Kera Tackles Converting Recent Signups to Customers Using In-App Tutorials

Toronto-based Kera is looking to make it easy for SaaS companies to create walkthroughs of their website to guide users as they sign up for and use their service. The company is out to tackle the universal problem of getting users to interact with software the way it was designed to be used, something SaaS companies have traditionally addressed through YouTube videos, blog posts, or for more established companies, via custom-built tools. The company is currently part of the Extreme Startups startup accelerator in Toronto, and will be debuting a new version of its platform next month.

“The problem is companies spend a lot of money, time, and resources at the top of the funnel and getting people to sign up for their app. However, converting those signups to paying customer and returning visitors is really difficult,” co-founder Max Cameron said in an interview. “So startups and SaaS businesses in general really struggle in educating and teaching their users how to use their software. If you could sit down next to your user and give them a demo, you’re setting yourself up for them to stick around, but as you scale, you can’t do that as much.”

Using Kera, companies can create guided walkthroughs, featuring an audio voiceover and highlighted cursor that instructs users on features (an example is featured on Kera’s homepage). The tours also allow companies to prompt the user to do a task, like entering text, filling out a form, inviting a friend, or testing out something they may have not explored otherwise. As of now, users need basic web development knowledge to add the JavaScript code, but the company is working on an authoring tool targeted at helping non-technical users create guided walkthroughs. The company believes its tools will be most useful for apps with complicated user interfaces, such as CRM tools, online accounting or HR management tools, though it can be used for any website or app.

Cameron also said that Kera will let SaaS companies keep their walkthroughs as current as possible without having to change their material every time they iterate on the product. “Because web apps change all the time those walkthroughs are very brittle, they break, all of a sudden you change the order of your pages, change the location of all your buttons, change the colors and labels, because you’re constantly trying to improve your product. So whether it’s a YouTube video or a custom-coded tutorial that you’ve coded, they’re all of a sudden useless,” Cameron said.

As of now Kera’s product is free, though they will be implementing a monthly subscription model with prices ranging anywhere from $40-$500 per month based on the size of the user’s business.

The company would be going head to head against competitors like WalkMe and iorad, which lets its customers build toolkits that provide sequential prompts in their applications, however, Kera looks to provide a more interactive experience that tries to simulate sitting next to a user. “Our focus is on engagement and we think the presence of the voice track and the virtual cursor that actually walks a user through and can click on elements and interact with the webpage is really a more human experience. So there are some other people trying to solve this problem, but we’re placing our bet on making the most engaging experience possible,” Cameron added.

The company also has to compete against what consumers traditionally do if they have a question or are confused, namely emailing customer support, checking out FAQs, or using on-page support tools like Zingaya and Olark. Kera is working on an authoring tool for mobile applications, and with demo day around the corner at Extreme Startups, Kera will be meeting with potential partners and investors in San Francisco in the coming week. Once they add tools for non-developers, aimed more at customer support or marketing staff, they’ll give the average employee a way to decrease their website’s bounce rate, while helping companies that wish they could show users exactly how to use their service.

Humayun Khan

Humayun Khan

Humayun Khan is a Senior Writer and Analyst at BetaKit. A marketing graduate with honors, Humayun's work experience spans the fields of consumer behaviour with noted contributions in an academic paper published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology and market research consulting having coordinated projects for a major financial services client at Decode Inc. More recently he was involved in business strategy as a Business Analyst for an equipment rental outlet and prior in the National Marketing Department at Ernst & Young LLP. He is passionate about emerging and disrupting technology and its ability to transform and create entirely new industries.

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