Early this week, Aakrit Vaish, a Mumbai based technology entrepreneur and angel investor, had a windfall. One of his more recent investments, online real estate listings and search startup Flat.to got acquired by Bangalore company Commonfloor for an undisclosed amount. Vaish had angel funded the company less than a year ago (the amount was undisclosed). The profit that Vaish has reaped from exiting Flat.to comes at an opportune time. He’s thick in the middle of getting his own venture Haptik — an exciting new instant messaging app for brand and product support — off the block.
The app, available currently on Android and iOS, went live about two weeks ago. “We’ve already processed more than 45,000 messages since launch. In our current phase, we want to focus on building user traffic and increasing the number of brands and categories covered on the app,” Vaish told us over a telephonic conversation a few days ago.
Vaish, who set up and ran the India operations of San Francisco headquartered mobile analytics company Flurry till June last year, likes to dub Haptik the “WhatsApp for product support.”
We agree. We’ve been test driving the app for about a week and are pretty happy with the experience so far.
How it works
Download the app on your Android or iOS smartphone. You can sign in with your Facebook account. Pick a brand or product from the available list, send a text query and wait for a response from one of the experts online. Haptik guarantees a response within five minutes.
The experts respond to questions using an FAQ database that Haptik has put together. The database currently consists of over 125,000 FAQs, aggregated from the official FAQs of the 135-odd brands presently listed on the app. Experts are available between 7.00 AM and 12.00 PM. This may change to 24X7 support in the future.
While the app is usually able to address most queries, about 10 per cent remain unresolved. In those cases, Haptik files a complain with the brand or product concerned on behalf of the user.
Vaish says that the next logical step is to get the brands involved, but that still some time away. “We’ve been approached by several brands to see how we can work together, but right now we want to forget about brands and just concentrate on users,” he says. It will also add to the list of brands available on the app, but at a more gradual pace. Currently, out of the 11-odd categories listed on the app, the most popular include utilities such as power, LPG and telecom.
Though incorporated in San Francisco, California, the company will focus on building users in the Indian market in this phase before going after global markets. Haptik co-founder Swapan Rajdev, who was Vaish’s roommate in college in the US, is based in San Francisco and is the company’s CTO. Rajdev earlier founded Zing! Apps, which specializes in making native and web based iOS applications.
Apart from the founders, the team consists of five people engaged primarily in product development and marketing.
The company is currently bootstrapped and Vaish says that they are in process of raising their first external round of funding. He did not share details on how much the company is looking to raise at this stage.
Meanwhile, angel investing, he says, will continue but at a much slower pace. “I need to focus on Haptik and it makes sense to channel more resources into my own venture at this stage.” Apart from Flat.to, he has angel funded five other companies including some well known ones such as Dataweave and Tookitaki.