Female-founded WATI raises $23M from Tiger and Shopify, powering WhatsApp for businesses

WATI founders
Image credits: WATI

WATI (‘WhatsApp Team Inbox’) has secured $23 million in Series B funding. The investment round was led by Tiger Global (which backed Zaraye and CRED) with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital India & Southeast Asia, as well as new investors DST Global Partners and Shopify. This marks Shopify’s first venture investment in a startup operating in the Southeast Asia region.

This Series B round comes close on the heels of an $8.3 million Series A round raised ten months back. With this round, the total investment raised by WATI accounts for $35 million.

Scaleup plans ahead

WATI will use the investment to continually scale the team and invest in the product stack for low-code automation encouraging wider adoption of digital tools. It plans aggressive go-to-market plans in emerging markets, such as Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Bianca Ho, Co-Founder at WATI commented: “It’s been an exciting 2022 at WATI culminating with this new funding round. We doubled down on our product with more automation, making it a seamless digital tool and a must-have for any business. We went vertical in our approach and created integrations and partnerships with Zoho, Shopify, Google Sheets among others to really help scale growth and sharpen the product. The team has grown, revenue and customer numbers have doubled and now we look to scale the business, operations, teams around the world.”

Ken Yeung, Co-Founder at WATI added: “The business messaging market has grown enormously. Meta estimates that around a billion people per week communicate with a business or service account across WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. This insight is critical for what’s happening now and what’s coming ahead. About 40% of Meta’s advertisers globally – over 4 million businesses – use click-to-message ads, which redirect people from Facebook or Instagram into one of Meta’s messaging products to chat with a business. WATI is well placed to service this demand and beyond.”

Who is behind WATI?

Founders Bianca Ho and Ken Yeung founded WATI in 2020 in Hong Kong to help companies have personalised conversations with customers at scale with easy-to-use customer engagement software that’s built on WhatApp’s Business API.

The co-founders started working together in 2016 with Clare.AI creating omnichannel AI digital assistants for large Asia enterprises. Bianca has worked at Zendesk. Ken was a lead application developer for SaxoTraderGO, a cloud-based trading platform that offered clients access to 37 stock exchanges.

How does WATI work?

WATI enables companies to have scalable, yet personalised, conversations with an easy-to-use customer engagement software that is built on WhatsApp’s Business API. WATI’s vision is to help businesses meet their customers on messaging platforms as they are always accessible, personalised, and can engage in real-time.

Over 2 billion people around the world use WhatsApp to communicate everyday things and it’s little wonder that businesses are taking to the messaging platform to support their customers where they feel most comfortable. WATI helps them supercharge with its customer and sales engagement tool.

Through the WATI platform, SMBs can send personalised notifications from their system in a programmatic way through WATI’s API. They can also support their customers through a collaborative team inbox with multiple agents, smart routing, canned responses, data tagging, and analytics. Many of these interactions can be automated through low-code workflow builders and chatbots.

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