a message to future entrepreneurs, Ankur Singla said, “take a step ahead. Go for it and give it at least 1-2 years before you choose to quit. It will change your life.”

Future Plans

With more than 80,000 requests on daily basis the brand is steadily becoming the default behavior for today’s technology oriented Indian population.

HelpChat is looking to increase its daily request handling capability by 2 lakh to address even more user request every day. Apart from that, it is in the process of expanding its service portfolio by adding more services to its chat app. When they began, they received 350K downloads in the initial three months.
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