Using contextual messaging for making apps meaningful

Siddhartha Chandurkar, Founder & CEO of ShepHertz

“There are millions of apps in each app store, but the problem is that only few of them are able to do well because the engagement is zero, downloads happen but after that nobody uses them,” says Siddhartha Chandurkar, Founder & CEO of ShepHertz. The company provides an enterprise platform for digitization which consists of backend as a service to build omni-channel apps, marketing automation, API management and realtime game development.

Give us an overview of your business and how it came into being? What was the opportunity that you sighted initially ?

In today’s time, startups and enterprises are fighting for the same market share. Today it’s not the big that eats the small but the fast that eats the slow. If you see in banking industry, mobile wallets have taken up all the transactions, even during demonetization if you saw even bigger banks with higher penetration could not adjust to the change in such a short duration because they did not have that kind of systems. In fact younger startups came up with wallets and within two days they started transactions because they had that agile platforms. We provide these enterprises with agility to not only keep with the changing landscape but also gain competitive advantage by launching new use cases and marketing campaigns quickly without depending on the tech teams. With our platform, enterprises can not only build Omni-Channel (Mobile, social, gaming, TV, IoT, Wearables, Point of Sale and Web) Apps & increase user acquisition, retention, engagement & conversion through our real-time actionable BigData analytics solution which leverages data generated through new age devices as well as Offline BigData. As part of our Omni-Channel digitization platform we also offer API management solution which allows exposing of protected resources i.e. internal web services, data sources, legacy applications, IoT devices as APIs.

To address your second question, we got inspired by the advent of smart phones which resulted in surge in apps. Observing this upcoming trend our focus was to help app developers to develop apps quickly. Earlier to develop any app it used to take months and years, but with the arrival of backend as a service, apps can be released within few weeks and every update can be rolled out in just few days. We first started to focus on app developers by helping them to build their apps quickly. We gave them the building blocks which helped reducing the development time by 2/3 due to which we gradually earned the trust of 50,000 customers in 150 countries. We are now one of the largest players in the world in this space as some of the top apps globally utilize our platform starting from top board game in the US, top racing app in 49 countries and lots of cricket apps including the official ICC cricket game is on our platform.

How are you placed globally ? What are the major geographical regions that you are focusing now?

Currently, we are based in Gurgaon(India) & Palo Alto(USA). Soon we are opening our office in Mumbai as most of our enterprise customers are in the business city. Customer wise we have just penetrated Middle-East and South-East Asia. Our focus is now in these developing countries because we see a lot of digitization efforts in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Africa, in South-East Asia in Cambodia and many such English-speaking countries

Tell us about your partners and customers. What kind of support you are providing to them ?

Our infrastructure providers include Microsoft, IBM, AWS & VmWare. With Microsoft we also have GTM (go to market) partnership. Our customers include Indigo Airlines, Kotak Securities, ABP News, Edelweiss, and many others. We also are in the process of signing on various names in retail, aviation, BFSI, media, hospitality, manufacturing and almost each business verticals.

So anybody developing an app for connected devices is our customer. Now there is a change in the landscape with respect to enterprise and start-ups as both are fighting for the same market share. Even in banking, companies like Paytm is taking most of the transactions. During initial phase of demonetization even bigger banks with higher penetration could not adjust to the change in such a short duration because they did not have that kind of systems. So the younger startups came up with wallets and within two days they started transactions because they had that agile platforms. ShepHertz provide that kind of agile platform to enterprises so that they can gain competitive advantage in the market.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for the app market and how are you addressing it?

The challenge today in the world of apps is not just the installation, but in engagement, retention, conversion, and the ability to take actions on offline data & the data being generated through new age devices. On an average most of us use only five percent of mobile apps on a daily basis and that’s one of the biggest challenges that most of the enterprises face. Our product, ShepHertz App42 marketing automation, allows enterprises to increase user acquisition, retention, engagement and conversion. App42 helps in increasing engagement by sending contextually personalized messages to a person. For example, in insurance people mainly procrastinate to renew their policy. It’s not that they don’t want to renew their policy but they forget. So, if you get a push notification to renew your policy you might not do it, but if you are at the bank and then if you get the notification that your policy is getting lapsed then you have a high chance that you renew it. That’s the kind of use cases enterprises can launch using our platform without depending on tech teams.

So what is your business model, how do you generate revenue ? Also share case-points of some of the customers using your solution effectively?

We charge enterprises on subscription basis, it depends on the number of API calls being made and the number of apps being developed. We offer multi-tenant, on-premise, managed service or hybrid setups for the enterprises depending on their requirement, usage, and customizations. We are a one stop shop for end to end digitization for enterprises as everything is built by us.

To give you an example, ABP News, who is our customer, wanted to send multilingual push notifications to all the different states at once. Traditionally, the marketing head would have had to go to the development team and the team would have taken another three weeks to make it possible. With our platform, ABP News quickly configured push notifications in all the languages without connecting with the tech team. They benefited the most during elections when billions of push notifications had to be sent frequently to all their users. This is just one example of the kind of agility we are empowering enterprises with.