How CleverTap's in-app solution is bringing product, marketing teams closer

Topics B2C model | Apps | start- ups

Every B2C company is in some way dependent on apps to drive its engagement. With cheap and accessible internet comes the opportunity to increase brand visibility through app engagements. But ensuring that the customer downloads the app isn’t usually enough to gauge the traction or popularity of such an app. What if users download the app for free credits and then delete it? How does one know that the app is not lying dormant, instead of actively providing consumers with reasons to shop or engage? 

With a booming market for content and apps driving the internet ecosystem, brands have to ensure that not only they are visible, but also engage positively with customers. 

A team of tech veterans saw this opportunity and came out with a mobile marketing-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) product in 2013 called Clevertap. It is now valued close to $150 million, with top Indian and global brands using the product. Clevertap, founded by Anand Jain, Sunil Thomas and Suresh Kondamudi, has recently raised $26 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India, Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners.

Prashanth Prakash, partner, Accel Partners, said: “(CleverTap) is allowing companies to automate their marketing decisions, leading to better business outcomes. We are excited to bring our expertise to CleverTap to support them in this mission.”

Business model

The company currently offers a mobile marketing platform to app developers, with marketing automation across a wide variety of interactive media. The automation of push notifications and the ability to observe and track how the users utilise the app provide a strong service for companies to use analytics in addressing pain points in their mobile applications.

It is currently headquartered in Mountain View, California, and claims to have worked with leading companies such as Star, Sony, Domino’s, Gojek, BookMyShow and Vodafone. These are just a few of the 8000 companies that CleverTap has worked with.

CleverTap has customers in over 100 countries; its focus regions are the Americas, Southeast Asia and EMEA (Europe, Middle East or West Asia and Africa). 

CleverTap has offices in both the Americas, Southeast Asia (a second HQ in Singapore, and teams in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam), Europe (London, the Ne­therlands and Spain), and India (Mumbai).

Clevertap claims a year-over-year revenue growth of 250 per cent.  The app reportedly processes around 26 million push notifications in a minute.  

“We help brands predict user churn, improve user attention and customer lifetime value, and communicate with them to improve engagement across different channels,” said Jain. 

Customers subscribe to annual contracts usually and integrate the Saas platform into their app for a combination of tools and services called “packs”. 

The company claims to have 8,000-plus brands in its kitty. In terms of differentiation from what global providers like Google analytics, Facebook and Adobe provide, Jain said the product is a full-stack system that both marketing and product teams can use at the same time. It also provides a real-time dashboard for app developers, which tracks data such as the number of installs and uninstalls, and user data such as the time spent on the application.

Currently, Clevertap employs around 170 people, with over 125 of them based out of India. The firm manages marketing and customer frontend from its California headquarter, and engineering is split between India and the US. 

Challenges and way forward

“The biggest challenge is usually in explaining the customer retention solutions and implementing them for clients,” said Jain. The phone, he said, will continue to be the centre of information exchange and engagement, and Clevertap sees itself building the real-time analysis for customers in a meaningful way.

The company is profitable in some geographies and is investing across new geographies at present, besides engineering and product. “Five years from now I see Clevertap as a global company serving a wide range of customers from digital natives to those in the transformative phase like banks, retailer, telcos and sharing-based apps,” he said.

Expert Take: Data regulation will throw a challenge

The solution provided by CleverTap is definitely a key market need for businesses which has an app as a critical consumer interface. 

A key challenge for such platforms will be the increasing data regulation on the usage of first-party data, which will limit businesses from utilising and sharing data with external platforms. Another potential challenge could be ensuring that consumers opt-in, as they are increasingly opting out of app notifications. 

Finally, as with any tech innovation, competition will not be far behind and such platforms will need to invest in building competitive barriers.

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