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Conversational AI unicorn Gupshup buys virtual shopping assistant platform AskSid

Conversational AI unicorn Gupshup buys virtual shopping assistant platform AskSid
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
20 Apr, 2022
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In its second acquisition this month & third this year, conversational messaging platform Gupshup said Wednesday it has bought virtual shopping assistant platform, AskSkid. 

The AskSkid acquisition will strengthen Webaroo-operated Gupshup's AI-powered conversational solutions for e-commerce, retail and consumer goods industries, the latter said without disclosing the financial details of the transaction. 

Beerud Sheth, Co-founder and CEO, Gupshup, told VCCircle that the acquisition mostly involves cash. The founders and the team of AskSkid will continue to lead the company and ‘that is the real value of the deal’ while its investors have exited, he added. 

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“Conversational commerce is about to transform shopping, both online and offline. Gupshup is building a comprehensive conversational commerce solution and AskSid’s deep-domain AI offering will help us bring even more advanced capabilities to e-commerce and retail businesses worldwide," said Sheth. 

AskSkid partners with retail brands to enhance shopping experiences through AI-powered digital shopping assistants. The B2B tech solutions provider has a presence in over 25 countries and supports more than 100 international languages. The statement noted that AskSid's customers have reported an average 25% reduction in operational expenditure, while boosting order conversion rate by 30%. 

Founded in 2017 by a couple of former Mindtree officials, AskSkid has raised angel investments from prominent figures including Rajan Anandan (ex-Google), Krishnakumar Natrajan (ex-Mindtree) & Radha R (ex-Microsoft & Mindtree). TechStars, an American seed accelerator has also been an investor. 

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Gupshup’s 2 acquisitions this year before AskSkid include Sequoia & Mayfield-backed Singapore-based cloud telephony company, Knowlarity Communications (February) and conversational AI platform for fintech and banks, Active.Ai (April). 

Sheth had earlier told VCCircle that Gupshup is in talks with potential investors for a pre-IPO funding of $100-200 million or more ahead of its listing plans in the US, but underlined that it will not be done to fund acquisitions or run operations as the company has adequate cash on its books. 

In April 2021, Gupshup raised a primary funding of $100 million from Tiger Global which marked its entry into the unicorn club. Few months later, it secured an additional $240 million in its Series F round of funding, paving the way for an exit of its early investors. 

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A unicorn is a start-up with a valuation of over $1 billion. 

Founded in 2004 by Beerud Sheth and Rakesh Mathur, Gupshup pivoted from being an offline search engine to a business-to-business (B2B) customer engagement platform across SMS and other channels.