Chatbots: the primary means of digital communication.


Gupshup, a Silicon Valley start-up, has gone a long way in the last 17 years, from delivering group SMS services to being the world’s leading conversational technology platform. 

Beerud Sheth, the company’s founder, and CEO describes it as a “roller coaster experience.” “The first ten years were quite trying. We shifted from a mobile group messaging service to a conversational technology platform with the introduction of WhatsApp,” Sheth explained during a video session with e4m.

Gupshup raised a $100 million Series F round in April 2021, a decade after its Series E round in 2011, and achieved “unicorn” status. The firm has spread to almost 40 countries, including the United States, India, as well as nations in Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa. 

What was Beerud Sheth thinking when he created Gupshup, and how has conversational interaction changed in the last two decades?

The concept was then shifted from business to consumer (B2C) to business to business (B2B) (B2B). The business released its communication app in 2013. It also did not work. In the following years, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and a slew of additional communication applications hit the market. By that point, the Gupshup team’s failed trials and inventions had prepared them for a brighter future. It rapidly teamed with WhatsApp to provide chatbots to enterprises for client communication. 

Today, Gupshup gives solutions (such as chatbots) to over 45,000 businesses, allowing them to speak with clients via preferred channels such as SMS, Voice, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Video, and Telegram, as well as shop and transact.

According to Sheth, the introduction of AI-enabled conversational marketing has allowed firms to reach a broader range of customers.

In the previous nine months, Gupshup has purchased over a half-dozen startups (OneDirect, AskSkid, Active.Ai, Dotgo, and Knowlarity Communications).

Gupshup, he noted, listens to customers, invests much in R&D to develop creative solutions, and is focused on worldwide expansion. “We may look at other purchases, but nothing is on the table right now.” 

Gupshup is actively focusing on speech capabilities such as voice deflection, which assists in redirecting communications to an expert bot.

The startup journey may be exhilarating. You should focus on the consumer and determine your market fit. However, you must be patient. Gupshup’s journey had been long. The first 12-14 years were quite difficult. It isn’t through choice; you must be persistent. 

Take a risk and be enterprising. Entrepreneurship is the greatest instrument for every society’s growth. Even if you try something and fail, some firms may still hire you. If you succeed, it will be a game changer. The odds are in your favor.

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