If you visit the website of Tapzo, the startup formerly known as Helpchat, you are likely to be greeted by a loading indicator that looks like the infinity symbol. As the page loads, the symbol loops into itself over and over, the symbolic head eating the tail each time over and over again.

Helpchat’s choice of the infinity symbol as the loading bar is an interesting one – the seemingly-incessant looping behavior can easily represent Helpchat itself.

Meet the Ouroboros.

The Ouroboros imperative

The Ouroboros is an ancient mystical symbol of a snake eating its own tail and is often taken to symbolize the eternal cycle, especially in the sense of something constantly destroying and re-creating itself. It also represents the infinite cycle of nature’s endless creation and destruction; life and death.

Of all the Indian startups around, Helpchat is the one that epitomizes this constant urge to reinvent itself, pivoting from one avatar to another – the head eating the tail. In fact, to the casual observer, Helpchat has recreated itself so many times that these gyrations look more like a pirouette than a pivot.

But before we get to the imperatives driving this behavior, a brief look at Helpchat’s history is perhaps warranted.

Loop 1: In Feb 2010, Ankur Singla launches Wasiyat.com in Chandigarh. Wasiyat is an online legal services company that helps people in registering their wills.

Loop 2: In August 2010, Singla moves to Delhi and restarts from a clean slate; this time offering online legal services beyond just wills to cover rent and power of attorney agreements. The new avatar is called Akosha.

Loop 3: In Jan 2011, Akosha drops everything else and morphs into a platform solely for lodging and resolving consumer complaints.

Loop 4: Shortly thereafter, One Direct, a B2B offering for brands to manage customer complaints is launched to complement Akosha, the B2C consumer-facing site.

Loop 5: In July 2015, Akosha shuts down its consumer complaint platform and pivots to become Helpchat, a “messaging-based intelligent personal assistant”.

Loop 6: In May 2016, Helpchat drops chat and transforms into an “all-in-one bundled mobile app” to help Indians “recharge prepaid mobile & DTH, pay postpaid mobile, electricity & other utility bills, book cabs/taxis & autos, order food, find best offers, deals & coupons, read news, follow trending, funny & viral stories and check live cricket scores and daily horoscope”.

Loop 6.5: In November 2016, Helpchat rather belatedly realizes that it doesn’t behoove itself to have a name that is a portmanteau of two services (Help & Chat) that it no longer offers.  So it rechristens itself to Tapzo.


Sumanth Raghavendra

Sumanth is a serial entrepreneur with more than eighteen years experience in running startups. He is currently the founder of Deck App Technologies, a Bangalore-based startup attempting to re-imagine productivity software for the Post-PC era. Sumanth’s columns appear regularly in leading publications. He holds MBA degrees from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, USA.

View Full Profile

Available exclusively to subscribers of The Ken India

This story is a part of The Ken India edition. Subscribe. Questions?


Annual Subscription

12-month access to 200+ stories, archive of 800+ stories from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 2,750


Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 60+ new stories with 3-months worth of archives from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 1,750


Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

Rs. 500


Annual Subscription

12-month access to 150+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 120


Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 35+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 50


Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

$ 20



What is The Ken?

The Ken is a subscription-only business journalism website and app that provides coverage across two editions - India and Southeast Asia.

What kind of stories do you write?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics.

We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

What do I get if I subscribe?

For subscribers of the India edition, we publish a new story every weekday, a premium daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order and a weekly newsletter - The Nutgraf.

For subscribers of the Southeast Asia edition, we publish a new story three days a week and a weekly newsletter, Strait Up.

The annual subscription will get you complete, exclusive access to our archive of previously published stories for your edition, along with access to our subscriber-only mobile apps, our premium comment sections, our newsletter archives and several other gifts and benefits.

Do I need to pay separately for your premium newsletters?

Nope. Paid, premium subscribers of The Ken get our newsletters delivered for free.

Does a subscription to the India edition grant me access to Southeast Asia stories? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

Do you offer an all-access joint subscription for both editions?

Not yet. If you’d like to access both editions, you’ll have to purchase two subscriptions separately - one for India and the other for Southeast Asia.

Do you offer any discounts?

No. We have a zero discounts policy.

Is there a free trial I can opt for?

We don’t offer any trials, but you can sign up for a free account which will give you access to the weekly free story, our archive of free stories and summaries of the paid stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

Do you offer refunds?

We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Please write to us at [email protected] detailing the error or queries.