Helpshift: Startup that aims to make customer support hassle-free

Helpshift's Founder and CEO Abinash Tripathy shares that with the ubiquity of smartphones and apps, they saw the unique opportunity to change the status quo and deliver customer delight.

Customer Support is one of the most painful experiences for hassled consumers. In an effort to make it slightly more palatable, companies all over the world spend around $150 billion annually, on contact centers and all the underlying technology (Customer Relationship Management or CRM being the biggest part of this). Yet, companies struggle to provide adequate levels of service to their customers. This is the thought that sparked the idea of Helpshift. Speaking to Tech2, Helpshift's founder and CEO Abinash Tripathy shares that with the ubiquity of smartphones and apps, they saw the unique opportunity to change the status quo and deliver customer delight. "We saw this as an opportunity to disrupt a big industry," says Tripathy.

CRM forms a major part of Tripathy's career span. Prior to founding Helpshift, Abinash created and ran a number of early and growth stage companies where he was responsible for conceptualising and delivering the world’s first IP-based Voicemail/Unified communications, Mobile Photo Messaging (in Japan) and MMS products to the market. He started his career at Oracle where he wrote the first in-house CRM solution.

The current Helpshift team consists of 20 in their San Francisco HQ and 60 in Pune. "We are a B2B SaaS company with large clients like Microsoft, Supercell, Zynga, Virgin Media as customers and are considered leaders in the Mobile Customer Service market," defines Tripathi.

Talking about how their solution functions, Tripathy explains, "We believe that the reason CRM software has underperformed for customers is because all the data entry into CRM is manual. Since we are a mobile SDK that gets embedded in apps, we are able to collect information about the customer automatically in very large scale in the order of billions per day. We are investing heavily in applying machine learning and AI to make sense of this data to help our customers become efficient by augmenting their workflows. We invest heavily in making our product self-service and easy to consume like any best in class SaaS product."

The company raised $13.25 million in two rounds of funding from True Ventures, Intel Capital, Nexus Ventures and Visionnaire (all Silicon Valley VCs). Helpshift recently closed its Series B funding too.

Messaging is the most important channel on mobile for a consumer, believes Tripathy. "We power customer support for the largest mobile publishers on the planet like Flipboard, Microsoft, Zynga, Supercell etc. In India several apps like, Times of India group, Redbus, Commonfloor and Via use Helpshift as their primary CRM. Our mobile SDK is deployed on over 1.3 billion mobile devices worldwide. We plan to dominate the in-app messaging based support market (which we created). The roadmap is to provide AI based workflow augmentation to help our customers serve their customers better," he says.

The company's focus on mobile is what it believes to set them apart from competition. Tripathy shares they had the first mover advantage. "Some of the largest mobile brands on the planet use us. We have the extreme tech to handle mobile scale," says Tripathy. He adds that their tech is built on Clojure and Erlang which is incidentally used by WhatsApp to scale its service to billions of users.

"We have a truly global business focused on selling to large brands. Our sales team in Silicon Valley is comprised of people from Salesforce, Oracle, etc that have sold into this market. Our next milestone is to reach 2 billion mobile devices," reveals Tripathy.

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