WATI.io, a WhatsApp customer engagement tool, raises $10M to accelerate growth and expand its global reach
The ingenuity of technology startups never stops to amaze me. Who would have thought anyone would have built an app around WhatsApp, an instant messaging app owned by Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook)? However, when you look deeper into it, you realize it actually makes perfect sense considering billions of people around the world using the app. That’s exactly what this Hong Kong-based startup has done.
WATI.io (WhatsApp Team Inbox) is a comprehensive WhatsApp customer engagement tool for small businesses. WATI.io currently has over 3,000 customers across 54 countries including India, Indonesia, and Brazil. Over the last 6 months, WATI’s customer base has seen a 4x growth, revenue has grown 5x and 100 million messages have been processed. Today, WATI now has 41 team members across seven countries.
To further grow its tool and expand its global footprint, WATI announced today it has raised $8.3 million in Series A led by Sequoia Capital India with participation from Surge, Base Partners, and several prominent angels including Gokul Rajaram, a member of the DoorDash executive team and board member at Coinbase and Pinterest.
WATI has raised a total of $10M in the last six months. The latest funding raised will be used to bolster technology and product development by expanding product integrations. It will also be used to double the team size and improve their presence in Latin America.
Founded in 2020 by Bianca Ho and Ken Yueng, the Hong Kong-based WATI.io helps companies have personalized conversations with customers at scale. Built on WhatsApp’s Business API, it is an easy-to-use customer engagement software that focuses on automation and one-click integrations to help businesses do more with less.
Meanwhile, as of 2021, WhatsApp is the most popular global mobile messenger app worldwide with approximately two billion monthly active users. WhatsApp even outranks Facebook Messenger at 1.3 billion and WeChat at 1.2 billion users. WATI.io has been an official partner of WhatsApp since 2019 and was part of Surge 05, Sequoia India’s rapid scale-up program for early-stage startups.
Messaging is the most pervasive way humans connect today. COVID-19 has shifted our lives online. Customers expect brands to serve them on channels they are most comfortable with. So, when customers are able to reach out to brands on platforms like WhatsApp that they are already familiar with, it builds a higher level of trust for the brand. While many solutions for enterprises to achieve this shift exist, tens of millions of SMBs globally are left underserved. To meet customer expectations, SMBs resort to using WhatsApp on their personal phones. This leads to bottlenecks with the relevance of the support and the inability to scale.
The two founders decided to launch WATI.io to address this gap. Built on WhatsApp’s API, it helps small businesses personalize conversations with customers at scale. WATI.io helps customer support, marketing, and sales teams engage with customers using a single WhatsApp number. Since brands are able to get a holistic view of customer conversations across teams, they are also able to provide a better user experience.WATI.io solely focuses on building tailored experiences on WhatsApp enabling them to quickly iterate on new features on the platform as well.
“WATI’s mission is to help businesses do more with less. Our one-click integration with the most commonly used tools like Shopify, WooCommerce, etc. enables businesses to provide holistic customer experience at scale. We look to use this funding to attract world-class talent to help us build this.” Ken Yeung, CEO
Businesses love WATI.io because it helps improve customer satisfaction without an additional workforce and in turn helps improve revenue. This is possible with automation through WATI’s low-code workflow builder without being dependent on developers. Through WATI’s API, SMBs can send programmatic personalized notifications from their system.
WATI’s one-click integrations with tools like Shopify reduces abandoned cart rate and helps increase revenues, especially in the case of eCommerce businesses. Marketers also rely heavily on sending targeted notifications to drive sales. High-growth startups are able to derive value with WATI’s suite of tools which empowers them to collaborate and move fast. In addition to thousands of SMBs, WATI’s clients include Dukaan, Oppo, VU TV, Gojek, Grab, Aerostreet.