This is a 3-part interview with Pulkit Agrawal of Chameleon.
- Part 1: Finding & Validating Your Idea (You Are Here!)
- Part 2: Hustle Your Way to Early Growth
- Part 3: How to Onboard Your Users
Pulkit Agrawal is the co-founder and CEO of Chameleon, a platform that helps companies create better user onboarding. With Chameleon, you can quickly build, test & deploy product tutorials and tooltips without writing any code. And it collects analytics to help you learn what your new users are doing and how you can improve the onboarding experience. The company was founded in 2015 and to date has raised $1.9 million in funding.
Highlights and Key Takeaways
“When we are conscious of the choices we make in each moment, the future takes care of itself” – Gotham Chopra
- Pulkit and his co-founder Brian Norton were working at another startup where they discovered the benefits of doing user onboarding.
- Not only did user onboarding help with customer activation, it also helped improve long-term customer retention (3X improvement).
- It became really obvious to them that the first-time user experience had a key impact on the user's engagement with the product.
- They decided to spend one month validating the problem (not the idea). They did interviews with people in their network and anyone else who would talk to them.
- They focused on 3 questions – (1) how do you do user onboarding?, (2) what are your pain points? and (3) how do you currently solve them?
- They learned three things from these interviews – (1) most companies didn't understand user onboarding, (2) they lacked the time and resources to do the work, and (3) there was no ‘go-to' solution at the time to help them.
User Onboarding is the process of increasing the likelihood that new users become successful when adopting your product. – UserOnboard.com
- Next, they came up with a solution i.e. how they would go about solving this problem. And then started to look for companies willing to work with them.
- Pulkit sent cold emails to startups on the Y-Combinator list. He offered to help set up the user onboarding for these startups.
- One startup agreed. Pulkit and Brian spent the time setting up onboarding for the startup (for free) and in parallel used the learning to start developing Chameleon.
- They repeated this approach with a few other companies and eventually found one company that was willing to pay them to do the work.
- As they worked with each company, they kept learning more about user onboarding and at the same time kept developing their own product.
- Pulkit and Brian initially were just working evenings and weekends. As they got more interest in the product, they realized that they'd have to quit their jobs and work full-time on the business.
- They approached friends and family and asked them if they'd be willing to invest money in their startup. They got a commitment of about $40K-$50K in total. But they never used that money.
- Around that time, they also met an angel investor through a friend. After a few meetings, the angel decided to get behind the idea. This eventually led to them raising $1.9 million (from angels and a VC).
- One of the challenges is that most companies think about user onboarding as a short-term project that you put someone onto for a few months.
- Chameleon's goal is to help companies think about user onboarding all the time and help them to do that without the need for developers.