#Asia How this Vietnamese startup aims to be the Slack of Southeast Asia


AZGram provides host of functions not available in mainstream enterprise communications such as Skype

AZStack Team at MaGIC Accelerator 1st batch graduation, co-founder Quang Mai Duy is on the rightmost

AZStack Team at MaGIC Accelerator 1st batch graduation. Co-founder Quang Mai Duy is on the rightmost

Bolstered by an upturn in government initiatives, foreign investments and accelerators, Vietnam’s tech ecosystem is experiencing a tremendous growth in startups. Currently, there are an estimated 3,000 startups in the country and that number continues to grow.

To thrive in this burgeoning industry, startups need more than just funding to make the next leap forward; they need the right tools that will enable their startups to be run like a well-oiled machine. These include deploying enterprise communication software that can help startups manage their projects and employees efficiently.

“Currently, many enterprises in Vietnam are using free chat applications such as Viber, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. But as their businesses grow, they are taking a more serious view on issues such as privacy and the security of their data,” says Quang Mai Duy, co-founder of Vietnam-based (with an office in Singapore) startup AZStack, in an interview with e27.

Many are turning to enterprise communication software such as Skype for Business and Slack, which not only offer strict security protocols but also essential team communication features such as file sharing, group chats, video conferencing and voice calls.

Quang says that these existing enterprise communication solutions, however, may not be optimised to serve a full range of business needs. He says that AZStack’s enterprise communication platform AZGram may be able to fill these gaps.

Also Read: EDBI invests in Shape Security to defend enterprises against sophisticated ‘human-like bots’

One of its notable features is its secure and easy-to-track file sharing option.

“We index all the files that are shared in a centralised ‘Files’ tab, so it is easier to locate them,” says Quang. All data is encrypted with a robust AES & RSA encryption method built upon a Google Cloud infrastructure. AZGram also offers private server storage and data backup upon request, ensuring that no file will go missing (as long as it is probably backed up).

And for teams who need the flexibility and option to sync existing management software with AZGram, Quang says AZGram’s communication open-source SDK facilitates such integration.

“We provide the API to allow users to integrate and sync AZGram into their existing customer relation management (CRM) platform,” he says. “It can also be integrated into mainstream cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, as well as specialised HR and CRM software.”

AZGram even has a feature that allows users to talk to customers directly on the platform — the customer would be logged in as a guest account (locked in a specific conversation assigned by users).

Group chats and voice/video calling

Unlike Slack’s channel-wide broadcasting feature, AZGram allows a user to broadcast a message to many users through individual channels so that they can automatically reply to him/her in a private chat. And, like Line and WhatsApp, users can enable read/receive recipients.

There are also scheduled broadcast options for events such as birthdays.

For Vietnam-based users, Quang says, AZGram offers a low-cost voice calling feature — which is data free. Employers purchase credits and allocate them to team members to make calls to mobile phone or landlines.

“We partner with Vietnam’s leading telco Mobifone to provide free data for enterprises. The cost of calling to other users’ landline or mobile number is very competitive for both local and international call,” says Quang.

Mobifone plans to provide AZGram (under the brand MobiGO) to their existing user-base, including over 220,000 enterprises in Vietnam.

Also Read: Taking on Slack, Japan’s office communications platform ChatWork adds Vietnamese

This feature is also available for companies outside of Vietnam, the call rates will be determined by AZGram,

Should a user have a query, AZGram provides a virtual live support chat centre which can be integrated into websites similar to Zendesk. AZGram also has a toll number to dial in for each company, with a unique extension assigned to each employee who can then forward the call to AZGram use as a virtual call centre.

Other features

Beyond communication, AZGram offers a gamification tool that tracks and tallies employees’ engagement with the platform. Top scoring employees can earn an achievement and receive a reward (at their employers’ discretion)

Users can also customise the platform’s background, add sticker packs and even create white label apps that match the company’s branding and style. Quang says creating company-specific white label apps not only “allows users to become more familiar with the staff, it will also help to promote the company’s branding to other partners.”

AZStack is backed by Captii Ventures, “an investment arm of UnifiedComms group providing services to telcos in over 30 countries” says Quang.

It currently has over 250,000 users and is in the midst of negotiating for a bridge funding round of US$500,000 to further develop its product and boost sales efforts.

The post How this Vietnamese startup aims to be the Slack of Southeast Asia appeared first on e27.

from e27 http://e27.co/how-this-vietnamese-startup-aims-to-be-the-slack-of-southeast-asia-20161031/

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