Conversational messaging platform Gupshup is one of the few unicorns with a difference as it’s profitable for the last few fiscals unlike the majority of unicorns who have been bleeding heavily. The Indian entity of Gupshup managed to grow its revenue and profit in FY23.
Gupshup’s India revenue from operations increased by 43% to Rs 1,619 crore during the fiscal year ending March 2023 from Rs 1,132 crore in FY22, its annual financial statements sourced from the RoC show.
It’s worth noting that this income was booked by the local entity of Gupshup which doesn’t include revenue from overseas markets. The company has significant business from foreign shores and its actual financial numbers are likely to differ.
The Tiger Global-backed company offers an API that businesses can use to enable messaging services to engage with their customers on platforms like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and Slack among others.
Mobile messaging services, advertisement through text messages, and software development charges were the only revenue streams for the company. It also has other income (non-operating) of Rs 6 crore from the interest of current investments during FY23.
The company claims to deliver over 10 billion messages per month and has 45K plus brand associations across 60 countries. The company has a presence in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the United States.
Coming to the cost side, the fees paid to business solution providers accounted for 69% of the overall expenditure. This cost grew 32.4% to Rs 1078 crore in FY23 from Rs 814 crore in FY22.
- Fees to BSPs
- Employee benefits
- Telephone postage
- Legal professional charges
- Advertising promotional expenses
Gupshup India spending on employee benefits spiked 92% during the previous fiscal year. Its telephone postage, legal professional, advertising cum promotional cost and other overheads catalyzed the overall expenditure to Rs 1,562 crore in FY23 as compared to Rs 1,084 crore in the previous fiscal year.
The significant scale and optimization of cost management helped Gupshup to register a 22.5% increase in its profits to Rs 49 crore in FY23 from Rs 40 crore in FY22. Its ROCE and EBITDA margin stood at 17% and 5% respectively. On a unit level, it spent Rs 0.96 to earn a rupee in FY23.
|Expense/₹ of Op Revenue
Gupshup turned unicorn after raising $100 million from Tiger Global in April 2021. The firm also raised $240 million in the same year and took over Knowlarity, Active.Ai and Onedirect since then. In July 2023, Fidelity Investments, one of the major backers of Gupshup, marked down the company’s valuation to $700 million.
While Fidelity’s markdown may be an acknowledgement of the intense competition in the segment today, Gupshup can be expected to find a way to grow. The firm knows its markets, clients and their changing needs better than most , as exemplified by its numbers. The Beerud Sheth-founded firm might face more competition, but it’s also a much bigger market with many opportunities. Efforts like its UPI based payment system for feature phones show it is alive and willing to those.