money, funding, ian

New Delhi based Akosha, an innovative customer support platform which helps customers get in touch with relevant businesses directly via iM, has now grabbed a $16 Million Series B round from exiting investor Sequoia Capital.

The startup is looking to bolster its engineering team by hiring over 200 software engineers and product managers to help fuel its aggressive expansion plans. Akosha already counts in Snapdeal and Aircel among 130 strong clientele.

Talking about this recent round and Akosha’s success, founder Ankur Singla says,

What we wanted to do was create a platform, a single place where you can get in touch with any brand in India. Many Indians use mobile chat, so we wanted to build it in a way where large brands can log onto a platform, look at customer service issues, and improve customer retention and so on.

As a customer, you can use Akosha’s app, website or a telephone number to contact whichever company you have a complaint against. Once connected and done, you can also leave a feedback behind on how you felt in using the service. Akosha already has over 140K downloads on Android Play Store which continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Akosha claims to process 30,000 customer inquiries every day, of which 18,000 are handled through its mobile app. It monetizes with a premium version of its enterprise software, called OneDirect, which currently has about 30 paying customers. 

Akosha can be compared with WeChat or Line, which offer customers similar services to contact with businesses directly. However, those services aren’t yet available in India. Moreover, companies have recently started using WhatsApp as a customer support alternative but without much success. This can be  attributed to whatsApp’s continued consumer-centric approach and no enterpriser version for companies. Talking on the same, Singla says,

In India, there is nothing similar to WeChat, where you have a lot of commerce happening over WeChat itself

However, Akosha isn’t the only app in India which lets you handle your product complaints using the power of IM. We earlier featured a similar app, named yellow Messenger, which has amassed a sizeable user base in South India, and specially in Bangalore. But then, the kind of backing which Akosha just received, will make it tough for similar startups to come up to the big stage and actually deliver consumer convenience.

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