Haptik raised an undisclosed amount in Series B round and forged a strategic alliance with Times Internet.
The funding will fuel the product development and operations as well as help them improve artificial intelligence capabilities. Kalaari Capital had funded $1 million in Haptik in its Series A round in 2014. Kalaari exited Haptik in Series B round.
Haptik was founded in 2013 by Aakrit Vaish and Swapan Rajdev. Earlier named as Ashika, it is a mobile-first app platform using which users can get daily tasks done by chatting with assistants. Aakrit is an engineering graduate from University of Illinois and was an early employee of Flurry in the US.
Their app was named as ‘Batman’ during its beta phase. Later, they decided to go with ‘Haptik’, which is modified version of ‘haptic’ meaning non-verbal feedback. Haptik was officially launched in 2014. The app has been downloaded by millions and has been featured in Google Play multiple times under the category of the most downloaded app in India. The team grew very fast in the last three years from 19 people, and 80 chat experts who answer user queries to 45 team members 300 assistants.
Haptik is used popularly for online shopping, travel bookings, food delivery, restaurant reservations, mobile plan recharges, etc.
- In May 2014, they have onboarded NLP expert Dan Roth to improve the technology used by its 150 chat experts
- In first quarter of 2016, it partnered with Samsung Mobiles to offer a pre-built messaging concierge service to their users
- The company also works with fulfillment partners such as Flipkart, Cleartrip, Via.com, Urbanclap, and Dineout
- The latest Series B funding will be used for mass adoption. It plans to offer its services to Times Internet’s reach of 150 million engaged users.
Haptik claims to be processing over half a million requests per month and 25% out of which are completed using artificial intelligence (AI).
According to Aakrit, there is high user activity on Haptik on Sundays and on weekday evenings.
Gautam Sinha, CEO of Times Internet, thinks that Haptik that Haptik has great affinity amongst its users and that globally people are moving towards chat-based commerce.
Mobile concierge and chat-based commerce is still in its infancy.
- Facebook has a virtual assistant for its Messenger called ‘M’. Using AI it helps users with tasks they aim to do. Facebook plans to make Messenger a stickier platform and allow users to shop through it.
- WhatsApp plans to enter the B2B sector
- Magic, a Y Combinator backed startup, and UK-based Dispatch.pm have similar products to Haptik
- Zirtual is a similar product that provides startups and large enterprises a dedicated virtual assistant
- Helpchat, is another personal assistant app that had raised INR100 crore from Sequoia Capital in Series B round in May 2015. Earlier, its value proposition was resolving complaints, which they tweaked to become a virtual personal assistant.
- In March 2016, dunzo, a personal task management startup, raised $650K from Blume Ventures and Aspada
- Lookup Messenger, Yellow Messenger, and Localoye are other similar players in this space