WhatsApp has long outgrown its roots as a simple messaging app, and is now a primary communication tool for businesses that goes straight into their customers’ pockets – literally and figuratively. Countless companies have turned to the ubiquitous messaging app as they build their business base, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by WhatsApp’s parent company.
Indeed, Meta Platforms Inc. — the corporate megabrand behind Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp — recently invested in Take App, a startup founded by former Facebook engineering manager Yumin Kim, who left the social network last year, promising to bridge the digital divide for small business owners in Southeast Asia. Product.
Essentially, the Take App serves as an easy way to set up a simple website for people with little technical knowledge to facilitate online orders, fill in shopping carts, and connect directly to WhatsApp for ultimate control and tracking. ordering
While restaurants are the main focus of the Take App service, the company also works with bakeries, grocery businesses, beauty salons and more.
“Our unique selling point is allowing merchants to have direct WhatsApp conversations with customers,” Kim explained to TechCrunch. “Traders will love receiving notifications and ordering details directly on WhatsApp – no other app or login required.”
In addition, Take App is looking to help businesses customize their database by providing support for creating and sending newsletters that include special offers or relevant company updates.
While the Core Cast app is free, the company offers several premium features, including advanced analytics, unlimited image uploads, and custom domain names.
The story so far
Kim initially started the app as a charity to help small restaurants in Singapore accept online orders during the outbreak, but soon realized there was a huge opportunity to turn this into a business. Today, the company says 1,000 businesses use the app from 35 different markets, though most are in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
TakeApp also recently launched Y Combinator (YC) as part of its Fast Winter 22 batch for YC to invest in the company alongside a $1 million round and an undisclosed list of angels — a seed funding round that quietly closed back in June.
Take the app, following in the footsteps of other similar startups like Germany-based Charles, which recently raised $20 million to bring the chat business — and newspaper — to WhatsApp in Europe. The parallels here can’t be ignored, but Kim makes sure TakeApp is purpose-built for a specific type of organization, in a specific part of the world – simplicity is the name of the game.
“In Southeast Asia, WhatsApp is the most common way to communicate with businesses, but it causes heavy operational costs because employees have to respond to multiple conversations,” Kim explained to TechCrush. “There are ‘Western’ CRM solutions that make this more efficient, but they are too expensive or difficult for our traders. We focus on traditional businesses in the digital gap.”