Intercom alternative?

I have been researching chat platforms. From the outside, it looks like a super crowded space, but the pricing on intercom is built for enterprises.

I'm wondering if there are enough takers for an intercom alternative. Of course, it would have a lot of limited features initially and therefore would be offering a lifetime deal to early adopters.

Also wondering, as a strategy, is it possible to replicate parts of a billion $ enterprise into a profitable micro-SaaS.

Would love to hear your thoughts before building anything!

Edit: If anyone is looking for an alternative to Intercom, tawk.to and chatwoot.com come close enough, and free.

  1. 4

    I feel like crisp.chat already occupies this space. Been a customer for almost a year and it's working well for my needs.

      1. 1

        But it doesn't mean you can't compete! Having competition is a good thing, as long as you find a distribution channel for your idea.

        1. 2

          100% I believe the market is big enough to accommodate multiple players. And yes, rightly said - distribution is king.

  2. 2

    It's super hard to compete in this space now, especially as a solo founder or small bootstrapped team. Lots of the players have been around for years and have built up an extremely large feature gap.

    You essentially have to build two products: a dashboard for your customers, and a chat messenger that they can embed on their website. This is double the work of most products, and you'd probably need years in order to reach any kind of feature parity where someone would actually want to use you.

    The only way you can compete in this space is to offer some kind of value that other competitors don't. A big one in my mind is privacy; most of these companies violate your privacy pretty heavily. So having a chat platform that respects your privacy would be a big differentiator.

    That being said, I don't really recommend spending your time building an alternative unless you're really passionate about the space and willing to dedicate years to building your product.

    Source: I used to work at Intercom, and I built Letterbase, which I eventually shut down.

    1. 1

      What you said makes a lot of sense and more so because you have done something on similar lines.

      Have you ever considered building a chat experience for a very niche audience? Not thinking of beating Intercom or any of the established players that obviously have spent years building features and are marketing powerhouses.

      1. 1

        It's always possible that a niche audience could go for a solution that is specifically targeted towards them.

        If you already have some niche audiences in mind, then the best way to test that out is to do some early market validation.

  3. 2

    Ministry of Testing moved from Intercom to Gist a couple or so years ago now.

    1. 1

      The Why Free part is pretty inspirational for anyone Indiehacking! :) Thanks for the link!

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