Emerging markets’ digitisation roadmap different from West: Gupshup CEO

Emerging markets’ digitisation roadmap different from West: Gupshup CEO
Business Insider India
  • Rapid digitisation has created an opportunity for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies to scale like never before.

  • Business Insider India’s special web series SAAS Scions in partnership with AWS saw Beerud Sheth, co-founder and CEO of Gupshup, in conversation with Tim Barnes (GM, Advertising and Marketing Technology Vertical), Amazon Web Services, on the digitisation journey in emerging markets, protection of user privacy, and more.

  • According to Sheth, for markets like India, the time is now.
The next two decades could see the greatest amount of digitisation and “maybe even wealth creation,” according to Beerud Sheth, co-founder and chief executive officer of unicorn conversational messaging startup Gupshup. Sheth was speaking with Tim Barnes, General Manager, Advertising and Marketing Technology Vertical, Amazon Web Services, at the SAAS Scions web series by Business Insider India.

“(It’s) the kind of growth you saw in China for the last two decades, and in the US maybe the two decades before that. The baseline for digitisation was low (in emerging countries), and there was an enormous need to e-enable every aspect of the business (during the pandemic). That’s just for companies focused on the Indian market. For companies focused on the global market, of course, India has enormous cost advantages, scale and so on,” Sheth said.

Sheth noted the remarkable differences in the digitisation journey adopted by India (and other emerging markets) as compared to developed economies. “Some of it is obvious, the moment people couldn’t get into physical spaces, clearly all of it moved online,” he said. “Everything from online banking to commerce, to online education, and even some business use-cases. All of that then requires a lot more notifications, updates, interactions, and more. All of that created a huge spike in demand.”

The digital play in emerging markets
A large part of Gupshup’s business comes from emerging markets, where, unlike the western markets, the pandemic-driven spike in digitization didn’t subside once things started returning to normal.

For Sheth, the transition to digital in emerging economies was a metamorphosis that saw no coming back. “There’s a slightly different impact on the emerging markets because of a variety of reasons,” he said. “There were a lot of local businesses, which before the pandemic (would say) I don’t need to do this or we’ll do it later. But this really was a shock to the system, and it really accelerated the adoption of digital tech and so on. And that is not a temporary spike, you digitise and then you’re digital forever,” he added.


According to Sheth, for markets like India, the time is now.

Rapid digitisation has created an opportunity for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies to scale like never before. “Conversational messaging supports customers across the entire lifecycle, which includes the front end in the marketing side, in the middle around the commerce or purchasing side, and then in the post-purchase around support. Specifically, around martech, there’s a commensurate growth in use-cases, like people using it for lead generation, promotions, deals, offers and so on. So we’ve seen a massive growth spurt.” said Sheth.

And this growth isn’t just with large enterprises, but significantly at the “lower end of the pyramid.” A restaurant or corner store didn’t have the same amount of time to digitise before the pandemic, but when customers stopped walking into the store, “what was once a nice to have, became a must-have.”

Protecting user privacy
However, he warned that SaaS firms must take company user privacy seriously while building their products. If privacy is an afterthought, Sheth reasons that it could disqualify firms from operating in certain jurisdictions since different countries have different requirements for compliance and user privacy. “We try to create federated solutions, which means it can be hosted in separate instances without needing to work with a centralised assistant. Which gives us the flexibility where different instances can support different privacy frameworks,” he advised.

Establishing the new de-facto
Beerud Sheth’s comparison of new-age chatbots to early internet-era websites demonstrates the potential for conversational messaging for businesses of all sizes. The company’s innovation, keeping in step with emerging cloud technologies and fine-tuned to various geographies, has unlocked a newer medium of communication which have radically transformed the very core of how businesses interact with their customers.

If the old catchphrase,”The medium is the message” were to be recalled, then Gupshup is both the medium, and a strong message for every business that has a customer.
Disclaimer: This article is generated and published by the Insider Studios team. You can get in touch with them on insiderstudios@businessinsider.in