“Teamchat APIs can extensively customize messaging for business requirements”

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As messaging is becoming very important for the enterprise community, it is being embraced by a number of devices including mobiles, smartphones, tablets etc and this is where Teamchat is playing a pivotal role in enabling seamless messaging experience for its users.

Beerud Sheth, CEO and Cofounder, Teamchat speaks with Zia Askari from ChannelDrive.in about the company’s journey so far and the road ahead.

Please share your journey so far?

Seeing the rise of smartphones and sms messaging, Webaroo launched the SMS GupShup social networking platform in 2007. This service exploded to 65 million users (long before Facebook and Twitter took off in India). The idea was to subsidize the social network and insert ads in the messages.

However, operator and regulator policies made it impossible to either subsidize (per message cost too high) or monetize (footer ads not allowed in sms).

So we pivoted from the consumer model to an enterprise model. We already had the highest-scale and best-quality messaging infrastructure in India that we offered to enterprises in verticals such as social media, e-commerce, banking etc. The GupShup cloud messaging business has grown well and we’re now the largest cloud-messaging player in the country.

Plus, we’ve recently launched a mobile messaging app for enterprises, called Teamchat. This product is seeing great adoption by enterprises worldwide.

What is Teamchat? How do you think it will bring change in the messaging app space? Share the unique features of Teamchat?

Teamchat is a “smart” messaging app for enterprises. While Whatsapp is great for consumers, it doesn’t work well for businesses since group size is limited and discussions get cluttered in large groups.

Teamchat has developed a clever way to solve the clutter problem, thereby supporting groups of unlimited size. Teamchat enables clutter-free messaging in groups of unlimited size with its “smart” messages that aggregate responses to reduce clutter and highlight important information.

At a higher, more strategic level, the core idea is that “Messaging is the New Platform”. Apart from smart messages, Teamchat has a unique offering of APIs. Teamchat APIs can extensively customize messaging for your business requirements. There are two kinds of APIs: Bot APIs and Embed APIs.

Bot APIs enable developers to build messaging bots. A messaging bot is a user on Teamchat i.e. it can read and write messages in any group that it’s a member of, just like a human user. However, a bot has programming logic embedded in it. These programs represent the functionality that the bot provides on Teamchat.

Embed APIs enable developers to embed Teamchat’s smart messaging functionality into their own app or website. We believe that we’re all going to everything right from our messaging app.

Teamchat customers are leading the way with this trend. Teamchat customers are doing sales tracking, employee surveys, attendance monitoring, business approvals, financial controls and workflow automation through messaging. Monitoring of servers and devices is also being done through messaging.

Currently, how many users do you have and how many organizations are using this app?

Teamchat was launched in February, 2015. Currently it is being used by over 2,000 organizations worldwide, with nearly 30,000 users and growing rapidly,

What is the size of the overall messaging industry?

More than 251 billion dollars and growing rapidly.

Do you think enterprise chat apps will ever be able to replace emails? If yes than how and by when?

The most heavily used app today is the messaging app, even in enterprises. Enterprises are starting to do CRM, ERP, HR, Finance, Approvals, Training and more right inside their messaging app. Government agencies, non-profit orgs, political parties will soon start to manage their business through messaging apps.

Messaging will become the ubiquitous platform that enables virtually every mobile activity, leaving email far behind. Definitely, a huge amount of potential for messaging apps is to follow this trend. And with the increase in the messaging volume, enterprises will face a lot of clutter problem, which is why we came up with Teamchat smart messaging platform.

The Teamchat app reduces clutter from high volume messaging feeds in large groups, and can also streamline messages from IOT devices and servers.

Does having a team in valley help you in creating and innovating better technology for Indian market?

There is a lack of awareness and available solutions among the Indian enterprises. Whereas the Silicon Valley has the most mature messaging eco system as compared to any other part of the world. Popular enterprise tools like Slack, Yammer and Zendesk have also evolved from the valley.

While we foresee similar evolution for Teamchat in the valley, Indian market is definitely the hub for developers and enterprises that are building their services on top of the Teamchat platform, leading to much more adoption.

How Teamchat can be integrated into third party platforms?

Teamchat can be integrated in to third party platforms through its Embed APIs. They enable developers to embed Teamchat’s smart messaging functionality into their own app or website. Imagine an e-commerce website that wants to enable social messaging – they can use Teamchat APIs to quickly add the social messaging capability Teamchat on their app or website.

It works on freemiuim model, what are the services available in the premium model?

The basic app is free forever – we do this so prospective customers can pilot and evaluate it for free. The premium model comes with the admin panel, which enables greater control and API integration. The premium model is priced at $2 per user per month.

Please share the sectors and names of the organizations that are using enterprise chat apps for their communication? Please share some interesting case studies/User cases?

Teamchat’s smart messaging capability is completely customizable to suit any business workflow. This is why it can be adopted by any sector, any vertical and any industry practically. Teamchat customers are doing sales tracking, employee surveys, attendance monitoring, business approvals, financial controls and workflow automation through messaging. Monitoring of servers and devices is also being done through messaging.

A large bank is using Teamchat to manage its sales team. They capture sales updates and meeting reports through Teamchat, automatically generating a real-time leaderboard that is sent back to the entire sales team, driving competition and recognition of outperformers. Another company in the BFSI sector is rolling it out to its retail organization. A large company is using it to manage it distributed sales agents. A retail chain in Indonesia is using it for tracking sales and walkins across all its retail outlets.

We also have startups building their businesses on top of Teamchat. Instead of building new apps, they’re customizing Teamchat to automate their messaging-heavy workflows. Fitcircle is a social fitness app that is built on Teamchat. Some e-commerce companies are planning to rollout social commerce using Teamchat – we’ll share more about it shortly.

What is the industry size of consumer messaging apps viz-a-viz enterprise messaging?

Surprisingly, all kinds of messaging is growing. The growth in smartphones and data adoption is driving massive growth in data messaging apps. The overall size of messaging industry itself is huge, and the enterprise messaging space itself covers a market size of over 70 billion dollars globally, which is 28% of the entire industry.

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