Personal assistant platform Tapzo to shut down services next month

Personal assistant platform Tapzo to shut down services next month
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle
3 Sep, 2018

Personal assistant platform Tapzo, which was recently in the news for a potential acquisition by Amazon’s payment service, is shutting down its platform.

Sequoia-backed Tapzo, which has undergone several pivots since its inception eight years ago, announced that it will end its operations by the end of October this year.

“Tapzo app will be shutting down from 31 October 2018. Starting 1 September 2018, we will be switching off all the transactional categories,” the company said in an email to its users. It also mentioned how users can close the Tapzo Cash, Tapzo Subscription and Digital Gold offerings.   

In January this year, VCCircle had reported that Tapzo had raised fresh capital of about $1.93 million (Rs 12.32 crore) at a significantly lower valuation from existing investors Russian venture capital firm RuNet and Singapore-based RB Investments. The company’s pre-money valuation in that round came down by as much as 45% as compared to its previous capital raise in 2016, a person familiar with the development had told VCCircle then.

Meanwhile, ambiguity still remains over the Amazon Pay deal. A Tapzo spokesperson declined to comment on the development, while a person from one of the firm’s existing investors said they are not aware of any such deal. Amazon is yet to officially confirm or deny the acquisition.

According to several recent media reports, Amazon Pay is close to acquiring Tapzo in a cash-and-stock deal, which would be valued at around $30-40 million.

The deal is expected to offer Amazon a set of specific use cases in the payments space, which would help its aggressive push in the crowded digital payments space in India.

Amazon could eventually merge Tapzo with the Pay app, integrate its tech team for Pay services and on board Tapzo’s user base that is spread across various internet purchase segments on to the Prime platform. Amazon’s intended purpose behind these efforts is to increase its buyer base and augment their ability to buy more.

After years of turmoil, experimentation and pivots, Tapzo is now an app aggregator platform that allows users to access more than 35 apps, including Amazon, Flipkart, Ola and Uber from a single interface. Users can make mobile, DTH and data card recharges, bill payments, order cabs and food, book flight and bus tickets, and avail of home services, to name a few.

Tapzo was founded in 2010 by Ankur Singla, and later, Vishal Pal Chaudhary, the chief technology officer, and Avinash Vankadaru, who is part of operations, joined the startup.

It initially started off as Akosha.com, an online customer feedback platform, and in 2015, it rebranded itself as Helpchat, a chat-based personal assistant. Subsequently, in November 2016, it underwent one more pivot and became Tapzo.

In September 2016, VCCircle had reported that Tapzo secured a Series C round led by American Express Ventures, the venture investment arm of American Express Co, and existing investor Sequoia Capital India. Southeast Asia-focused fund East Ventures had also participated in the round.

According to details available with VCCEdge, the data and financial research platform of News Corp VCCircle, the company had raised $10.49 million in the Series C round. 

A 2016 report by online media publication The Ken stated that Tapzo commanded a post-money valuation of about Rs 600 crore after that investment.

While Sequoia Capital is the single-largest investor in Tapzo, the company is also backed by media conglomerates HT Media and Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd.

In 2015, Sequoia Capital India had led a $16-million Series B round in the company, when it was known as Akosha.com.

Owned and operated by Bengaluru-based Coraza Technologies Pvt. Ltd, the firm registered a 60% rise in operational revenue at Rs 14.10 crore for the financial year 2016-17, up from Rs 4.44 crore in the previous financial year, filings with the Registrar of Companies show.

Gross expenditures rose to Rs 113.43 crore, up from Rs 84.83 crore, primarily on the back of a three-fold rise in marketing expenses, which stood at Rs 36.93 crore, from Rs 12.28 crore in the previous year. Consequently, net losses also widened to Rs 99.32 crore, from Rs 77.37 crore in the previous year, the filings stated.