Software Enabling Product-Led Growth
Intalayer’s software solves for the effective communication between the technically minded product development teams and client-facing customer support teams. Their unique approach is to support the workflow of both teams and convert customer feedback into impact metrics that the product development teams can easily understand and prioritise.
The founding team is well-rounded across product, engineering and marketing. This includes previous startup experience.
They are currently in beta with 5 live clients. This includes overseas clients in North America where they are in the process of closing more deals. This indicates the global appeal of their solution.
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What do companies like Zoom, Slack and Atlassian have in common? The answer is that they are all product-led companies.
Product-led growth is one of the fastest-growing trends in software companies due to the success and rapid growth of Zoom, Slack etc. A key feature of product-led companies is that the customer experience with the product itself is the primary means of user acquisition and growth.
Product development is a critical part of these businesses as deciding on the right features or functionality can determine success or failure.
Client feedback should be a key input into this process since it is the users themselves that are driving a large proportion of the growth.
As such, effective communication between the product development or engineering and client-facing customer support or sales team is a high priority. This is where Intalayer comes in.
Intalayer is an operation platform for product-led companies. It was founded in early 2020. The founding team seems well rounded across product (Dain Welsman), engineering (Dr Ian Glass) and growth marketing (Michael Wendland).
Dain had previously founded 3 startups as well as having a career in product management. Dain’s career in product management roles involved both early stage (Macrovue) and larger companies (Domain) where he found the same underlying problem.
This being the lack of effective communication between the technically minded product development functions and the client-facing sales and customer support functions.
From my own investment experience, I believe the people aspect of coordinating these functions is a real pain point. There can be significant consequences in getting this wrong including cost blow-outs and lost clients.
Dain met his co-founders during an Antler accelerator program in Sydney. The Antler Program introduced structure and mentorship around building as well as validating the idea with real customers. Dain has actually written an article detailing his experience there (From 0 to 1: my path to founding a startup with Antler). I found this to be a great read which gave real insight into the founding of the business.
Both Michael and Ian had seen similar problems during their careers and connected with the problem. Dain’s article illustrated how the three of them bonded over a high time pressure environment to get the idea off the ground and successfully secure initial funding from Antler.
Their unique insight into the problem is the realization that it was the intersection of these teams that mattered. This means supporting the workflow of both the customer support teams as well as the product development teams.
Intalayer does this by integrating the tools already being used by their client’s customer support and product development teams. These include Zendesk, Jira and CRM tools. The result is seamless workflow and transparency between the different teams despite using different tools.
Intalayer then uses machine learning to automate the collation of customer feedback and subsequently convert this into impact metrics (eg Monthly Recurring Revenue impact) which the product development team’s prioritisation decisions are based on.
The key to this process is that both teams now have a common language to communicate customer priorities. This gives the customer a direct voice into the product development process.
Leading software companies such as Facebook and Uber spend millions of dollars on dedicated staff to solve these inefficiencies. Intalayer’s solution automates this process and makes the benefits of product-led growth more affordable and accessible to younger companies.
The founder’s own research and customer feedback indicates that Intalayer could save customer support and success teams tens of hours per week and product managers 20% of their time.
They believe there will be 3.7m potential customers which could use Intalayer by 2027. This would represent a $17bn opportunity.
Intalayer is currently in Beta with 5 clients including SasS businesses in North America and Europe.
Interestingly, they are seeing significant interest in North America and are in the process of closing additional Beta customers. This demonstrates the global appeal of their solution.
My conversation with Michael indicates they are looking to achieve a largely self-serviced sales process. Additionally, their users (Customer Support Team Managers) themselves are likely to be advocates of Intalayer given that it makes their job a lot easier rather than just more efficient. I.e helps them get the product development team to listen to them. These factors mean Intalayer itself has the potential to be a product-led growth company.
While still at an early stage, Intalayer has a well-rounded founding team with good empathy for the problem, growing global customer traction and sizable markets to grow into.