Ankur Singla founded Akosha that was created to address grievances of India’s complex consumer market, has now changed into HelpChat, a mobile app that aims at solving consumer queries around varied services. The services include that of shopping, tech support, travel, food ordering, bill payments, movies and many more. What the app essentially does is, it helps a user in getting any kind of help around these services.
“Changing the name from Akosha to HelpChat was not just a re-branding exercise,” says Ankur, the young founder of HelpChat, who in May secured Rs 100 crore funding from Sequoia Capital.
“Rather, its an action towards addressing a bigger and more needy market,” he adds.
How is it? When Akosha was created, a helpline number was provided for consumers to lodge their complaints regarding anything, be it around consumer electronics, insurance, banking or telecom services.
“And we noticed, consumers are not just putting their complaints, they too are asking about information regarding services, and complaints consists of only 2% of the user calls,” he reminisces.
And that was the eureka moment for Ankur and team.
“We wanted to address the rest 98%,” he smiles.
Now, the app, HelpChat aims at addressing the consumer queries around almost anything.
HelpChat – Your Personal Assistant
“The tagline ‘Do More by Doing Less” talks volumes about our objective,” Ankur explains while scribbling some numbers.
By his definition, the app HelpChat behaves like a personal assistant for any consumer. If someone needs any help around anything, be it of any service or product, the consumers can directly chat with a dedicated domain expert through the app and get their queries answered.
For example, if someone needs to find about good tourist destinations around Delhi and needs to book a travel plan, the personal assistant can help the consumers in finding the best places and book it for the consumer. The chat app or the personal assistant will talk to the consumers to know about his/her preferences/choices and do the needful accordingly. Same goes for all other services like finding a doctor or booking a table in a restaurant, getting help for laundry services, find the right product or services for a specific customer according to his or her requirement.
How does HelpChat know so much about so many things?
“Well, we have hired around 350 domain experts to address the consumer queries which will be doubled in next few months,” answers Ankur.
These domain experts use multiple search engines, build direct relationships, do secondary research and create a database around the product or service to offer a very personalised and accurate response.
“And that’s where we specialise,” boasts Ankur, a corporate lawyer turned entrepreneur.
At present, HelpChat has got around 3.5 lakh downloads and gets more than 30,000 consumer queries everyday.
“We are scaling up and expect to handle around two lakh (200,000) queries a day in six months down the line,” he hopes.
HelpChat Is Fine But Revenue?
“We are not looking at revenue as of now,” says Ankur which I find little hard to believe.
When probed further, he says, there are multiple ways to get the bread from. Commission from services, lead generation and advertising are some of the models that can be looked into.
“However, that is not our immediate objective. To make the app more popular and serve to more consumers tops the list for us,” he smiles.
HelpChat, that was created as Akosha is a part of Coraza Technologies and has received 3 rounds of funding from Sequoia Capital, the last being in May 2015 of Rs 100 crore.