Aakrit Vaish, Co-Founder & CEO, Haptik
Aakrit Vaish is the Co-founder and CEO of Haptik, one of the world’s largest chatbot platforms. Besides spearheading the overall business operations of the company, Aakrit also oversees key aspects such as revenue & finance, hiring, and defining the strategy and vision of the company. Driven by the belief that “an idea can take you to a great product, but people can help you build a great company”, he devotes almost half his time to recruiting the right talent for Haptik. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, USA. Aakrit is a well-known and well-networked investor/advisor in the Indian start-up ecosystem. In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Aakrit, who has a robust belief in the potential of chatbots as interface, says he has set his eyes on the mission of establishing Haptik as the world’s largest chatbot company in the next 5 years.
What is the idea behind Haptik?
Haptik is an end to end chat bot platform building direct to consumer applications and enterprise solutions. The company was started in 2013 with the thesis that chat or messaging is going to be the primary interface for the smartphone, and will do more than just casual conversations. We are betting big on the paradigm shift from apps to conversational user interfaces across utility, e-commerce, customer service and many other use cases. Today, Haptik is one of the largest chat bot companies in the world processing more than 5 million requests a month. Haptik is derived from the word Haptic, means “non-verbal feedback by touch, text etc.
Tell us about the USP of Haptik?
Haptik is the only AI chat bot company in the world that has the full spectrum of technology and products to serve any need. This includes a proprietary natural language processing engine, a simple bot development tool, analytics for chats as well as an agent chat portal for humans to intervene in bot chats. The technology offers a high degree of flexibility and customization where the bots can be deployed across mobile apps, websites, Facebook messenger, etc. We have open sourced its entity recognition algorithm, the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
How do you plan to scale up?
The business is divided primarily into two parts. The direct to consumer side is where we offer a personal assistant service which enables flight bookings, recharge, bill payments, cab bookings, reminder alerts, and more. We have built an integrated solution where these services can go inside any other mobile application that intends to enable a service layer. We are already in a few of the largest apps in the country, with an aggregated reach of 10 million people. We expect this to go up to 50 million by March 2018.
The other part of the business is the enterprise side where we build custom chat bot solutions for corporates and brands to automate their customer support. We already work with some of the largest brands in the country including Coca-Cola, Housejoy, Dr. Batra, Tata Docomo, and plan to have 20-25 such deployments by the end of this year.
Your vision for the company?
To become the enabler for chatbots everywhere and all types of applications. We want to have millions of people use our bots daily.
Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
We believe in the power of chatbots as an interface. Every company today that is building websites or apps will one day build bots. We want to be at the forefront of that revolution, starting with India and taking it globally. In 5 years time, we want to be the largest chatbot company in the world.