Interview with CO-Founder and CEO, MoEngage – Raviteja Dodda


“Focus on your customers – they are your most significant source of growth and learning”

1. Tell us about your role in MoEngage?
Hi, I am Raviteja Dodda, Founder & CEO, MoEngage Inc. At MoEngage, I work with different teams to uphold and drive two of the most prominent values we propagate as a brand: Customer obsession and Product innovation. This translates into all the activities that go into building strong teams that relentlessly focus on helping our customers navigate the challenges of digital & mobile engagement and driving continuous innovation to create a world-class product that delivers on business goals.

Hundreds of global brands across 35 countries use MoEngage to connect with 400+ million monthly active users, processing over 65+ billion interactions and 40+ billion messages every month. Today we are a global company with 250+ employees, from 8 different Nationalities. And they are all working coherently to grow MoEngage into the world’s most trusted customer engagement platform.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
The last decade has seen an unprecedented surge in mobile and connected devices. Markets across the world – especially in Asia are witnessing double-digit growth in digital & mobile users in most segments. The number of customer touchpoints has increased significantly in the last few years, and journeys have become more complex. But, customers expect a seamless experience from brands across all these touchpoints. Clearly, there was a lack of solutions in the market that could help brands make sense of all this data and help brands deliver on the customer promise.

After graduating from Alchemist Accelerator where we initially experimented & iterated with the idea of an integrated, intelligent platform that could analyze customer data, provide insights, and drive cross-channel automated engagement, we decided to headquarter the company in San Francisco and Bengaluru.

We saw early success in India with rapid adoption from mobile-first brands like Taxi for sure, Snapdeal, and Gaana. However, from Day 1, we were very clear that we wanted to build a global enterprise SaaS company from India. So in early 2015, we decided to expand outside India, but the question was in which direction.

From observing other SaaS businesses around us, the conventional wisdom was to look West if you wanted to expand your business outside India. But we decided to look East, instead. In retrospect, we are pleased that we went against the tide to take an East-first approach to drive our next phase of growth and come out on top.

3. How do you think technology is upgrading marketing Sector?
As the number of devices and user touchpoints grows, so is the data emanating from these devices. Technology platforms like MoEngage are helping marketers worldwide collect and analyze this data to gather insights. Armed with these insights, our customers can take a data-driven approach to make their messaging more relevant and personalized for their end-users.

To give you an example, MoEngage is currently working with large brands like OYO, Ola, Tokopedia, Traveloka, and can attribute the impact in results directly to MoEngage. For example, Tokopedia witnessed a 60% improvement in first-month user retention, OYO increased the CTRs for campaigns by 8x, and Gaana witnessed a 120 percent uplift in subscriptions for premium account drive up to 10% DAU (Daily Active Users) on the app. As you can see, there’s a direct impact on business metrics, so it is a viable technology for marketing teams.

4. How has integration of AI contributed in delivering better customer engagement?
Marketing is all about delivering the right message to the right user at the right time. While our industry-leading segmentation & predictive segmentation capabilities help you identify the right user, Sherpa – our AI-powered campaign optimization engine, which automatically maximizes campaign engagement by predicting and sending the right message at the right time.

Using Sherpa, marketers can optimize the results from their A/B or multivariate campaigns. In a Multivariate campaign, Sherpa learns the performance of each variant on the fly by registering user interactions, then automatically drives traffic towards top-performing content. Sherpa completely eliminates the need for the marketing team to analyze and choose manually. Sherpa also helps marketers by automatically sending messages to individuals at the time they’re most likely to view, engage, and convert with your message.

AI has made significant inroads into the customer engagement space by helping marketers eliminate guesswork, save time, maximize opportunities, and drive higher results.

5. Do you think use of mobile phones have played a significant role in enhancing Ecommerce and retail marketing strategies?
Certainly. The introduction of mobile phones, smartphones especially has revolutionized how people interact with brands in the last 10 years. On the one hand, incumbents are undergoing a digital transformation to reach more customers on mobile devices. At the same time, entire companies are being born on the mobile (app or mobile web) on the other. To give you a few examples, Future Group is using MoEngage to increase adoption for its FuturePay app using MoEngage. OYO, perhaps the poster-child for new-age mobile/ digital companies out there, is using MoEngage to drive personalized interactions with its users. Hundreds of global brands across 35 countries use MoEngage to connect with 400+ million monthly active users, processing over 65+ billion interactions, and 40+ billion messages every month.

6. How will your partnership with Big Basket benefit your customers?
The partnership will help enhance customer retention and loyalty for Bigbasket through MoEngage’s omni-channel communication platform. MoEngage will further Bigbasket’s focus on retention and help deliver hyper-personalized offers, recommendations, and order updates to its customers across different platforms. Leveraging MoEngage’s journey builder feature, Flows, Bigbasket will be able to automate workflows to deliver consistent and relevant messages to customers based on their transaction history and preferences. MoEngage will also leverage its AI Engine, Sherpa, to automatically optimize the message content and deliver it at a time when it is most likely to be read by the customer.

7. What features of your platforms made it the highest overall rated vendor in 2019?
MoEngage has been delivering product features that keep our customers and their problems & use-cases at the center. We were the first to pioneer Push Amplification+, a solution that helps marketers improve push notification delivery – a major problem faced by app marketers worldwide. Push Amplification+ helps improve push notification delivery by up to 90% on certain OEM android devices. Our analytics & predictive coupled with our existing cross-channel messaging capabilities have finally bridged the decade-long gap that existed between analytics & customer engagement tools in the market. Sherpa, our AI engine sits on top of all of our solutions delivering intelligence inputs to marketers where crucial decisions need to be carried out.

But, more than the features on the platform, it is our core belief in being ‘customer obsessed’ that has earned us higher ratings when compared with our peers. MoEngage has received the highest overall customer rating (4.6/5) among the vendors featured in the 2019 Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’ Report for Mobile Marketing Platforms. We have also received the highest ratings for Service & Support (4.7/5) and for Evaluation & Contracting (4.5/5) – with 90% of customer reviewers willing to recommend our product to others.

8. What advice would you like to give to the technology Start Ups?
Your time is limited, so do what you really love.

Focus on your customers – they are your most significant source of growth and learning.

Build products and features not because you have an idea but because it solves real problems. Iterate fast and iterate often. It is the only way to develop your product in a fast manner. Don’t be afraid to fail.

9. What digital innovation in the Martech scape you think will make its mark in 2020?
I think digital innovations like machine-learning will have a huge impact on martech space in 2020. Marketers would exploit these systems to drive personalized engagement with their customers and outperform competition consistently.

10. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
AI/ ML technology alone cannot do much by itself unless it finds real-life applications. So, it is imperative to look at AI from a solutions point of view and use it to solve problems. In our case, we used the AI tech out there to help marketers improve and optimize engagement for marketing campaigns. From a team standpoint, it is crucial to hire the right talent and build the right teams that can extract the best out of this tech to drive product innovation and meet customer requirements.

11. What major developments are you planning in terms of enhancing your capabilities?
Over the last few years, we have moved from being a rule-based platform to intelligence-based. Our latest capabilities are more focused on eliminating guesswork while saving time & effort for marketing teams.

We are looking at enhancing our data-science capabilities that lean more towards building features that are more ‘predictive’ in nature. As a first step, we recently announced ‘predictive segments’ based on RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary) analysis that creates segments of users using a robust data-backed method based on users’ past behavior. The customer data points are graded, further analyzed, and then segmented to target customers as distinct groups. This model helps businesses effectively analyze the past buying behavior of each customer to predict and shape future customer interactions.

12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
Today we are a 250+ strong company with employees across different functions like tech, sales, marketing, customer success, etc. As a founder & CEO, I dedicate a lot of time in motivating and driving our employees to give their best. One of the fascinating things about MoEngage is how different teams work together to achieve common objectives and uphold our core values of customer obsession and product innovation.

13. What movie inspires you the most?
The Pursuit of Happyness.

14. We would love to catch some glimpses of your much talked about chic and fabulous work culture?
We have a value-driven work culture at MoEngage. What that means is no matter which team an employee represents, he/she will be bound by these values in every task that they execute. For example, being innovative and taking ownership are some of the values that we propagate. This translates into organizing and executing frequent hackathons, where every team member with has an idea can come forward and present it to the entire company. We have seen ideas from these hackathons that have gone on to develop into new products or features that add additional value to our customers – another value, of being ‘customer-centric’ that we propagate. We also believe that innovation and development thrive in a ‘free’ environment. This is why we offer flexible work timings to our employees and have an open office environment that facilitates better synergies between employees from all teams. Employee well-being and health is also top-of-mind for us. We ensure that every employee gets access to healthy nutrition by providing nutrient-rich fruits and healthy food options in the workplace, along with free subscriptions to gyms, yoga, or sporting activities outside of the workplace. We encourage different teams to collaborate outside of the workspace by organizing team outings, sporting events, annual gatherings, and such.

15. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
Mail, Notes, Slack, Calendar, Pocket, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Ravi Dodda is the Chief Executive Officer and the Founder of MoEngage. he is also an entrepreneur for more than half a decade, Ravi founded two companies before MoEngage. He co-founded Pipal Tech Ventures, which built DelightCircle, one of the largest shopping mobile apps in India at that time.

MoEngage is an internet company that features cloud-based marketing services for consumer businesses. It helps companies on campaigns across channels such as in-app messaging, web, and SMS providing machine learning for optimization of customer engagement.
The company was founded in 2014 and headquartered in San Francisco, California.
For more information please visit our Website.

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