Former Southeast Asia managing director of Twitter, Arvinder Gujral (pictured) has taken up the role of global head of customers at WATI, a Sequoia-backed SaaS platform.

WATI, a Hong Kong-based comprehensive WhatsApp customer engagement tool for small businesses, has recently raised US$8.3 million in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital India in December 2021. Surge, Base Partners and several prominent angels including Gokul Rajaram, a member of the DoorDash executive team and board member at Coinbase and Pinterest, also participated in the round.

According to the company, it believes customer relationships are built through conversations. Through its customer engagement software built on WhatsApp’s Business API, WATI promises its clients personalised conversations with their consumers in real-time and at scale. It helps customer support, marketing and sales teams engage with customers using a single WhatsApp number.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE , Gujral confirmed the role, adding that he will be reporting to founder Bianca Ho. When asked what attracted him to the company, Gujral said, “If you look at the history of my career, I have had this trend of joining smaller organisations and helping them scale. For me it’s all about the journey of building and scaling up. That’s what excites me. I love the complexity and managing the variables of growth. The journey from 1 to 100 is my sweet spot.”

Gujral, who has over 20 years of experience, was also previously with Aircel, prior to his time at Twitter. He held the role of head of digital and innovation when Aircel was seen as a challenger brand in the Indian telecom market. He has also spent time working at a mobile app start-up in California.

Gujral added that the two short-term key areas he is keen on building up within WATI are partnerships and customer success. What sets WATI apart, he added, is the company’s focus to help SMBs rather than enterprise clients. “Most customer engagement start-up SaaS platforms focus on the enterprise companies and large brands, but we’ve cracked the GTM code on what can aid SMBs in the market and that’s where we are focused on allowing us to now have over 3,000 business partners globally over 50 countries.”

Gujral also added that while the company is focused on growing in emerging markets globally, his key markets in the short term are India, Indonesia and Brazil. “When I joined Twitter, I was the first employee in the India market and I’ve seen the company grow for eight years across Asia Pacific. So this time, I consciously wanted to join a smaller company - one with a great product-market fit and to help them scale globally - and relive the rollercoaster of a high growth startup,” added Gujral.

Related article:
Twitter actively on the hunt for SEA managing director as Arvinder Gujral exits

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