Akosha, a messaging platform for all sort of consumer-to-business interactions, has raised over $16 Mn (INR 100 Cr.) in Series B round led by Sequoia. This new round of financing will be used to hire over 200 software engineers and product managers to build out the platform, and fund the exponential growth of Akosha’s new mobile app for connecting users and businesses.
Akosha was founded on the insight that the quality and channels of consumer’s interactions with businesses are broken and outdated. Akosha.com is a horizontal platform for all consumers to business interactions where customers can connect with any businesses using an Akosha mobile app, dedicated customer care helpline and website.
Akosha has received over 40,00,000 consumer queries across sectors, including telecom, consumer appliances, ecommerce, mobile, banking and insurance in 2014. It handles 30,000+ consumer inquiries every day over the web, telephone and its Android chat app.
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The startup monetizes these inquiries through its enterprise software OneDirect, which brands can use for fast and personalized interactions with their consumers. Currently, more than 130 large brands use Akosha’s OneDirect platform to respond to consumer inquiries every week. Around 30 of these enterprises have become paying customers who subscribe to a premium version of the OneDirect Enterprise Suite. Kotak Mahindra Bank, Voltas, Aircel, Snapdeal, Micromax and Makemytrip are some of the leading brands currently using Akosha OneDirect enterprise solutions.
As per the company, over 140,000 users have downloaded Akosha’s new android app in just 4 months with an average rating of 4.5. Consumers use the Akosha app for product discovery, pricing information, discounts, customer service, booking appointments, travel research and so on. Currently, the app supports more than 18,000 chat sessions per day and have been growing 20-25% week-on-week.
Akosha’s B2C chat app competes with Haptik, LookUp and Yellow Messenger, which also allows consumers to chat with brands. Whereas its OneDirect platform competes with startups like Airwoot, FreshDesk, Zendesk and Kayako.
Shailendra Singh, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital India Advisors said, “We have always believed in the thesis that consumers need a better way to interact with businesses. We are inspired by Ankur’s vision for becoming a single destination on the smartphone for users to interact with hundreds of businesses and online services. We are delighted to lead our third round of investment in Akosha, starting with a $200,000 seed investment in 2011.”
The company has 350+ employees and 3 offices in India. Over the last year, the company has grown its employee base from 180 to well over 300 and recently opened a technology and product office in Bangalore. Akosha’s expects to add 400-500 people to its team this year.
As per the documents available, Akosha had earned revenues of INR 1.26 Cr. in 2014-15 with a loss of about INR 4.46 Cr.
Akosha was co-founded by Ankur Singla, a National Law School, Bangalore graduate who was deeply moved by the poor quality of customer service in India. Ankur was later joined by Avinash Vankadaru and Vishal Pal Chaudhary.
Ankur Singla, Chief Executive Officer, Akosha, said, “We started 4 years ago to help consumers with post purchase issues. With the growth of mobile, we aim at building a messaging platform for all interactions between consumers and businesses including discovery, buying, appointments and customer service. We hope to be doing 100,000 customer interactions/day within 3 months. But I think we’re just getting started. We are confident that in the near future, Akosha chat will be a competitive customer service differentiator for businesses”.
Coraza Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs Akosha.com, had raised $5 Mn Sequoia Capital in 2014 and previously it had raised about $150K (INR 1 Cr.) from Sequoia in a seed round in September 2011.