“We plan a bot in Hinglish“

In a face to face in­ter­ac­tion Aakrit Vaish, Co-Founder & CEO, Hap­tik Inc, ex­plains about the over­all busi­ness model of Hap­tik in In­dian mar­ket per­spec­tive

PCQuest - - CONTENTS - Jy­oti Bha­gat jy­otib@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

How old is Hap­tik as an or­ga­ni­za­tion and what has been the do­main you have been playing in?

Hap­tik is now about a lit­tle more than four year old com­pany and we have been try­ing to be at the fore­front of the chat­bot space. The com­pany is ex­ter­nally funded. We started Hap­tik by boot­strap­ping and we raised cap­i­tal about two years back.

The space it­self is so new; it is evolv­ing and we are all try­ing to un­der­stand and learn as to what is hap­pen­ing. Hap­tik started out with the vi­sion that we want to be the lead­ers in chat­bots, the messaging as we used to call it and let’s see how it works. Cur­rently, we broadly have prod­ucts and so­lu­tions for three dif­fer­ent types of cus­tomers. Hav­ing said that, th­ese three cus­tomers could be the same cus­tomer, but we have three dif­fer­ent ways of work­ing with them.

Can you elab­o­rate on the pro­files of th­ese three types of cus­tomers?

One is, let’s say you have a large app and you want to im­ple­ment a bunch of ser­vices in­side your app for more user en­gage­ment. For ex­am­ple, if I have a news app and I want to im­ple­ment jokes, quizzes, flight tick­et­ing, cab ser­vices, lo­cal ser­vices in­side my app. I want to im­ple­ment a bunch of th­ese ser­vices for my user. So, we have built about 45 bots which are read­ily avail­able for peo­ple to use. There is no cus­tomiza­tion. There is only color and all which are cus­tomised but out­side of that, it’s com­pletely gen­er­alised.

The sec­ond mod­ule is we work­ing with CMOs and ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies to run chat­bots for their ad­ver­tis­ing pur­poses across th­ese users. As I said, there is user based and I make money by giv­ing this op­tion for ad­ver­tis­ers to come and run chat based ads which can be Lead­Gen, pure brand­ing or it can be trans­ac­tional as well.

The last busi­ness is the pure play en­ter­prise soft­ware busi­ness where we build a chat­bot for you that can then be de­ployed on any of your chan­nels for cus­tomer’s ser­vice or lead chat. This can es­sen­tially be on your mo­bile web, mo­bile app, apps, face­book mes­sen­ger. We can build some­thing for you on Alexa, on Google home, across the board any­where, one

bot can go ev­ery­where. Our team does the so­lu­tion as well as the in­te­gra­tion with the en­ter­prise’s CRA. Fur­ther­more, there is a SAAS model where we charge one time plus.

What sort of ac­tual de­ploy­ments have hap­pened in each of th­ese ar­eas?

About 10 apps are us­ing the bots. There are two busi­ness mod­els for this. One is you go af­ter thou­sands of apps to get users. Sec­ond is, you go af­ter limited but largest apps. So that’s what we have done. We work with 10, but th­ese are the largest apps in the coun­try. The Times of In­dia, The Eco­nomic Times, and then Sam­sung has an app called Sam­sung My Gal­axy which is on ev­ery sin­gle Sam­sung de­vice, be­sides the in-built apps on In­tex phones and Kar­bonn phones. There­fore, we have a to­tal user vol­ume of more 25 mil­lion users.

On the sec­ond front, we mea­sure Lead­Gen on leads. And on the brand side, we have a unique model where we mea­sure on en­gage­ments. So the num­ber of chats peo­ple have with the brand is the mea­sure and then we build on the chats. That’s our big ad­ver­tis­ing for CMO bots. This month we will have about 25 ad cam­paigns run­ning. This quar­ter we have fo­cused on BFSI. For ex­am­ple DSP Black Rock, Edel­weiss Tokyo Life In­surance, HDFC Home Loans, Cad­bury--we had Valen­tine’s Day cam­paign for them.

Again as I said, on the third cat­e­gory with very large com­pa­nies we try and do long term part­ner­ships. I think on an av­er­age we have about 35 cam­paigns run­ning in the next few months. The live ones are Coke, Dr.Lal Path Labs, House­joy, Zi­a­come, Tata Do­como WiFi. For in­stance, if you go to Delhi Air­port and con­nect to the WiFi, you will see our chat­bot. And the re­main­ing are in de­vel­op­ment and will be go­ing live in the next few weeks.

Would the third busi­ness model be the big­gest in terms of over­all con­tri­bu­tion?

It is the fastest grow­ing right now, but over­all con­tri­bu­tion per se ad­ver­tis­ing is the big­gest be­cause we have so many users. But to your point, the third will be­come the big­gest even­tu­ally; it is the fastest grow­ing and there is no ceil­ing to it. In ad busi­ness ceil­ing is upto the users, half of the peo­ple don’t spend on ad­ver­tis­ing in In­dia. In the en­ter­prise busi­ness, there is no ceil­ing, you can start mak­ing out­side In­dia, in any mar­ket and in any coun­try.

With re­spect to ser­vices of­fered by the bot, would it re­quire lo­cal­i­sa­tion since In­dia is a vast and di­verse coun­try?

Ab­so­lutely, that is an area we are very ac­tively look­ing at right now. It’s not an easy tech­no­log­i­cal prob­lem to solve as to how will you im­ple­ment a lan­guage if the per­son talks in Hinglish. We have started re­search on that about two months back. We are hop­ing to have our pro­to­type next quar­ter. We are cur­rently look­ing at Hindi and then af­ter that, maybe to Hinglish. Be­cause peo­ple don’t usu­ally talk how they write.

By mar­ket share the big­gest lan­guage in In­dia is Ben­gali, Tamil is sec­ond and Hindi is third which is purely based on num­ber of ed­u­cated speak­ers. Right now we look­ing at Hindi and English and de­pend­ing upon how suc­cess­ful we are, we will see which lan­guage to take up next.

How big is the over­all bot mar­ket in In­dia?

It’s like ask­ing how big the over­all app mar­ket is. There is no num­ber be­cause bots can be ev­ery­where. Some­one quoted that the bot mar­ket is $30 bil­lion which is not an ex­act num­ber.

What we do is that we fo­cus on our busi­ness ar­eas. At Hap­tik, we think, how big is the ad mar­ket, if that’s one area, how big is the en­ter­prise soft­ware cus­tomer sup­port mar­ket. Like the cus­tomer sup­port is a tril­lion dol­lar mar­ket. Right now if bots can au­to­mate about 5 per cent, that’s 50 bil­lion. Sec­ond is the dig­i­tal ad mar­ket in In­dia is about a bil­lion dol­lars where Google and face­book dom­i­nate most of it, rest of it is 100 or 200 mil­lion.

So th­ese are the num­bers we fo­cus on. Larger bot mar­ket is dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand.

Most of the apps are com­ing from the de­vel­op­ers, so avail­abil­ity is nor­mally free like on PlayS­tore. Now on, all those apps which are try­ing to de­vice mech­a­nisms of mon­eti­sa­tion. So how does it work? How does the chal­lenge of mon­eti­sa­tion work?

Very few peo­ple un­der­stand the bot busi­ness, and that is the big chal­lenge. Like if I go to The Times of In­dia and in­te­grate the app, peo­ple will start us­ing it but how do you make money? It’s not easy but we are try­ing to fig­ure out dif­fer­ent ways to deal with it. I don’t think we have the an­swer be­cause right now we are do­ing the ads and Lead Gen­er­a­tion, that’s a big area for us by giv­ing leads to the BFSI and travel com­pa­nies. We are do­ing pure brand ads, but we need to find a bet­ter way to scale and cur­rently, its work-in-progress. I don’t have a firm an­swer ex­cept that ev­ery­day there is an ex­per­i­men­ta­tion go­ing and some the­o­ries come up that should you show an ad while a per­son is chat­ting or should you show it af­ter

the per­son fin­ishes the chat, or be­fore a per­son starts the chat. So we are at the stage where video was about 7 years back.

While as you said that you are fig­ur­ing that out, do a see a tran­si­tion more to­wards the en­ter­prise cus­tomer busi­ness, be­cause ob­vi­ously there will be a re­quire­ment and there the de­mand is al­ready in mar­ket. Is that why you are see­ing a grad­ual tran­si­tion to­wards that model?

I think when you do a busi­ness, you have to think about the ul­ti­mate ar­eas of do­ing busi­ness that I am go­ing to suc­ceed in. My take right now is that the en­tire apps mon­eti­sa­tion ads busi­ness in the short term, that will be our big­gest driver of growth. But in the long term, it will be the en­ter­prise. I think in the next 12-18 months, most of our rev­enue will come from the ad side be­cause there we al­ready have the user base and now its just about sell­ing prop­erly and find­ing out the best ways.

Hav­ing said that, en­ter­prise sales takes time, around 6 to 12 months, dur­ing that time we will build the en­ter­prise busi­ness, we might get into in­ter­na­tional mar­kets and to­wards the end of 2019, this will def­i­nitely over­take and will be big­ger driver of growth.

But for us what works is, we need to have both, ob­vi­ously be­cause both are very in­ter­est­ing busi­nesses even though one is larger than the other. But also be­cause we are the only com­pany in the world of chat­bot which can ac­tu­ally go out and say, we have dis­tri­bu­tion. The rea­son why I can build my en­ter­prise busi­ness so well is be­cause I can get into the door of CMO from my ad busi­ness ver­sus most other en­ter­prise com­pa­nies be­cause they don’t have that. They only have a plat­form and build­ing bots, we are the only com­pany that can pro­vide sort of both. So we lever­age that against each other.

So who will be some of your com­peti­tor?

At a hor­i­zon­tal level, there is a com­pany in Bangalore Nikki.ai. They do the publisher work, or they do the part­ner in­te­gra­tion. But they don’t do ads or en­ter­prise, so there they are a com­peti­tor. On the ad side, I don’t think there is a com­pany which is a com­peti­tor, our com­peti­tor is a for­mat which video ads. Ev­ery­body wants to spend on video and the re­main­ing budget are put on chat. So for us the big­ger chal­lenge is how do you com­pete against video.

Does that mean both from the ad agency per­spec­tive and me­dia plan­ners, typ­i­cally the bot is still a good to have not a must have. How do you evan­ge­lise to in­crease the aware­ness?

40% of my time is spent on evan­ge­lism. Not nec­es­sar­ily for ads, for bots. I am here talk­ing to you, I did a ses­sion up­stairs, I will go talk to some­one else, my job is only evan­ge­lism, to get peo­ple the idea why bots will work and de­pend­ing on the each per­son’s re­quire­ment and mind­set, there is a dif­fer­ent rea­son why bot may work for them. If you are a brand, a bot is 4 times as en­gag­ing as a video be­cause you are ac­tu­ally chat­ting back and forth. But the mo­ment, a Youtube ad comes, in five sec­onds you skip, you don’t even look at it be­cause videos you have be­come so used skip­ping that you play the video un­til the ad is playing, you will be look­ing ev­ery­where else. How­ever, in chat you are ac­tu­ally en­gag­ing, so for a brand that’s my evan­ge­lism to you or for an agency. On the en­ter­prise side, the evan­ge­lism is you are spend­ing so much money to counter some sup­port, they are not even avail­able all the time. It is ter­ri­ble cus­tomer sup­port and they are not even real time. There­fore, a bot comes in.

Over­all, when you are an in­dus­try which is early and when you are try­ing to es­tab­lish it, most of time is spent on evan­ge­lism.

What are go­ing to be your ar­eas of fo­cus in the com­ing year?

The main fo­cus area will be around lan­guage ex­pan­sion.Our sec­ond area of fo­cus is go­ing to be, par­tic­u­larly to the ad­ver­tis­ers and en­ter­prise side amongst all the ar­eas, how do we scale ef­fi­ciently. Right now we build a bot, so­lu­tion it out, how can you a plat­form and build­ing up the prod­uct that each time the ef­fort is lower and the ROI is high. We think our­selves in the bot space, a lit­tle like SAP, the large soft­ware which has so many mod­ules built into that if a com­pany has to im­ple­ment SAP or an ERP so­lu­tion, they have to bring in a con­sul­tant to cus­tomise and im­ple­ment. That is the di­rec­tion we want to claim, that we build out enough mod­ules in our prod­uct to plug in­side an en­ter­prise.

Then, we will also look into in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. We also launched a prod­uct 4 months back that we dint even an­nounce which is still there and peo­ple use it. It’s a di­rect to con­sumer app which called Rembo, which a ninja for re­minders that sets re­minder for you ev­ery day. So we roll out the ex­per­i­ments to see how it works, be­cause again, the space is so new that we have to con­tinue do­ing it. And also, the last fo­cus on prod­uct side is go­ing to be voice.

AAKRIT VAISH, Co-Founder & CEO, Hap­tik Inc

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.