When you are a small but determined service-providing business, reaching out to maximum customers is your primary focus. Not only can that be relentless, efficiency also has to be maintained. Supertext.ai helps out such businesses by creating tailor-made Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) based chatbots that help scale their interaction with clients, while engaging with their customers on a personalised level.
Supertext.ai is a young, angel-backed, conversational AI startup with offices in Bengaluru and Singapore. The startup enables companies to have personalised, contextual and fun communication with their clients while remaining efficient. They primarily focus on offering their clients the ability to integrate and add conversational intelligence to answer queries and build persona-based virtual agents for customer engagement, conversion, and retention.
Counting clients like Flipkart, ESPN, CGI, and MSIG insurance as their clients, Supertext.ai has built fully-automated website chatbots, mobile chat applications, social media chatbots, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools for clients across e-commerce, travel, media, and fintech.
Mathew J. Padayatty, one of the co-founders and the COO of Supertext, spoke to The Tech Panda about their passion for business and AI as well as how exciting AI is going to make the Indian market. “We were very passionate about building something ground up and learning how to build a business around it,” he says.
Padayatty says the key insight for him and his co-founder Avinash Hegde was when they realised that messaging was becoming really big in India and everywhere else. Many people in their own circle were using messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to not just communicate but to also do business. “They were selling stuff on it, marketing their products on it, and essentially entire businesses were being built on Facebook and WhatsApp messenger,” Padayatty recalls.
However, the duo observed that all of these businesses reached a point where they struggled to scale. “Beyond a point, one person could only reply to a limited number of queries they got on WhatsApp or Facebook messenger. We wanted to try and figure out how we could help empower these small businesses to automate those conversations,” he adds.
Padayatty and Hegde started Supertext around December 2015, and their product has been live for about six months. While Padayatty , looks after the business side of things, Hegde, a software engineer is the CEO of the company.
The chatbots are designed and developed on their custom AI platform with real-time data analytics, where they have the ability to create and pass tickets via ITSM to a support team, have full visibility on chatbot responses, NLP (natural language processing) training, and user interaction history.
Padayatty defines their product as a tool for SMEs as well as large companies. “We have worked with companies like Flipkart, ESPN, and several banks for them to manage their own virtual agents,” he says.
Padayatty explains that these virtual agents could be a front-desk chatbot, responsible for marketing. After getting queries from customers, backend customer support can also be built. At the same time, they also provide real-time data, which means they provide clients with an entire dashboard, where they can see analytics on how many conversations they are having right now and what the context of those conversations are. The analytics they offer also provide information such as what percentage of customers are happy or angry with the given response.
Many companies often have existing customer support teams, who are well equipped to answer some particular use cases. Thus, Supertext has a system that allows it to be plugged in with the existing customer support dashboard, so that 80-90% of queries are handled by the dashboard. However, when the chatbot cannot handle a query, it is red flagged and dropped into the CRM support team dashboard, so that they are aware of the queries which couldn’t have been handled by the chatbot.
Right now, Suprtext is deployed in over 15 clients across myriad domains, spanning from India, Singapore, Malaysia, to Japan, but Padayatty tells us that they primarily focus on e-commerce and travel. Supertext, which is based in both Bengaluru and Singapore, has angel backing from Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Singapore.
“We got through the accelerator Startupbootcamp FinTech Singapore early on. We were one of the top-ten startups in Asia that got selected for the accelerator. We set up a lot of relationships with clients of Singapore through this accelerator, so we registered separately in Singapore to continue doing business there as well. One of our angel investors is also based in Singapore,” Padayatty says.
Padayatty feels that it is still quite hard for Indian startups to rise, since some initiatives haven’t come down to grass-root level. However, as for the future of AI and ML in India, Padayatty feels their significance vehemently. “Big or small, all companies can use AI on their own terms. Thus, AI and ML are extremely important, which is why we are spending a bulk of our time on it, we want to be a part of this story and help democratise AI,” he says.
An acute observation on Padayatty’s part is that the primary advantage of AI and ML is that they are pervasive across domains and are not industry specific. “Our ML algorithms and conversation intelligence can be plugged into any form of use case, be it banking, retail, or gaming. It’s very cross domain, and people are beginning to understand just how pervasive it is. In the coming years, it will be a catalyst for change,” he says.
Currently, healthcare, ecommerce, and fintech insurance are the markets witnessing the most implementation of AI. However, in Padayatty’s opinion, AI will not be limited to just one domain and will eventually cover all domains. Although, he says he would love to see education to have the most impact. “It will increase efficiency by an exponential amount across domains. I think it’s about who cracks the use case and who cracks the implementation first. Thus, if somebody is using it for healthcare, you will see it in healthcare first, but it will eventually happen everywhere else,” he says.
So what is India’s standing in the global AI scene? Padayatty says that India is not just catching up but is right there at the forefront. “We are using the same algorithms that startups in the Bay Area or Baidu China are using. We are experimenting with the same set of data and algorithms that they are using, and we honestly have better tech talent in terms of hardcore developers, than compared to most other places. I think it is going to be tremendously impactful. We are there.”