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Mumbai SaaS Startup WebEngage Now Funded by Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital

WebEngage is the first Indian company to raise through the CaaS vehicle of Social Capital.

“It gives me great pleasure to break this news to you – WebEngage has a new investor, Social Capital,” wrote Avlesh, a founder of WebEngage.

WebEngage is a SaaS startup based out of Mumbai; one which develops marketing automation software for companies. It was initially an onsite engagement tool used by online businesses to engage visitors on their website.

The tech startup was was founded in October 2011 by Ankit Utreja and Avlesh Singh, both engineers by trade, who previously worked together with restaurant aggregator Burrp. According to the satrtup’s Wikipedia article, 5 months since launch, the company closed MakeMyTrip as its first enterprise customer.

In August 2012 US-based GTI Capital Group invested $500,000 (approximately Rs 2.8 crore) in WebEngage. In early 2016, Capillary Technologies bought a minority stake in WebEngage for an undisclosed amount. The two companies have also agreed on a joint go-to-market strategy to target their overlapping customers.

Avlesh writes that he was introduced to Social Capital’s Capital-as-a-Service (CaaS) vehicle a while back. He says his interactions with venture capitalists over the years rendered the Palo Alto-based venture fund “very intriguing” in that it chose to invest based on algorithms analyzing data instead of humans.

WebEngage is the first Indian company to raise through the CaaS vehicle of Social Capital. WebEngage considers itself the first true omni-channel solution for small and medium consumer businesses.

Avlesh further says the funding comes at a most opportune time because “we are in hyper growth mode currently, and we could use all the help we can…our revenues have grown in the last 12 months – almost a 3x!

Retention marketing is broken. The channels of retention for consumer businesses – mobile, web, email and social – are invariably being run by different teams using plethora of tools. We want to unify all of that into a single product experience and treat channels as just a delivery medium. We want to shift the focus on creating awesome user journeys and experiences; and, not the next shiny looking push notification or email campaign.”

According to Avlesh there has been “rapid” product execution in the last 9 months and the company has a strong product pipeline for 2018 with focus on suggesting user journeys to marketers and product managers based on data and machine learning; helping customers measure and optimize based on global/local benchmarks; helping customers to holistically test campaigns across channels before launching, and a focus on growing the platform to integrate nicely with other ecosystem players.

In context of the raise, Avlesh says, Ashley Carroll, partner at Social Capital, said they were impressed with the company’s growth compared to other similar companies. “It was a great validation for the mission we are on. Social Capital joins our cap table along with existing investors including Blume Ventures, GTI Capital, Capillary Technologies and angels like Rajan Anandan”.

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