Take Blip piggybacks on Whatsapp to US$100M investment
Take Blip piggybacks on Whatsapp to US$100M investment

Take Blip piggybacks on Whatsapp to US$100M investment

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HyperNoirTake Blip has taken the Latin American communications sector by storm. The startup just closed its Series A funding round with US$100 million, led by US private equity firm Warbug Pincus.

The company connects corporate customer service tools like CRM (customer relationship management) software with communications platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

This means that when consumers contact a company to ask a question or share a meme (no judgement), that person’s data is logged in the company’s internal systems. That way, if a customer starts their conversation with one company representative, then another can seamlessly pick up where the first left off.

Take Blip has over 750 clients internationally, including some of the world’s biggest companies like Coca-Cola and Fiat. The company has especially deep market penetration in its home of Brazil, where it has an impressive client list that includes Itaú Unibanco, Localiza, and TruckPad.

Whatsapp with conversational internet and the rise of AI

It’s not just these big-name companies that attracted top-dollar investors. Rather, investors were interested in Take Blip because of how the firm is prepared to respond to two massive trends that are reshaping the way corporations and consumers interact. 

First, the internet is increasingly conversational. Take Blip CEO Roberto Oliveira underscores that people want to engage with brands “as they do with friends, through messaging platforms and social media.”

This makes perfect sense in the age of influencers and sponsored content that promotes a two-way conversation between advertisers and consumers.

Second, it is now possible for companies to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) tools to talk to consumers with minimal human interaction.

You may not feel comfortable sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with a machine simulating a human. But Take Blip is betting on consumers being happy to get basic info from a chatbot if it’s quick, easy, and accurate enough.

Take Blip plans for local and international expansion

Take Blip says that their most immediate next step will be to scale their Brazilian operations. One of the startup’s key differentiators is that it integrates into the WhatsApp Business API. This is key for a country with 120 million monthly users, 93 percent of which use WhatsApp on a daily basis and 73 percent of which are willing to do business on the app.

Past that, the company is keen to expand to the US, Europe, and Mexico. Each has a different culture around communications, different business landscapes, and is saturated with startups that provide similar offerings. So Take Blip may face an uphill battle to enter into these markets.

However, in the race to build the best AI tools to connect customers and companies, it can’t hurt to have the broadest client base possible.

Oliveira told Contxto that Take Blip are entering the US market to be closer to the main channels their clients use on a daily basis: Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. They will also take advantage of the large US market for business development.

Mexico was an attractive offer to Oliveira and team since it is the second-largest market in Latin America and a “natural expansion for Take.” The startup is still determining where exactly the best place to enter the European market will be.

In both places, Oliveira says they will “rely on the penetration that our leading partner WhatsApp has in these countries.”

Competition from the big players

Take Blip has deep connections with the biggest communications platforms out there, from Facebook to Google to Amazon and beyond. But what prevents those big tech companies from replicating the same integrations that Take Blip is providing?

These tech firms are already working hard to facilitate conversations between corporates and individuals. In many cases, such as with Facebook’s suite of business tools, they’ve already begun to offer ways for companies to keep tabs on customers.

You could say that those tech firms want to have nothing to do with connecting to external CRM software, which is Take Blip’s bread and butter.

Equally, analytics algorithms are a hot commodity these days. If clients think Take Blip has got a strong proprietary product that gives them a unique edge, it might be tough to replicate the startup’s offering.

Of course, the endgame for Take Blip might indeed be to get acquired by one of these massive platforms. To know that for sure, we’ll just have to wait and see.

-RK

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