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Co-Founder and COO
Co-Founder and COO
Bianca Ho, Co-Founder and COO of Wati, made a significant career shift from banking at JP Morgan to the tech industry. Together with Ken Yeung (2005 BEng Computer Science), they established a chatbot company Clare.AI and launched their product, Wati, in 2020. Wati specializes in automating conversations and has pivoted from enterprise to small to medium businesses. Their customer engagement software, built on the WhatsApp Business API (Application Programming Interface), enables personalized conversations at scale.
Wati has gained traction by capitalizing on the increasing use of WhatsApp for business communication and the demand for automated customer interactions. The company now serves thousands of customers across 70 countries and has experienced substantial growth. Recently, they secured a $23 million investment from Tiger Global Management, DST, Sequoia, and Shopify, highlighting their promising prospects in Southeast Asia.
Initially focused on assisting large enterprises, Wati recognized the potential with small and medium-sized businesses which heavily rely on WhatsApp. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the adoption of automation in businesses, allowing Wati to expand into international markets. With a diverse board representing five nationalities, Wati embraces its global nature and aligns its presence with WhatsApp's reach.
With a focus on aggressive growth and the increasing prominence of automation, Wati aims to differentiate itself in the market. They offer various services for online retailers, such as providing deals, collecting feedback, sending order notifications, and addressing abandoned shopping carts. Bianca emphasizes the effectiveness of WhatsApp as a platform for customers to provide feedback, resulting in higher response rates compared to generic feedback forms.
Reflecting on her career, Bianca says her participation in the NetMission Ambassador Program during HKUST was especially valuable. The program aims to bring together a network of dedicated young volunteers working on collaborative and sustainable internet governance, and Bianca used that to participate in United Nation forums and gain international experience. “Working with HKUST people allows you to feel their passion, it’s not just a job and transactional, they love networking and learning,” Bianca adds.
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