With an eye on listing in the future, Jio Haptik trains guns on growth & profitability

With an eye on listing in the future, Jio Haptik trains guns on growth & profitability
Aakrit VaishJio Haptik
  • The company’s CRM solution called Interakt is targeting small businesses on WhatsApp Business at ₹1000 a month.
  • From day one, businesses using Interakt can start sending alerts and reminders to customers and even track payments and queries simultaneously.
  • The company hopes to get listed over the longer term but aims to turn profitable before that.
Imagine if you could order an Alexa-like voice assistant to attend to your customer queries, while you take a break from work. Now you can do this for as less as ₹1000 a month. If you are a small business or a solopreneur, you can now chat with your customers and answer queries easily through a virtual assistant. Providing this solution is Jio Haptik, a company that develops conversational platforms and virtual assistants and is owned by Reliance Jio, the country’s largest telecom service provider. Over the last 15 months, the company has worked on a solution called Interakt, which helps small businesses automate their support and sales channel using WhatsApp. The company already has 5000 paying users on its platform using Interakt.

So far, Jio Haptik has been focused on providing AI powered conversational platforms like bots to large enterprises, but with Interakt it hopes to address business needs of small and micro businesses with annual revenues between ₹50 lakh and ₹5 crore. Explains Aakrit Vaish, CEO of Jio Haptik, “Interakt Business is a product that we launched 18 months back. We saw a great deal of demand from small businesses who wanted to use WhatsApp Business to chat with consumers. We realized that the BOT approach would not work so we spun out a separate team in the company and said that they had to solve the SMB problem.” The company now has crossed 5000 paying merchants for this product and this base is roughly doubling quarter on quarter. Jio Haptik believes that they would have 10,000 paying customers by March 2023.

Reliance Jio had acquired a majority stake in Haptik back in 2019 for $100 mn. The telecom behemoth currently holds 87% in the company while the founding team holds the remaining stake.

For scores of small businesses, WhatsApp Business is the only platform they have to engage with their consumers. For them this comes as a blessing as the platform can help them automate communications and answer questions in real time without any lag. Small online sellers using Shopify can do the same without any worry. Thanks to the boom in social commerce, Vaish is of the view that small businesses now no longer need their own websites. He says: “Our belief is that SMBs may not even need a website and only when they scale they may need a website. They create an Instagram page and get business on WhatsApp. We are organizing WA for them.”

So what does Jio Haptik offer small businesses?

The company helps small and medium businesses manage chats and analytics. The users also have a dashboard where they can track their business metrics. The same capabilities are also available to merchants selling on Instagram and Google Messages as well. Interakt offers end-to-end customer management solutions on WhatsApp. Instead of using a personal number, Haptik will offer a customer full suite of services with a new connection. From day one, businesses can start sending alerts and reminders to customers. It also enables businesses to track purchases, payments and queries simultaneously.

As businesses scale, Interakt can enable multi-agent chats for the same business account. For entities selling on their websites using Shopify, Interakt has solutions that are integrated with it such that all website orders will come on Interakt. The entrepreneur can use Google analytics to track metrics. A business that earns ₹1 crore or more in revenues, Jio Haptik offers automated workflows along with basic automation.

In less than 15 months, Interakt accounts for 20% of Jio Haptik’s revenues and by the end of FY24, Vaish expects it to be a third of the revenues. But the ambition is to take it to 50% and a merchant base of 50,000 by FY26.

Jio Haptik’s ambitions are not just restricted to revenue growth

Jio Haptik’s ambitions are not just limited to revenue growth, which is growing at a clip of 300% year-on-year. The company does not need capital infusion at this point, but its ambition is to get listed over the longer term and Vaish is working towards that goal too. Over the medium term, the company is looking at becoming profitable. Explains Vaish,

“The ambition for any good business should be to become a publicly listed entity. That is a gold standard for every company. Our long-term ambition is that, but again I don’t want to get too ahead of myself.”

Jio Haptik’s near-term plan is 2-3x growth in aggregate revenues and to get Interakt to a point it contributes to a third of our business. Vaish also wants to bring the enterprise business to a point where global clients contribute a larger chunk of enterprise revenues. He says: “We don’t need additional capital in the short-term. In the medium term we may be profitable and not need capital or we are growing exceedingly fast and do need more capital and we look at ways to finance it. Our long-term goal is to be a profitable listed company.”

Business concentration risk as 50% of business comes from WhatsApp and Instagram users

Given that the retail business is almost entirely focused on catering to small businesses on the WhatsApp Business platform and Instagram, there is an element of concentration of risk and dependence on one platform. For now, Jio Haptik says that it is only making features and products that its customers want. Most businesses today prefer to function on WhatsApp. For large businesses, Jio Haptik offers a diversified set of solutions across channels. The belief is that over a longer period of time, new channels like Google Business Messages will become popular as will some others like Google Messages.


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