More than 2 billion people are on WhatsApp, accounting for more than one-quarter of the world’s population. Hardly a day goes by without an average smartphone user spending at least 45mins on this platform. This a proof that WhatsApp amongst other social platforms has become an invaluable part of our daily lives.
WhatsApp for popular reasons has been a thriving platform for small and medium business (SMB) owners to reach and sell to their customers in a personalized marketing campaign. The conversion rate over this platform has been unimaginably appealing which led to Facebook creating WhatsApp for Business with some features targeted at business promotion.
However, WhatsApp for Business might not be able to keep up with the many business needs. This is where WATI (WhatsApp Team Inbox) comes in to support many businesses meet their specific business goals.
Founded in 2020 by Bianca Ho and Ken Yeung began working together in 2016 at building Clare.AI, an omnichannel AI digital assistant for large Asia enterprises. Built on WhatsApp for Business API, WATI was designed to give SMBs a self-service, low-code WhatsApp for Business.
Ken-Yeung and Bianca-Ho
“We assumed that only larger enterprises had the resources to deploy a successful digital assistant with artificial intelligence.” After a few years of working with their clients, however, the two realized many were looking for a simpler solution, so WATI was created. Part of the reason for its launch was the digital acceleration caused by the pandemic, as many businesses rushed to get online- says Ho while she and Yeung were still working on Clare. AI.
The startup currently has more than 6,000 customers in 75 countries, including SMBs in spaces like house cleaning, schools, education centres, edtech, fintech, medical facilities, D2C brands, and Shopify stores.
WhatsApp has increasingly become a preferred mode of communication between people, customers, and businesses in continents like Europe, Africa, and part of America.
WATI’s customer engagement software allows the client’s to send personalized notifications, a collaborative team inbox for multiple agents, and features like smart routing, canned responses, data tagging, and analytics. Interactions can be automated through low-code workflows and chatbots, and connected to e-commerce platforms and CRMs. WATI is also integrated with platforms like Zoho, Shopify, and Google Sheets.
Prime Day gives an example of how WATI is used is big e-commerce companies that rely on its platform to manage campaigns. The company usually gets 60 to 100 messages a day from customers through WATI’s team inbox, the majority of which come from its website’s WhatsApp chat, and sends about 30,000 messages every day when campaigns are active.
Edtech client is another example of companies that have used WATI for almost two years. For two years now, edtech has relied on WATI for about 50 templates a month for lead generation, nurturing, payment reminders, and class updates, and sends up to 20,000 to 30,000 messages a day. WATI also helps them get high-quality organic leads through a WhatsApp widget on their website.
WATI Series B Funding
WATI’s series A funding raises about $8.3 million. Series B has raised $23 million in funding to scale its team and product.
This round was led by Tiger Global with participation from returning investors Sequoia Capital India & Southeast Asia and new investors DST Global Partners and Shopify (marking the e-commerce platform’s first venture investment in a startup operating in the Southeast Asia region). This new round brings its total raised to more than $35 million since 2020.
According to Ho, the Funding will be used for hiring and investing in WATI’s product stack for low-code automation. The company also has go-to-market plans for emerging markets, like Latin America and Southeast Asia.