While companies have vigorously developed software-as-a-service offerings, it’s not so easy to get those new offerings to work seamlessly from the start, with some business customers feeling forgotten as soon as digital ink Used to be. dries up.
Enter a 10-month-old startup onboard, which aims to help SaaS businesses appease the new customers they serve rather than shut them down.
The company was founded by Jeff Epstein, who launched the first referral marketing and affiliate marketing software company Ambassador, which sold out in 2018, eight years after it was founded.
The terms of sale to West Corporation – now Intrado – were never disclosed, but Epstein says it was a “good result” for shareholders. (Ambassador was sold again last month to a small Seattle company.)
Epstein simplifies the process for how onboard works. “You determine the variables of your customer segment, because different types of plans may mean companies need to do something different.” (They could use an API or some code snippet for example.) After that, Onboard SaaS works with the company to create a global to-do list with requirements that are expected to take away from the sales process. Is gone, and it helps to create a kind of dynamic. Drop-down task list with assignment and due dates and alerts and notifications.
It is largely a self-service product that makes accountability more transparent, ultimately, although Epstein describes the onboarding process as a “shared responsibility” between his company and its customers. He also said that his nascent startup is already working on creating a more sophisticated notification layer with automated numbers that are not yet obnoxious.
The five-man company is not charging dozens of its beta customers right now. Epstein says it wants to get the product right before turning it into revenue gear. The plan is ultimately to charge the types of customers that are medium-sized companies – hundreds of dollars a month, plus a per-person per month fee. (“We don’t plan on being venture-y by any means,” says Epstein of the company, which has to terminate long contracts.)
The ship is not without competitors. In contrast, a lot of upstarts have sprung up around this problematic slice of the enterprise universe. This is a growing period for many new customers, brought to the attention of Epstein by one of its co-founders, William Stevenson, who spent four years as VP of Ambassador for Customer Success, where, among other companies Like a lot of people in his position, he was sometimes trying to offer a less-than-ideal patchwork from Mondays or Asan or Baskamp or Google Docs.
It was the same problem that Jonathan Triest of Ludlow Ventures – whose firm quietly led a $ 1.25 million seed round to onboard in late summer, joined by Zelkova Ventures and Detroit Venture Partners – says he knows well is.
“Repeatedly in our portfolio, especially in B2B SaaS sales,” Ludlow’s portfolio companies have been “forced to piece together solutions or use tools built for them,” Says Trist.
The question is whether Onboard can gain a foothold compared to some of its other rivals, and surprisingly, Epstein believes his team has what it takes to start. (The third founder, Matt Majuski, recently left the ambassador to help the company gain momentum.)
Epstein’s résumé is also helping, he says. As a founder in Detroit who sold a company he is known to local investors, and then some. (“We were able to grow a big fish in a small pond,” he says.)
Epstein also says investors realize that “there is usually an opportunity in the space,” adding “partners.” [from venture firms] Are calling – not affiliates – and they are coming through third-party connections on LinkedIn in some cases. “
He has “clearly raised a bit of money” in the past, Epstein says, but he hasn’t seen anything like it. “It’s weird,” he says, “but calm.”