In the realm of apps, user onboarding has been a long-standing and persistent difficulty. Developers must contend with design and technical constraints; publishers and users may have different priorities when it comes to engaging with a service; the content of those services is constantly changing; and, perhaps most importantly, people are all different, and their app experiences will be as well. Appcues, a firm that uses technology to discover onboarding issues and then provides low-code, non-technical solutions to quickly resolve them, has raised $32.1 million in a Series B financing. The funding demonstrates not only the market’s appetite for further tools to address all of this but also Appcues’ success in doing so.
“Now, more than ever, product experience is critical.”However, getting something live in your product can still take weeks,” said Jackson Noel, co-founder, and CEO of Appcues, in a statement. Customers can receive insights and user onboarding fixes in hours, according to the company. NewSpring is leading the Series B round, which also includes new backer Columbia Partners, as well as prior investors Sierra Ventures and Accomplice. Appcues, based in Boston, intends to use the funds to grow abroad and develop new products. To date, it has raised little under $48 million. The estimated value is between $200 million and $300 million, according to our sources.
The funding coincides with a period of rapid expansion. Freshworks, FullStory, Lyft, Zapier, Kaplan, Hopin, Pluralsight, and Vidyard are among Appcues’ 1,500 customers, and the company claims that its cloud-based platform has offered nearly 2 billion experiences to over 200 million consumers. Appcues has been around since 2014; when it began as a SaaS toolkit for marketers to quickly generate prompts on websites without having to involve developers, with a focus on user onboarding flows.
The company’s product now includes flows to improve feature adoption, nudge people to take feedback surveys, and encourage visitors to read announcements, but it is still based on the same idea: giving non-technical people the ability to create dialogues to improve the way their digital interfaces work. The method begins with an SDK, which can integrate via Segment or placed as a line in an app’s coding. This keeps track of what happens on the site and serves as the foundation for how it functions.
Noel remarked in an interview that the SDK is crucial to how Appcues works: “It feels like a native extension, not an external program.” “Our goal is to double down in that area and assist our users in creating the finest product experiences possible.” This, he added, sets it apart from competitors in the same industry that might focus on app flows, employee training, or anything else. Users of Appcues — whether they’re UX designers, product managers, interactive marketers, or yes, developers — can now access this data via a Chrome extension to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t on their applications or sites, and to start building new events or flows in response.
Depending on where a person enters an app or how they already use it, multiple flows and events can be built for different subsets of users. Users can then monitor how effectively these new flows and events are performing and make any necessary changes or additions. Not only do people have shorter attention spans for things that don’t work (we are all spoiled for choice when it comes to digital services), but companies are working with increasing complexity and putting a lot of eggs in their digital baskets, which are often the only platforms used to engage with customers.
Making a mistake here can make or break a firm in ways that were not possible before. It is no surprise that many companies are developing technologies to address this and that doing so can be lucrative. Others include WalkMe (which is currently public), Pendo (which is also on the verge of going public), Whatfix (which focuses on internal user onboarding), and many more. Appcues’ toolset is remarkable for two things: one, it’s geared towards non-technical people; and two, it focuses on analytics, which both helps users of its app get a better sense of what difficulties there might be, and for whom; and two, it identifies whether their attempts to remedy it are effective… or not.