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This startup offers brands to have real-time conversations with customers on WhatsApp, nabs $8.3M funding

WATI
Image credits: WATI

With the coming of messaging apps such as Messenger, LINE, WeChat and WhatsApp, consumers have become used to real-time conversations with friends and family. Customer and sales engagement vendor WATI (WhatsApp Team Inbox) is now offering brands and customers to replicate this experience.

Investment from Sequoia Capital

Now, the comprehensive WhatsApp customer engagement tool meant for small businesses, has grabbed $8.3 million in a Series A investment round. This financing round was led by Sequoia Capital India alongside participation from Base Partners, Surge and several prominent angel investors including a member of the DoorDash executive team, Gokul Rajaram. With this round, the overall investment raised by the young company is now $10 million.

WATI.io intends to use the investment to bolster technology and product development, which is possible by expanding product integrations. Also, it will double its team and improve its presence in Latin America. As of now, there are 41 employees in seven countries.

WATI.io’s customer base has witnessed a growth of 4x and its revenues increased by 5x. The customer engagement tool for WhatsApp has processed over 100 million messages to date. Currently, WATI.io has over 3,000 customers in 54 countries including Indonesia, India, and Brazil.

Messaging is one of the ubiquitous ways to connect to others. During the COVID-19 outbreak, our lives took a serious digital transformation than ever before. As the digital trend penetrated further, customers started expecting brands to provide better service on channels that use the most. In one such trend, customers could reach out to brands on platforms such as WhatsApp that they use and are comfortable with and this builds great levels of trust.

While enterprises can achieve this digital shift via many solutions and platforms, SMBs globally have started using WhatsApp, which can be accessed on their smartphones. However, this shift leads to bottlenecks with an inability to scale and relevance of support.

Hong Kong startup!

To address this gap, Bianca Ho and Ken Yeung launched WATI.io (WhatsApp Team Inbox) in Hong Kong in late 2020. It is built on the API of WhatsApp and helps SMBs personalise conversations with customers. It lets customer support, sales and marketing teams engage with customers via a single WhatsApp number. As brands can get a holistic view of all the conversations by a customer across teams, it can provide a better and improved user experience.

WATI.io focuses only on building customised experiences for customers and brands on WhatsApp and lets them iterate on new features introduced by the platform. Apart from SMBs, WATI’s clients include Oppo, Dukaan, VU TV, Grab, Gojek, and Aerostreet.

Businesses grow smarter

Businesses prefer WATI.io as it helps them improve customer satisfaction in an easy and seamless manner. Eventually, it helps businesses earn more revenue. This is possible with automated interactions via the low-code workflow builder and chatbots that do not depend on developers. Its API lets SMBs send programmatic personalised notifications directly from their systems.

For e-commerce businesses, WATI has integrated with tools like Shopify that reduces abandoned cart rate, as well as, helps increase revenues. Given that marketers also rely on targeted notifications that will drive sales, WATI’s suite of tools empowers them to collaborate effectively and move fast.

WATI lets businesses grow smarter and meet their customers via messaging platforms such as WhatsApp. Apparently, businesses will be personalised, accessible and can engage in real-time. Also, SMEs can support customers through a seamless team inbox with canned responses, smart routing, data tagging, and analytics.

How much does it cost?

WATI offers simple, transparent and flexible plans for businesses. The Standard plan, which is meant for beginners is priced at $39.2 per month while the Professional plan suited for scale is priced at $78.4 per month. Besides these, there are additional facilities such as the Green Tick Application, which is priced at a one-time cost of $50, the Shopify app at $4.99 per month, and a one-time custom sub-domain priced at $50.

“WATI’s mission is to help businesses achieve ore with less. Our one-click integration with some of the most commonly used tools such as e-commerce, Shopify, etc. enables businesses to offer a holistic customer experience at scale. We look to use this funding to attract world-class talent to help us build this.” Ken Yeung, CEO.

“WATI is on a mission to help several millions of SMBs worldwide communicate more effectively with their customers on one of the most ubiquitous messaging platforms – WhatsApp. WATI has achieved terrific growth rates this past year while breaking even but what is more exciting is the expansive set of product possibilities in front of the company as they set out to capitalise on the market opportunity. Sequoia Capital India is excited to deepen the partnership with Ken and Bianca in the next stage of their journey of building WATI.” Abheek Anand, MD, Sequoia India.

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