A lot of businesses, even some of the larger ones, are now using WhatsApp for internal communication, though in an informal manner. And this is where San Francisco-based Indian serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth sees a new opportunity.
“WhatsApp has limited group size, which means a large organisation cannot use it effectively. And the other issue is that of clutter, which is why they limit group sizes in the first place. It is hard to make sense of who is saying what,” explains Sheth, who is originally from Mumbai and was the mind behind the successful SMSGupshup platform.
His solution for these issues is a new app called TeamChat which brings in a new concept called smart messaging templates and offers unlimited group sizes. “It looks like any other messaging app. But we have invented smart message that gives templates likes sales figures, polls or forms and aggregates the totals on its own,” explains Sheth. Plus, the platform will have bots that aggregate and capture data, making it more actionable.
TeamChat will offer API integration with any enterprise system and it will be able to plug in the data from the platform to a dashboard. This is why, Sheth says, over 2000 companies are already using or evaluating this new app, which is just months old.
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One of the use cases Sheth shows is that of servers automatically generating colour coded logs to be acted upon or escalated. While the app is free, a lot of the enterprise features like the dashboard are behind a fremium model where the company will have to pay $2 per user per month. “However, the pricing is much lesser in India,” he adds.
Sheth believes his app reinforces the new concept that messaging is the new platform and not the tool. “This app can become the common simple front end for a host of complex enterprise backend activities,” he says, underlining the fact that this has been thought of as mobile-first and hence has a small UI and there is absolutely no learning involved.
“Regular computing forces humans to behave like computers, but messaging forces computers to behave like humans,” explains Sheth, who is excited by the opportunities TeamChat could have in IoT for instance.
After its initial Beta tests in India, the app is now ready for the US market. Sheth understands that the app could have a good consumer value too, but says it takes a lot of funding to go down that path.
However, TeamChat will power the messaging interface of lots of consumer facing services, including top e-commerce sites in India, in the near future.