Chanty wants to make the world more productive using AI

19 Jun 2017

The Chanty team. Back row (left to right): Alexandr Valdaitsev, Maksym Kunytsia, Dmytro Okunyev, Nick Kamyshan, Julia Samoilenko and Alexandr Mukhin. Front row (left to right): Maksym Babko, Artem Polovyk, Aysel Safarova, Olga Mykhoparkina and Anastasia Matveyeva. Image: Chanty

Our start-up of the week is Chanty, a Ukraine-based start-up behind a revolutionary new AI-powered business messaging platform.

“Chanty Inc is a self-invested start-up focused on humanising business processes for small teams,” explained Chanty’s chief marketing officer and co-founder, Olga Mykhoparkina.

“Our product is [an] AI-powered business messenger and a single notification centre.

‘Our ultimate goal is to become the best business messenger for the needs of small teams on the market’

Future Human

“We help teams and businesses become more productive by featuring instant messages with an unlimited searchable history, robust file sharing and uniting notifications from multiple software services in a single place.”

The market

Chanty was founded to help small teams, start-ups and SMBs to become more productive, efficient and successful.

“Currently, more than 200 people have already joined our private beta. I think we are doing pretty well at building a community around Chanty in social media accounts as well,” Mykhoparkina explained.

“There is definitely intense competition between SaaS companies on the market of team communication and collaboration tools. The customers we are fighting for have a lot to choose from, too.

“However, this kind of a competition only proves that the demand for communication and collaboration software is as high as never before. You don’t have to be the best solution for everyone when you are in a competition for a market share with other companies.

“In order to fit the market the right way, you should be the best for your target audience. That is why our opportunity manifests in creating the best solution possible for our customers who are and will be our primary focus.”

The founders

Dmytro Okunyev began thinking of a messaging platform in 2012 when he founded a start-up called iPhone Icon Design. Even then, it was clear that the software people used for communication and collaboration should be simplified, and that the whole approach to business workflows required humanisation. His entrepreneurship skills allowed him to develop a more complex digital agency, Digifico.

Finally in 2016, Okunyev teamed up with Nick Kamyshan, an expert in communication and collaboration, now CEO at Chanty. Mykhoparkina also joined Chanty and decided to turn the idea of a simple AI-powered business messenger into reality.

Kamyshan’s involvement enabled the start-up to hire experienced software developers and designers. He brought his in-depth knowledge of messaging systems and technology trends, and initiated ambitious product features. Mykhoparkina, in her turn, took the responsibility for the marketing department, filling it with a team of driven experts.

The technology

“First off, Chanty is in beta right now and we are happy to invite you join our beta community by signing up on Chanty,” said Mykhoparkina.

“Chanty is, like most of our competitors, a cloud-based messaging platform, protected over the internet security protocols and privacy settings, set individually for every team. What makes us different is the approach to simplify communication and humanise business processes.

“The biggest problem, as we were told in our own survey conducted among 500 companies that use messengers for work, is the amount of settings and features most people don’t even know about. We have decided not to overwhelm our users with a bunch of features at once. Our goal is to give the features people need and those they would be happy to use.

“Our beta has proven that Chanty is a solid business messenger with a clean design we are proud of, great onboarding experience, private and public conversations, direct messages and file sharing.

“Although, it doesn’t mean that we have nothing to impress our users with. Things we are going the extra mile to deliver [with] include a Chanty AI algorithm, which predicts responses, saving you time spent on typing.”

The platform also comes with workflows that bring structure to conversations, allowing team members to coordinate important tasks in a more efficient way.

“It also includes audio and video calls, voice transcripts and integrations with popular services that will transform Chanty into a powerful business tool.”

Mykhoparkina continued: “Chanty is a start-up my team and I are proud of building. We are driven by the idea of improving team communication and collaboration.

“We’d love to help other teams and businesses succeed with the help of our software product. Our ultimate goal is to become the best business messenger for the needs of small teams on the market. And our responsibility is to make sure that Chanty not only becomes, but also remains, the best for our customer needs.”

Right on message

The talented Chanty team and a research-based approach to strategy, design and development has brought the start-up a long way from sketches, drafts and concepts to the beta product in a short three-month period.

“We’ve done a great job of planning, implementing and testing the major concepts in our product. Another important part of bringing our start-up to life was in the hands of the marketing department,” explained Mykhoparkina.

“We also have our website and blog, where we have decided to reflect the stages of our start-up journey; share our experience in planning, design and marketing; cheer up other start-up founders [and] prevent them from repeating the mistakes we’ve made on our way to building a beta product. I believe that this is only the beginning and the best is yet to come.”

The biggest challenge for any start-up, according to Mykhoparkina, is to validate your business idea.

“Although it is just a matter of patience and doing the research on how much value your service or product provides, many start-ups fall short of validation before they start spending money on the product itself. We’ve done our research and found a high demand for the type of product we are working on.

“Remember the ‘5P’ rule: that prior preparation prevents poor performance.”

Mykhoparkina said that hiring the right people for the start-up grind is the next challenge that any budding company faces in the early stages of its life.

“The things we are looking for when hiring people are proactivity, passion and enthusiasm. We truly love what we are doing and believe our product will become a success. Our team wakes up and goes to bed with Chanty in mind.”

The next challenge is knowing your customer, in order to come up with a competitive advantage.

“The other challenges comprise finding a proper pricing strategy, selling the value behind your product, building a so-called minimum loveable product, staying focused, extending your network – both in real life and in the internet – and, of course, staying in touch with the target audience you have chosen to conquer with your product.

“The great thing about a challenge in a start-up’s daily life is the way you feel once the challenge is over and you realise that the result is totally worth the effort.”

What a wonderful world we live in

Mykhoparkina said that the wonderful thing about the current start-up trend sweeping the planet is that so many people have never been so close to turning their ideas into reality as they are now.

“The start-up community has come a long way from being self-starters who work in the garage using some outdated tools or software to make their dream come true. Today, a lot of start-ups get a decent financing from angel investors and venture capitalists, who help talented people with [all of the] resources that are required for a start-up launch.

“Together with great opportunities comes the temptation to focus on the financing more than on the idea of the product or service you want to deliver.

“Chanty is lucky to be a self-invested company with a strong focus on the product [rather] than on what happens behind the scenes.

“We believe that today, you can do anything you’ve set your mind to, with a huge amount of commitment coming from your side. It’s amazing to see where the start-up world will evolve with the rate it is currently moving, towards a better future.”

Mykhoparkina added that start-ups from Europe continue to impress the world.

Her advice to fellow founders is to believe in yourself, your idea and your people, and understand that you are not alone in this environment.

“Start growing your network as soon as possible. These connections and acquaintances will pay off the moment you launch your product, and the importance of knowing the right people will only increase over time.

“Prepare to do a lot of research on every concept you are going to implement.

“Stay patient and make careful planning of your start-up strategy and daily routine.”

She concluded: “Be grateful to those who help you become a stronger person, your start-up a better company, and may success find you.”

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years