Meta funds Take App, which helps retailers promote through WhatsApp

WhatsApp has lengthy transcended its roots as a easy messaging app for associates, and is now a core communication tool for companies searching for a direct channel to their prospects’ pockets — each actually and metaphorically. Numerous corporations have turned to the omnipresent messaging app as they build the very foundation of their business, one thing that hasn’t gone unnoticed by WhatsApp’s father or mother firm.

Certainly, Meta Platforms Inc. — the company megabrand behind Fb, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp — just lately invested in Take App, a fledgling Singaporean startup based by former Fb engineering supervisor Youmin Kim, who left the social community final 12 months to work on a brand new product that guarantees to bridge the digital hole for small-business house owners in Southeast Asia. The funding got here by Meta’s NPE (new product experimentation) group, which introduced it could start making seed-stage investments final 12 months.

At its core, Take App serves as a simple manner for these with little technical know-how to arrange a easy web site to facilitate on-line orders, replete with a procuring cart, funds and a direct connection to WhatsApp for managing and monitoring the ultimate order.

WhatsApp ordering. Picture Credit: Take App

Whereas eating places are a central focus for the Take App service, the corporate additionally works with bakeries, grocery companies and sweetness salons, amongst others.

“Our distinctive promoting level is that we let retailers hold direct WhatsApp conversations with prospects,” Kim defined to TechCrunch. “Retailers love the concept they obtain notifications and order particulars straight in WhatsApp — no different app or login is required.”

On high of that, Take App is seeking to assist companies drive repeat prospects by sustaining a database, with help for creating and sending newsletters (like a “Mailchimp for WhatsApp”) that embody particular presents or related firm updates.

Newsletters. Picture Credit: Take App

Whereas the core Take App service is free, the corporate offers a bunch of premium features, together with issues like superior analytics, limitless picture uploads and customized domains.

The story to date

Kim initially began Take App as a nonprofit to assist small eating places in Singapore settle for on-line orders at the beginning of the pandemic, however he quickly realized there was a big alternative to show this right into a business enterprise. As we speak, the corporate claims 1,000 companies have used Take App from throughout 35 completely different markets, although the overwhelming majority are based mostly in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Take App additionally recently graduated Y Combinator (YC) as a part of the accelerator’s Winter 22 batch, which led YC to spend money on the corporate as a part of a $1 million spherical alongside Meta and an undisclosed listing of angels — this seed funding spherical was quietly closed again in June.

Take App follows within the footsteps of different comparable startups, equivalent to Germany-based Charles, which recently raised $20 million to carry conversational commerce — and newsletters — to WhatsApp in Europe. It’s inconceivable to disregard the parallels right here, however Kim maintains that Take App is purpose-built for a really particular sort of firm, in a really particular a part of the world — simplicity is the secret.

“In Southeast Asia, WhatsApp is the commonest option to speak to enterprise, but it surely incurs heavy operation prices as staff have to reply to numerous conversations,” Kim mentioned. “There are ‘western’ CRM options that make this extra environment friendly, however they’re too costly or troublesome for our retailers. We concentrate on conventional companies with a digital hole.”

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