SaaS platform BiteSpeed today announced that they have raised US$1.9 million in seed funding led by Sequoia India’s Surge, with participation from First Cheque, Whiteboard Capital and Angels including CRED founder Kunal Shah and Teachable founder Ankur Nagpal. BiteSpeed provides e-commerce brands with the tools to help them embrace conversational commerce as the future of selling online.
Founder Vinayak Aggarwal recognised that online direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands have had to rely heavily on Facebook and Google Ads to build their customer base, and on email marketing to retain them. However, over the years, ad costs on these platforms have increased by five times and email open rates are averaging at just 15.7% for e-commerce. Furthermore, ad costs have been increasing 90% year-on-year – this means that the primary channels for D2C brands to acquire and retain customers are becoming more challenging, posing a fundamental threat for the core D2C business model which relies on direct customer engagement.
At the same time, consumers have been flocking to messaging and chat apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, with these platforms becoming the default for consumer communication. In response to this, while still at college, Vinayak assembled a team of fellow students and began creating BiteSpeed from his dorm room. These students, who learnt to code from scratch, are today the founding team members of the company. Within one year, the app was being used by over 1,000 companies across more than 50 countries around the globe.
BiteSpeed facilitates retargeting and retention of customers through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which have open and conversion rates that are ten times higher when compared to other online alternatives. BiteSpeed provides the tools for any e-commerce brand to be able to sell and engage with their customers on these chat apps This helps brands drive an estimated 10% of revenue through chat as a channel, reduce customer acquisition costs and increase lifetime value.
“The past decade of e-commerce brands were built on acquiring customers through Facebook or Google Ads, and retaining them through email marketing. However, with chat apps like WhatsApp and Instagram taking centre stage in recent times, our bet is that the future of commerce is conversational. At BiteSpeed, we’re building the conversational commerce stack for e-commerce brands to engage and sell to their customers on chat. Since our launch in October 2019, we’re grateful to now be working with over 1,500 brands in more than 50 countries around the globe. With the funds raised, we look forward to hiring across our tech, marketing and product teams as well as expanding our presence in the United States, Europe and Latin America,” said Vinayak Aggarwal, founder of BiteSpeed.
BiteSpeed is part of Surge’s sixth cohort of 20 companies that build fresher, smarter solutions to help consumers and businesses adapt to a changing world.
BiteSpeed was founded in June 2019 by Vinayak Aggarwal in Gurgaon, India when he was just 20. His entrepreneurial spirit was born out of his time at college, where he won an inter-college hackathon called Startup Weekend during his first year. He went on to create a restaurant chatbot startup and a music startup called Star Connect, and also held positions in growth and marketing at companies including Trell, Hyperloop India and Harmonize, all before graduating with a degree in engineering from BITS Pilani.