This is a 3-part interview with Pulkit Agrawal of Chameleon.
- Part 1: Finding & Validating Your Idea
- Part 2: Hustle Your Way to Early Growth (You Are Here!)
- 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
- Pulkit and his co-founder Brian started with their network and created a list of companies that they either had some connection with or companies they'd love to work with.
- They contacted these companies and set up informational interviews with anyone who was willing to talk to them. They wanted to learn more about customer pains and the market.
There's no point selling until somebody has the pain and needs the solution.
- People were much more willing to give them time to meet for coffee if they asked for feedback instead of selling. They would tell people they were looking for insights and advice that would help them.
- One of the benefits of meeting people face to face (in San Francisco) is that it helped them to start building relationships. They were able to follow up with these people and also ask for introductions.
- Brian built the first version of the product i.e. the prototype. The prototype wasn't perfect. It had a number of flaws and design issues. But it gave them something that they could show to potential customers.
- They created a landing page to capture leads, wrote blog posts etc. but most of their leads came from reaching out to people through cold email or via introductions.
We only needed a few customers to come into the private beta and start using the product.
- They created a Slack group to communicate with their early customers. It was important to have really good access to customers and for them to have good access to the founders.
- The most common objections they would hear from companies were that onboarding wasn't a priority, they didn't have the time or resources available, or they could build an onboarding solution in-house.
- Some people told them that onboarding platform or solution wasn't necessary. All they needed to do was to build a product that was easy and intuitive to use (which is a lot harder than it sounds).
- Other companies were reluctant to integrate their product with an unknown startup. It seemed too much of a risk. But companies in San Francisco were much more open to this. So that's where they focused.
- A mistake that some startups make is that they try to build every solution themselves (onboarding, affiliate management etc.) instead of focusing on their core competencies.
- Baremetrics has a ‘build vs. buy' calculator that can help you make smarter decisions. Josh Pigford was a guest on this podcast on episode 48.
- Chameleon's early story and the objections they heard is similar to what the team at StatusPage experienced. Listen to the interview with StatusPage co-founder Scott Klein here.
- The team made a conscious decision to focus on one use-case in their marketing i.e. onboarding. They could have also talked about reducing churn etc. but they wanted to be super-tight and not dilute their message.
- There was only one potential competitor when they started out. Today, there are a number of potential competitors that are solving the same problem in different ways.
Our biggest competitor is the “we don't have enough time to do onboarding” customer objection.
Links, Resources & People Mentioned
- Brian Norton
- Baremetrics: Build vs. Buy Calculator
- Josh Pigford (Baremetrics Founder) on ConversionAid
- Scott Klein (StatusPage Co-Founder) on ConversionAid