Gupshup to buy cloud telephony firm Knowlarity, Sequoia to stay invested


Conversational messaging platform Gupshup, operated by Webaroo Inc., on Wednesday said it will acquire cloud telephony company Knowlarity Communications, which is backed by investors such as Sequoia Capital and Mayfield.

The acquisition will help Gupshup consolidate its position in conversational engagement, the company said in a statement without disclosing the financial details of the transaction. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

A person familiar with the development said the deal involves a mix of cash and equity. Sequoia will continue to remain invested and will get an equity stake in Gupshup while the other shareholders of Knowlarity will exit fully, the person added. A Bloomberg report said Gupshup’s purchase price is around $100 million.

An email sent to Sequoia did not elicit an immediate response.

Beerud Sheth, co-founder and CEO, Gupshup, said in the statement that with the addition of Knowlarity’s products, businesses will now be able to build seamless conversational experiences across both messaging and voice channels.

The statement noted that Knowlarity’s revenues grew 50% over the previous year, while international revenues excluding India grew 100% in the same period.

Knowlarity was founded by Ambarish Gupta and Pallav Pandey in 2009. The founders set up the company’s first office in Gurugram in 2009 but decided to move headquarters to Singapore in 2013. Pandey left the company in early 2013 to start a new venture. In 2018, Gupta also left and former Tata Teleservices executive Yatish Mehrotra was appointed as the company’s new CEO.

Knowlarity has been known to make a slew of acquisitions in the past. The acquisitions include Sunoray Solutions, Unicom Techlabs and Smartwards Services.

This will be Gupshup’s second acquisition since it bought New Jersey-based rich communications services (RCS) startup Dotgo in September last year.

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.

Gupshup turned unicorn in April last year after it announced raising $100 million from Tiger Global, valuing the company at $1.4 billion. Gupshup secured an additional $240 million in its Series F round of funding later in July that also paved the way for exit of early investors

Notably, before Tiger Global recently morphed the firm into a unicorn with a $100 million cash shower last year, the company had told the US investor in no unclear terms that the round would be treated as pre-IPO funding.