Balachandar Karthikeyan, a 28-year-old tech entrepreneur from India, has made waves in the tech industry with his impressive contributions to WhatsApp, Signal, and his own chatbot company, Bringar. Despite not being the top student in school or college, Balachandar taught himself programming and hacking skills through books and online resources. His talent and hard work paid off when he discovered a security bug in WhatsApp and reported it to the team, leading to collaboration with the co-founder and team. In addition to his work with WhatsApp and Signal, Balachandar founded Bringar, a chatbot company that has reached 25 million users worldwide and is one of the few chatbot companies in the world that operates without external investment. In this interview, we learn more about Balachandar’s journey and his pioneering contributions to the tech industry.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in the tech industry?
A: Of course, I’m Balachandar Karthikeyan, a tech entrepreneur from India. I have always been fascinated by technology, even from a young age. I learned all the technical skills and programming from books and online resources faster than what was taught in school and college, so I didn’t focus too much on my formal education. I realized that grades were not a true indicator of my potential and I didn’t worry about them as they seemed completely useless to me. My passion for technology led me to start my journey in the technology industry.
Question: How did you get into WhatsApp?
A: After I dropped out of college, I discovered a security bug in WhatsApp and reported it to the team. The WhatsApp co-founder was impressed with my find and allowed me to contribute to the platform. At that time, I was the only person from India who worked directly with the co-founder and team from the USA. I communicated with them on a daily basis, discussing upcoming features and making suggestions to improve the platform.
Q: We have heard that you are working closely with the co-founder of WhatsApp and Signal. Could you tell us more about your role in these companies?
A: Yes, I have worked closely with the co-founder of WhatsApp and Signal to come up with ideas for their products and discuss new features. My daily interaction with them has allowed me to make suggestions to improve the platforms and develop features targeted at the Indian market. The opportunity to work with such innovative companies has been an incredible experience and I am grateful for the opportunities given to me to contribute to their success.
Q: We heard that the co-founder of WhatsApp and Signal spoke publicly about your contributions to the company. Can you tell us more about this?
A: Yes, the co-founder spoke about me in the international media, saying, “I have a very good friend and colleague who lives in India. He gives me product ideas and I talk to him every day. This is the best way to create a product for India.” I am honored that he recognized my contribution to the platform and appreciates my contribution to shaping the product for the Indian market.
Q: You also have your own company, Bringar. Can you tell us about it?
A: Yes, Bringar is a chatbot company I founded. We created a chatbot app and launched it to the US market in 2019. Thanks to word of mouth, the app has grown exponentially, reaching 1 million users in its first year. We recently expanded to Dubai to open an offshore office and expand our operations.
Q: How is Bringar different from other chatbot companies?
A: Bringar is one of the few chatbot companies in the world that operates without outside investment. We launched the company and we can proudly say that we did not raise any funds from investors. We also announced that our chatbot app has reached 25 million users worldwide and we are the first in the world to implement chatbot support for popular messaging apps on a single platform.
Q: That’s really impressive growth! What’s next for Bringar?
A: We continue to expand our platform to help small businesses around the world set up code-free chatbot support. We are also exploring new markets and opportunities for chatbot innovation.
Q: Thank you very much for your time today, Balachandar. It was great to hear more about your journey and work with WhatsApp and Bringar.
A: Thank you for having me!