#Asia Why Sequoia-funded Helpchat closed its chat service and laid off over 100 people

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In May last year, the company raised US$16 million in Series B round of funding led by Sequoia Capital

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Helpchat, a personal assistant app based in India, has brought the curtains down on its chat services, Founder and CEO Ankur Singla said in a blog post.

The company has also laid off over 100 employees working in the chat department (a Yourstory report quoted the number to be between 100-150).

The firm had earlier also laid off over 100 people, when it was rebranded from Akosha to Helpchat, in mid-2015.

“Since we moved away from chat a few days ago, we’ve had a lot of users come and ask us why we decided to bring chat to a bare minimum in our app. While several of our users loved the chat feature, for a lot of our users chat was a cumbersome way of doing things (too many taps, easier if they did it themselves etc.),” Singla says in the post.

“After extensive debate internally, we took the call to phase out chat from our app and create the same level of experience using automation and simple user interfaces. The rest of the app remains the same – but it is simplified, fast and without any delays,” the post reads.

Akosha was started off in 2010 as a customer feedback platform. It later rebranded to Helpchat, an artificial intelligence-powered personalised transactions platform. From recharging phone to booking a cab, from booking movie tickets to food ordering, from shopping assistance to finding deals & coupons, from personalised news to intelligent reminders — Helpchat can get all of them done for its users.

In May last year, the company raised US$16 million in Series B round of funding led by Sequoia Capital. A month later, Helpchat laid off 100-150 people.

Early this year, the company launched recharge, bill payments, cabs, deals, news, journey cards.

“We are on our way to creating the world’s fastest product and tech team. We launched recharge, bill payments, cabs, deals, news, journey cards – all in 5 months. In the next three months, we’ll be launching many more things. Some will wow our users, some will be duds. But that’s the only way to create an awesome personal assistance platform. Fail, learn, ship, fail, learn, ship…,” the blog post says.

“While it is supposed to be tough, the toughest of all was the decision regarding our chat operations team. We have taken the decision to let go of most of our chat colleagues. We looked at the retention cohorts or uninstall cohorts for all our chat users but they were always much worse than others (for reasons explained above). No matter which way we looked at it, it made sense for us to take this decision,” he concludes the post.

The post Why Sequoia-funded Helpchat closed its chat service and laid off over 100 people appeared first on e27.

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