Enterprises and large and mid-sized enterprises are increasingly adopting — and offering — software-as-a-service platforms as they seek to increase revenue and upgrade their growth to greater efficiency. Now a new startup, Emitrr, aims 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 like appointment reminders and review generations. On Tuesday, the startup, led by two Indian co-founders, announced that it has raised $4 million in a Pre-Series A round to expand its automation solution in the US market.
Bangalore-based Chiratae Ventures led Emitrr’s funding round, which also gathered participation from Venture Highway, FortyTwo VC and Axilor Ventures.
“We’re essentially a business text messaging and automation software for local businesses in the US,” Anmol Oberoi, founder of Emitrr, told TechCrunch.
Founded by Oberoi and partner Pulkit Gambhir in December 2020, Emitrr claims over 150 local businesses in the US are using its platform. These businesses range from single-location healthcare practices to multi-location home care companies. The startup also has a few small business customers in Australia and Canada.
The Delaware-based startup targets global markets and has no customers in India, but employs a team of 25 people — most of whom work remotely from second- and third-tier cities — in the South Asian market.
Emitrr works with more than a thousand vertical CRM platforms that local companies often use to solve customer management functions. Oberoi said Emitr has so far built seven to eight different automation models that work through short message service (SMS).
Local healthcare centers, dentists, and home care providers can use these automation models to send their customers appointment reminders and follow-up services for feedback and reviews. Oberoi told TechCrunch that while Emitrr is largely targeting healthcare and home services, it has started to attract clients from real estate, salons, restaurants and other diverse companies.
Notably, Emitrr uses traditional WhatsApp text messaging for its operations. Oberoi said people in many markets including the US, Australia and Canada still prefer to use SMS over third-party offerings, but added that it is possible for the startup to quickly adopt WhatsApp or any other instant messaging service on the platform.
“Our platform can be used by any local business in the world,” he said. “We’re automating the tasks performed by the receptionist sitting in the dental office and the front desk executive sitting in the restaurant.”
Since Emitrr sends and receives messages to customers directly from businesses, it often processes sensitive information. Oberoi said there is system-wide encryption to ensure the safety and security of the data processed by the platform.
“Both our incoming and outgoing text messages are fully 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 disclosure without the patient’s consent or knowledge.
“We have a rental architecture, so if a compromise happens, even in that case, the compromise will only happen for one customer — not the hundreds of customers that we have,” Oberoi said.
Emitrr is not alone in selling automation platforms for business communication. Companies like Weave and Podium operate in the same space and target small businesses.
Oberoi claimed that Emitrr has a cost advantage over the competition and can identify many problems that its main competitors are not solving in the market. “Primarily, it’s the product and support that we can take customers away from Weave and Podium,” he said.
With the new funding, Emitrr plans to deepen the platform to expand its range of automations and solve 15 to 20 problems for small businesses. It also aims to double its drive to market.
“Pulkit and Anmol bring deep domain knowledge and we are delighted to partner with them on their growth journey to build and deliver real-world application and practical use solutions,” said Venkatesh Peddi, CEO and Partner of Chiratae Ventures, in a statement. .
Before 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 practice, in the US and around the world have a unique set of challenges, including no or very little digitization of customer-facing workflows,” said Samir Sood, founder partner, Venture Highway; . “The ability to maintain high service standards with little to no human contact in the context of precision work is a key problem waiting to be solved. The founders have unique knowledge of the space and a clear vision of how to produce the entire customer-facing journey and elevate the customer experience for these businesses — Emitrr is building a go-to solution,” he said Sood.