The company’s partners and clients in India include Coca-Cola, HDFC Life, Samsung, Sharekhan, Edelweiss Tokio, Goibibo, Amazon Pay. “Our tech infrastructure employs a blend of artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction.
Haptik is a fast-growing chatbot platform that builds applications for consumers, publishers and enterprises. “What sets our solutions apart is the impeccable design and technology that backs our products,” says Aakrit Vaish, co-founder and CEO of Mumbai-based Haptik Infotech. The company’s partners and clients in India include Coca-Cola, HDFC Life, Samsung, Sharekhan, Edelweiss Tokio, Goibibo, Amazon Pay. “Our tech infrastructure employs a blend of artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:
Why are chatbots becoming so popular these days? How do they work?
Chat represents the most natural interface for the smartphone. People spend more time inside chat apps (WhatsApp, iMessage, etc.,) compared to doing anything else on their phones. The bet with chatbots is that they will sit on top of these messaging apps and complete tasks with a few exchange of messages, instead of having to download apps for every single thing. They ar0e also finding application in automating customer service requests for brands, reducing costs and providing a better customer experience. A chatbot works using the underlying technology of natural language processing where incoming messages are analysed based on keyword detection and semantic algorithms. Based on this understanding, the program responds back with an appropriate response that it has been trained for. The “training” of the bot is done by feeding in a large amount of data about the subject which the bot is going to tackle. Well-designed chatbots also use buttons and other smart elements to make the conversation a lot more structured.
What is different about Haptik? Why should a customer warm up to it?
Haptik has no direct competitor in the market as no one company offers the entire spectrum of solutions that Haptik does. All our technology has been built ground up in-house and all our bot building tools are proprietary. We tackle a variety of use cases across e-commerce, customer service, utility and lead generation. In terms of volume of requests, Haptik is amongst the top five largest independent chatbot platforms in the world. We have two types of customers: end consumers and enterprises. For end-users, we create chatbots that are simple, quick and fun to use. We have one of the highest App Store ratings in India for our flagship app. For enterprises, we use our technology and design expertise to build bots that their users will love, and make a genuine difference to their business goals.
Tell us about your commercial success so far. Who are your investors? Are you looking at raising more funds?
We believe in the power of chatbots as an interface. Every company today that is building websites or apps will one day build bots. We want to be at the forefront of that revolution, starting with India and taking it globally. In 2014, we had raised $1.1 million from Kalaari Capital and in five years time, we want to be the largest chatbot company in the world. In April 2016, Times Internet led a Series B round of investment in Haptik, making it one of the most well-funded independent chatbot companies in the world.
What is the current market size that you are looking at?
It is difficult to define a market size for chatbots given they are going to impact several different areas of technology. Its like asking what’s the market of the internet? However, by some rough estimates, the Indian chatbot market right now is at about Rs 1,000 crore and globally we are looking at more than a $5 billion opportunity. These are very early days and we are only going to grow.
How will a social, chatbot-driven e-commerce impact our lives?
The answer to this lies with only one platform: WhatsApp. They are the definition of social networking in India, and whenever they enable commerce within the app (which is soon), it will be a game changer. Imagine being able to send and receive money with a simple message or booking movie tickets right within groups!