Large-scale and mid-sized enterprises and businesses are increasingly adopting — and offering — software-as-a-service platforms as they seek to increase their revenue and parlay their growth into greater efficiency. Now a young startup, Emitrr, is aiming to bring the benefits of this model to small and local businesses in the U.S. Emitrr claims to help small businesses by automating tasks such as appointment reminders and review generations. On Tuesday, the startup, led by two Indian co-founders, announced that it raised $4 million in a Pre-Series A round to widen its automation solution in the U.S. market.
Bengaluru-headquartered Chiratae Ventures led Emitrr's funding round, which also drew participation from Venture Highway, FortyTwo VC and Axilor Ventures.
“We essentially are an automation software like a business text messaging software and an automation software for local businesses in the U.S.,” said Anmol Oberoi, founder of Emitrr, in an interview with TechCrunch.
Emitrr, founded by Oberoi and his partner Pulkit Gambhir in December 2020, claims that that over 150 local businesses in the U.S. use its platform. These businesses range from single-location healthcare practices to multi-location home service companies. The startup also has some small business clients in Australia and Canada.
The Delaware-based startup is catering to the global markets and has no customers in India, but it employs a team of 25 people — most of whom work remotely from tier-two and tier-three cities — in the South Asian market.
Emitrr works with over a thousand of vertical CRM platforms that local companies often use to solve customer management operations. Oberoi said that Emitrr has so far built seven to eight different automation models that work over the short messaging service (SMS).
Local healthcare centers, dentists and home service providers can use these automation models to send their customers appointment reminders and follow-ups on services for feedback and reviews. Oberoi told TechCrunch that while Emitrr is targeting healthcare and home services heavily, it has started getting customers from real estate, salons, restaurants and other different verticals.
It's remarkable that Emitrr is using traditional text messages over WhatsApp for its tasks. Oberoi said that people in many markets including the U.S., Australia and Canada still prefer to use SMSs over any third-party offerings, but added that it's within reach for the startup to quickly adopt WhatsApp or any other instant messaging service onto the platform.
“Our platform can be used by any local business in the world,” he said. “We automate the tasks performed by receptionists that sit in the dental office and the front desk executive that sits in the restaurant.”
Since Emitrr sends and receives messages to customers directly from businesses, it often processes sensitive information. Oberoi said that there is system-wide encryption to ensure the security and safety of data the platform processes.
“Both our inbound and outbound text messages are completely encrypted,” he said. The company also complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge.
“We have a single tenant architecture, so if a compromise happens, even in that case, the compromise will just happen for one customer — not for the hundreds of customers we have,” Oberoi said.
Emitrr is not alone in selling automation platforms for business communication. Companies including Weave and Podium operate in the same space and are targeting small businesses.
Oberoi claimed that Emitrr has a cost advantage over the competition and can identify many problems that its key competitors are not solving in the market. “Primarily, it's the product and support which is where we can take away customers from Weave and Podium,” he said.
With the fresh funding, Emitrr is planning to deepen the platform to expand its range of automation and solve 15 to 20 problems for small businesses. It also aims to double down on its go-to-market motion.
“Pulkit and Anmol bring deep domain knowledge and we are glad to partner with them in their growth journey of building and offering real-world applicability and practical use cases solutions,” said Venkatesh Peddi, Managing Director and Partner, Chiratae Ventures, in a statement.
Prior to the new round, Emitrr had raised about $495,000 from Venture Highway, Axilor Ventures and some angel investors.
“Small and local businesses like your local dentist or a parlor, in the U.S. and across the world have a unique set of challenges, including the lack or very low digitization of customer-facing workflows,” said Samir Sood, Founding Partner, Venture Highway. “The ability to maintain high service standards at low to no human touch, in the background of expensive labor, is a key problem waiting to be solved. The founders have unique insights on the space and have a clear vision on how to productize the entire customer-facing journey and elevate the customer experience for these businesses — Emitrr is building a ‘go-to' solution,” Sood said.