Months after it raised $100 million from Tiger Global, San Francisco headquartered conversational AI (artificial intelligence) platform Gupshup has secured an additional $240 million in its Series F round of funding.
The recent tranche will be used for secondary purchase of shares from employees and early investors, according to a statement.
With the additional capital, Gupshup will also invest in product innovation for digital commerce enablement and expand its go-to market initiatives. The company is also on the lookout for M&A opportunities to expand its business and has been strengthening its executive team with new appointments across corporate development, international business development, sales, customer success, marketing and IT.
Depending on the market conditions, Gupshup is also expected to look at an opportunity to go public next year.
The latest round saw participation from a group of investors including Fidelity Management and Research Company, Tiger Global, think Investments, Malabar Investments, Harbor Spring Capital, certain accounts managed by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC, White Oak, Neeraj Arora and others. The tranche was raised at a valuation of $1.4 billion, same as the company’s valuation in April.
Of the total $340 million raised as part of the Series F round, nearly one third was primary capital including the $100 million round from Tiger Global raised in April, Beerud Sheth, CEO of Gupshup told TechCircle. Around two-thirds of the $340 million was used for share buyback.
“It was done through a tender offer where every employee, ex-employee and prior investor had the option to offer shares up to a certain percentage of their shareholding,” Sheth said.
“Ultimately over 200 individuals and investors chose to sell a portion of their shares,” he added.
None of the investors have exited the company fully, Sheth said adding, “Since Gupshup has been around for 15-plus years, there were many funds and investors that were past their investing horizon. This round gave them an opportunity to sell some of their share.”
Founded in 2004 as Webaroo Inc by Sheth and Rakesh Mathur, Gupshup pivoted from being an offline search engine to a business-to-business (b2b) customer engagement platform across SMS and other channels.
In its current form, Gupshup enables digital commerce businesses with conversational messaging across channels. On the customer-front, the conversational journey enables product discovery, payment, delivery tracking, feedback and support among other features.