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Gupshup becomes sixth unicorn this week, raises $100 mn from Tiger Global

The Trade Book 85 Apr 8

Its raining unicorns in India. Not the mythical animal, but firms whose valuations have crossed the $1 billion mark. the latest to join the coveted "unicorn club" is conversational messaging platform Gupshup.

The firm, which works in the enterprise messaging space, said Thursday it had raised $100 million in funding from Tiger Global Management, at a valuation of $1.4 billion.

The announcement came shortly after Mohalla Tech, the parent firm of short video app Moj and Indic language social media platform ShareChat said it had raised $502 million from Lightspeed Ventures and Tiger Global, along with participation from Snap Inc, Twitter and India Quotient, valuing it over $2.1 billion.

Gupshup’s last funding round was in 2011. It exited 2020 with annual revenue run rate of approximately $150 million.

Gupshup said this round of funding will be followed by a second round with significant additional funds raised from more investors, to be announced later. Gupshup’s API enables over 100,000 developers and businesses to build messaging and conversational experiences delivering over 6 billion messages per month across over 30 messaging channels.

Sheth said the firm will also look at a public listing soon.

Among its recent notable partnerships was one with smartphone maker OnePlus in 2019, as part of which Gupshup made managing SMSes easier with clasification and visualizations.

"We're building predefined, prebuilt experiences for different industries, and different verticals. For example, we are building something for restaurants, something else for hotels, something else for banks and e-commerce companies and travel sites," said Sheth.

Before Gupshup, Sheth had founded online freelancing platform Elance, which is now a listed company called Upwork.

The company said it will use this investment to rapidly scale product and go-to-market initiatives worldwide in order to accelerate the transformation of business-to-consumer interactions with conversational experiences delivered over messaging channels.

“The growth in business use of messaging and conversational experiences, transforming virtually every customer touchpoint, is an exciting secular trend”, said John Curtius, Partner at Tiger Global Management. He added, “Gupshup is uniquely positioned to win in this market with a differentiated product, a clear and sustainable moat, and an experienced team with a proven track record. In addition to its market leadership, Gupshup’s unique combination of scale, growth and profitability attracted us.”

The company has long been a leader in business messaging in India. It competes with comapnies like Tanla Solutions and Route Mobile in India, Twilio in the US and Sinch in Europe.

With a focus on automated, self-serve, developer-centric, partner-friendly APIs and solutions, Gupshup is making it easier and quicker for businesses, large and small, to leverage IP messaging and build conversational experiences for their customers. Gupshup offers a comprehensive suite of solutions including messaging APIs, bot platform, bot building tools, scripting engine, omni-channel inbox, conversational AI, client-side software and more.

The ubiquity of smartphones and dominance of messaging apps is forcing businesses to go where the consumers are: in their favorite messaging apps. Just like websites during the prior wave of technology-driven transformation, conversational experiences are enabling businesses to better engage, interact with and sell to their customers. Conversations are the new digital storefront for businesses – virtually every business will have to build it. This digital transformation has been further accelerated by the pandemic.

“Customers expect to converse with businesses the way they do with friends. They expect the conversation to be simple, easy, quick, contextual, and personalized” said Sheth. “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”.