Startups and investors in India have been smitten by the “bots” bug off late. So much so, that industrial magnet Ratan Tata also placed his bets on an artificial intelligence startup Niki.ai last month.
Helmed by Co-founder and CEO Beerud Sheth, Gupshup is a messaging platform, which took a leap of faith by launching its bot building platform earlier this year.
Messaging and bots are very closely related. It’s like browser and a website, Beerud said. “When we built a messaging platform and on launching it a lot of our customers said that we need an automated system to send reminders to other colleagues, we need to collect data from them, ask questions and so on. Could you write a program that can send messages,” he said. Post continuous demands from customers, persuaded the company to create a bot builder platform.
How does the platform work?
The Gupshup.io platform consists of omni-channel messaging APIs and bot builder tools. The omni-channel APIs enable connectivity to almost every messaging channel including SMS, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Teamchat etc, with more to be added soon. The bot builder tools support the entire bot lifecycle including development, testing, deployment, hosting, publishing, monitoring, tracking, search and discovery of bots.
“Bots technology is a big phenomenon; it’s almost like a paradigm shift. It’s almost like the 90s when people would create websites and would not know what to do with it. But in no time back then there emerged a number of websites. I expect there will be millions of bots and there is room for all of them. Every restaurant, every business and perhaps every individual is going to have a bot,” Beerud said.
“Asking what a bot can do is the same as asking what a website can do. The answer is almost anything!” Beerud said. According to him using bots one can performing multiple variety of tasks from ordering a pizza, to getting a taxi, customer support and consult a doctor.
Who is an ideal tech entrepreneur?
Beerud said that any tech entrepreneur should definitely have grit and determination, smart and hard working will not be enough. “Things will inevitably go bad and then you need to have the strength and perseverance to keep going and turn it around,” he said.
Beerud had worked at Citibank Securities and Merrill Lynch prior to plunging into the field of entrepreneurship. Talking about his initial challenges he said, “Part of being an entrepreneur is doing things that nobody else thinks is possible. I think part of being an entrepreneur is that you have to bold and be brave to do what you are doing. It kind of doesn’t matter what others think. You have to focus on what you’re doing,” he said.
According to CrunchBase, the company recently raised Series E round of funding of $10 million. Till date, the company has raised $43 million in total from 7 investors. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company has experimented in several formats of messaging till date.