The Birth Of Helpshift: Our Founding Fathers’ Stories
“Helpshift has grown into being an extension of my existence,” says Baishampayan Ghose, (“BG”) CTO and co-founder of Helpshift. “My best friends are among my colleagues, it’s a big family.”
This Father’s Day, we at Helpshift have decided to take a look at the fathers of our company, BG and Abinash Tripathy. These two have not only founded Helpshift, but have also provided our team with mentorship, leadership, invaluable knowledge, and a space in which each and every one of us can create and grow. They are our company’s fathers in every sense of the word.
“Helpshift has grown into being an extension of my existence”
The Helpshift story began in 2011, but the stories of Abinash and BG began well before then. Abinash was in the process of wrapping up his startup, Zimbra (sold to Yahoo!), and had decided to take 6 months off to spend time with his 1 year old daughter. “I realized that the startup had taken time away from my family, and I wanted to give them back that time,” he says.
Ironically, it was this very effort that formed the seed of Helpshift: Abinash realized that time is a consumer’s most valuable asset. As he was regaining his time and spending it on the most important things in his life — his family — he realized that he wanted to devote his next business venture to giving others back what he had so recently regained. Thus began the genesis of Helpshift.
BG began his career building an airline ticket booking engine at an online travel startup (think of it as the Expedia of India). While there, he learned “the importance of technology, design, and customer experience.” He also learned how to run a successful startup, including lessons on “how not to grow too fast, how to show people they matter, and how to emphasize product market fit.” It only took another year, a social network that he eventually shut down, and a meeting with Abinash to start Helpshift.
“I personally believe that time is the resource we care about the most,” says Abinash. “Customer Service is an area where we really don’t want to spend any time. Companies introduce so much friction into the customer service process that it becomes incredibly time consuming, and therefore frustrating for the customer.”
The intersection between time, family, and Helpshift is one that BG embraces as well: “It’s almost like seeing your child grow up,” he says of watching Helpshift mature. Like Abinash, BG is family-oriented, both in and out of the workplace. Tied up in his vision of Helpshift, is his vision for himself, as a loving and caring husband.
“My personal goals are not too different from those of Helpshift,” he says. “I just got married recently, so I do see myself being a good partner to my spouse now and an even better one going forward.” Bringing joy to others is what motivates these two men: “I look at how a software you’ve built can bring happiness to the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and it’s a very humbling experience,” says BG.
It’s an interesting way of looking at customer service — an area that has historically been ripe with dissatisfaction and angry customers. But this is precisely why BG and Abinash have striven to disrupt it; they saw a broken system that was eating customers’ time, and wanted to fix it.
“We want to help every business build amazing customer support like Apple or Amazon- something their customers love,” says Abinash.
To do that, they looked for a system of communication that works: “Messaging connects us all and watching how text messaging eclipsed email usage on Mobile was the seed of the idea,” says Abinash. BG chimes in, “We feel the careful marriage of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Analytics will usher in the age of ‘automated customer support’ and we are working hard towards that goal.” Abinash has a history in CRM; he worked for Oracle early on in his career, and used that experience in creating Helpshift.
“We are building something of incredible value to society”
The Helpshift product has grown from an in-app messaging customer support service to a full SDK with searchable, personalizable in-app FAQs and valuable analytics. “In the coming years I would like to learn more about the application of data intelligence to real-world customer service problems,” says BG. “Customer Service is a big space and I feel there is ample scope for disruption there and that’s what I will be exploring.”
In tandem with Helpshift’s growth, BG and Abinash will also grow — as husbands, fathers, and innovators. In the past month alone, they have launched a new product website, celebrated Helpshift being installed on over 1.3 billion unique devices, and announced a successful $23M Series B funding round.
“We are building something of incredible value to society,” says Abinash. “We are building a product that gives back time.”
While they are both savvy businessmen and entrepreneurs, they are motivated by something else: by their families, and a drive to give society the family time that they both cherish.
To learn more about Abinash and BG’s story, take a look at this Inc42’s article.