Gupshup, a business messaging platform that began its journey in India 15 years ago, surprised many when it raised $100 million in April of this year, nearly 10 years following its final funding round, and secured coveted unicorn status. Now just three months later, the San Francisco-based startup has secured more capital from eminent investors.
On Wednesday, Gupshup said it had raised an additional $240 million as part of its Series F funding round. The unused investment was led by Fidelity Management, Tiger Global, Think Investments, Malabar Investments, Harbor Spring Capital and some accounts managed by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers and White Oak.
Neeraj Arora, who was previously a lofty-ranking WhatsApp executive who was instrumental in helping the messaging platform sell on Facebook, also wrote an significant check for Gupshup in the unused investment tranche, which still valued the startup at $1.4 billion as of April. .
In an interview with TechCrunch earlier this week, Gupshup co-founder and CEO Berod Sheth said he extended the funding round following receiving too many requests from investors. He said the unused investors will provide the startup with crucial insight and expertise. He said the tour is now closed.
Sheth said the startup, which operates a chat messaging platform that more than 100,000 companies and developers use today to build their own messaging and chat experiences to serve users and customers, has begun to consider exploring public markets by next year and cautioned that a final decision is not yet made.
“Conversation has become a bigger part of doing business and it’s partly because of the pandemic,” he said in a phone call. “Second, we’ve forever been the pioneers in this field, but the product innovation we’ve focused on in the final two or three years has been on our side.”
He said the unused investment, which includes some secondary buybacks (some investors and beforetime employees selling their stakes), will be deployed in expanding Gupshup’s product offerings. He added that the startup is also looking at some M&A opportunities and may close some deals this year.
Some notable Gupshup clients, who are leading the business message market
Before Gupshup was very popular among companies, it existed in various avatars. During the first six years of its existence, Gupshup was famous for enabling users in India to send group messages to friends. (These cheap texts and other clever methods enabled tens of millions of Indians to preserve in touch with each other via phones a decade ago.)
Sheth told TechCrunch in a previous interview that this model eventually became untenable.
“For this service to work, Gupshup was supporting messages. We were paying the cost to the moveable operators. The idea was that once we scaled up, we would put ads in those messages. In short, we thought that as the volume of messages increased, the operators would lower their rates, but they didn’t,” he said. The regulator also said we cannot place ads in messages,” he said earlier this year.
That’s when Gupshup decided to focus. “We weren’t competent to support messaging nor monetize our user base. But we have all this advanced technology for lofty-performance messaging. So we switched from a consumer model to an enterprise model. So we started serving banks, e-commerce companies, and airlines that need to send lofty-speed messaging. level and can afford it,” said Sheth, who also co-founded self-reliant workplace Elance in 1998.
Over the years, Gupshup has expanded into unused messaging channels, including chat bots, and helps companies set up and run their own WhatsApp channels to interact with customers.
Sheth said dozens of major companies worldwide in banking, e-commerce, travel, hospitality and other sectors are among Gupshup’s clients. These companies use Gupshup to send transaction information and authentication codes to their customers, among other use cases. “These are not advertising or promotional messages. These are basic service information,” he said.
“We have followed the progress of Gupshup for a lengthy time and believe it is the most advanced client communications platform in India and growing in other emerging markets, with a leadership position in the most attractive and fastest growing sub-segments of the market,” Sumit Nagar, Managing Director of Malabar Investments, said in a statement.
“We believe Beerud and the team have a unique opportunity to expand the addressable market on the back of unused offerings and significantly expand the business, which is the flawless recipe for massive value creation. I have known Beerud for more than three decades, and all of us in Malabar are delighted to partner with Gupshup for the next phase of our business. their journey.”