Helpshift has made it easy for companies to deal with millions of customer support engagements on mobile devices. Now the company has raised a $23 million venture funding round to fuel its in-app customer support for the masses. And one way it will do that is by creating chatbots that can help solve customer support questions automatically.
San Francisco-based Helpshift was able to raise the round because it has already demonstrated its technology’s usefulness with game companies. It helps companies like Zynga and Supercell to deal with millions of customers — some of whom have very big questions. Helpshift enables companies to create FAQs, or frequently asked questions, that are intuitive and searchable. That allows customers to find the answers to their questions without taking up the time of more expensive customer support staff. Helpshift makes those answers searchable, enabling the customer support staff to look up answers more quickly.
“We are seeing a lot of growth,” Abinash Tripathy, CEO and cofounder of Helpshift, said in an interview with VentureBeat. “We grew up in gaming and now we are starting to go after more traditional markets. We are in productivity apps for Windows, and we are going after ecommerce and on-demand companies.”
That’s why the new investors in the round include Salesforce Ventures and Microsoft Ventures, the investment arms of the two largest customer relationship management companies. Others participating include existing investors Intel Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, True Ventures, and Visionnaire Ventures. To date, the company has raised $36.2 million.
Tripathy started Helpshift in 2012, and the company has pushed the market forward with native mobile support services. Its customers include Zynga, GungHo, VirginMedia, Target Western Union, Flipboard, Shyp, Luxe, WordPress, and thousands of other industry-leading brands, startups, and developers. Its customers include companies that have 17 of the top 50 mobile games.
“Helpshift has been a great partner for Microsoft and our investment today represents our confidence in their messaging-based approach to customer service, as we hold a shared value of providing the seamless experience customers want,” said Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president at Microsoft Ventures, in a statement.
Through its customers, Helpshift has grown fast. It is installed on more than 1.3 billion devices and serves more than 300 million monthly mobile customers. But Helpshift notes that it only has a small portion of the overall $150 billion market for customer support.
Facebook recently announced that it has created a platform for chatbots on its Messenger mobile messaging client to use as customer support. Helpshift has a small presence in chatbots today, but Tripathy believes the company can expand that effort by investing more heavily in machine learning.
Helpshift has added proactive support to its products so it can do outbound notifications, rather than always waiting for inbound complaints. Helpshift can identify cohorts of customers and send them notifications, much like mobile marketing platforms do. But in this case, Helpshift does it in order to head off customer support problems before they happen.
The company has grown to more than 100 employees. As for raising money, Tripathy said the environment for that is difficult. But he said that Helpshift had the revenues and metrics that matter.