Tel Aviv-based startup WalkMe has secured an undisclosed amount of funding for its support tool, which allows companies to create interactive on-screen “Walk-Thrus” to help visitors with on-site tasks. The funding comes from Mangrove Capital Partners, an investment firm with a focus on Europe and emerging markets like Russia.
The company launched in beta in November 2011 and officially launched on April 2, and has signed up over 1,000 people to date. WalkMe co-founder and president Rafi Sweary said the idea for WalkMe came from his co-founder, whose mother kept calling him and asking how to do something in her online bank account. “She kept coming back with the same questions, and then he thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for the site owner to sit next to her and show her exactly what and where to click?’” Sweary said in an interview.
WalkMe’s tool helps guide website visitors through any task, whether it’s operating business software, filling out forms, or online shopping. Businesses set up Walk-Thrus on their end by installing a plug-in, completing the action or task they want a visitor to complete in their browser (currently only Firefox is supported), and filling out the instructions they want visitors to see along the way. Once they publish that Walk-Thru, it appears becomes available on a company’s website via a pop-up menu, and visitors can then click to enable the tutorial. As they complete the task, visitors see the instructions as pop-up notifications that display as they perform a task. “The user selects whatever they want to do, and immediately a balloon pops up and says ‘click here, fill this out,’ and walks them through the process,” Sweary said. Companies can customize different aspects of the Walk-Thru, from how they want it to appear on their site to which pages it appears on, and can customize it based on IP address to focus on visitors from specific locations (Sweary said some sites are using it to add support for additional languages).
Sweary said WalkMe is meant to supplement or replace help sections, how-to videos, and tutorials on websites. ”We want to be the de facto standard for service,” he said. “Online means self-service, and those companies who provide you those services, we want to give them tools to help them service you, so you can understand.” The company has seen the most interest from ecommerce sites and SaaS vendors, and current customers including project management tool Clarizen and Domino’s Pizza.
WalkMe offers a subscription-based model – the free account offers up to three tours, the basic paid account offers five Walk-Thrus, and the highest tier offers 15 Walk-Thrus, plus SSL support. Any extra Walk-Thrus are $10 each per month, regardless of the account. They also offer a custom-priced enterprise level account, which offers unlimited Walk-Thrus with additional features like API support.
The company offers a partner program for people who want to sell WalkMe to clients and resellers, as well as an affiliate program. They also offer a WalkMe Master program, which allows individuals to charge the company’s clients to create their Walk-Thrus for them. “It’s for people who are looking to make extra income, or are in the business of doing how-to videos, or they’re technical writers, or UI designers,” he said. WalkMe Masters have to be certified through the site, and can then either bring the company new clients, which gives them a percentage of each new membership, or create Walk-Thrus for existing clients at a price they set themselves.
Tools like GetSatisfaction and Zendesk are used by thousands of companies around the world to manage their online support, but they’re more focused on helping customers after the fact, rather than preemptively guiding them through tasks. And on-page live chat tools like Olark allow company representatives to help with real-time issues, but require a representative to manage those conversations. While WalkMe takes a different approach by offering a real-time help tool without the need for live company reps, it likely won’t eliminate all of a user’s questions. Without a live interaction feature companies will likely still need to have an online support community, support email or help section to address questions that go above and beyond the Walk-Thrus.