Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a very appealing business model: customers who purchase their product pay you a monthly fee to use it, with the possibility of increased revenues in the future if they add customers, expand the use of your software program throughout the company, or subscribe for additional instruments and providers. That’s the theory, at least. In practice, an increasing number of SaaS firms are concerned that onboarding difficulties are getting in the way of their growth; customers who are frustrated with the onboarding process are less likely to stick with the product, much alone start paying more.
Rocketlane was founded to solve this issue, according to CEO and co-founder Srikrishnan Ganesan. The company, which bills itself as a “purpose-built buyer onboarding platform,” has now announced the completion of an $18 million Series A funding round. Only seven months after its initial round, the financing round earned $3 million from investors.
After a spell running their own SaaS company, Ganesan and his colleagues founded the company in April 2020. “We were having a lot of success, selling to big prospects all over the world,” Ganesan recalls, “but we found it extremely difficult to keep track of onboarding.” “We had little or no insight into how our customers felt, and we were afraid we were dealing with ‘watermelon’ difficulties — situations that seemed green on the outside but were pink on the inside.”
After speaking with buyers and colleagues throughout the company, Ganesan and his co-founders, Vignesh Girishankar and Deepak Balasubramanyam, realized they weren’t the only ones concerned by the onboarding issue. In any event, the longer it takes to convince customers to start using products effectively, the longer it takes to turn a transaction into genuine value. And prospects experiencing problems at this level are significantly less likely to become enthusiastic users and consumers of the product across their organization.
The list of roadblocks to a successful SaaS adoption is long, and it requires close cooperation. Ganesan points out that onboarding is a deceptively complicated line of action. It necessitates SaaS providers work closely with clients to understand how the product will integrate with their existing programs; users must be set up on the software – and instructed on how to use it effectively; data must be moved. Yet, most providers manage the onboarding process with manual spreadsheets and ad hoc communication tactics.
“Depending on how you handle onboarding, your relationship with a customer might get off to a great start or a bad one,” Ganesan says. “And it’s becoming more and more of a point of distinction — many SaaS providers offer amazing products, but prospects also want to understand the onboarding approach before committing.”
Rocketlane promises to help SaaS providers get there. The platform brings together a specific collection of project management and communication tools in one place to allow SaaS providers to onboard businesses more quickly and efficiently. Sales teams may utilize the platform to create a customized onboarding plan for prospects, which onboarding teams can carry out. “It would help them close more deals faster, reduce time to value, and increase staff productivity,” Ganesan promises.
The signs point to a positive outcome. Rocketlane has built a community of 1,200 SaaS experts that exchange ideas on onboarding, deployment, and customer service. When it first launched its platform in June, the company purposefully offered a full-service model, and it has since picked up prospects. Delhivery, LinkSquares, and Chargebee are among the early adopters.
One advantage for the company, according to Ganesan, is that its platform appeals to a wide range of SaaS providers. Small, early-stage businesses may utilize their services to build trust with new customers by providing a clear onboarding strategy with a complexity that belies their status as a startup. On the other hand, the most significant SaaS providers, who are often dealing with many complex onboarding procedures at the same time, will find their burden to be much easier to manage.
Traders have been pleased by the pitch. Nexus Ventures and Matrix Partners contributed to its initial investment round last summer. Each has increased their stakes in the Sequence Aspherical, which was launched this week and is overseen by the know-how financing firm 8VC. “Rocketlane has ventured to provide a recent fresh perspective to service this class,” says Bhaskar Ghosh, an 8VC colleague. “They’ve shown stunning execution in delivering a thoughtful and extensible solution that’s gaining traction quickly.”
Ganesan emphasizes raising awareness and educating prospects in a completely new market segment. The funds will be used for sales and marketing, with Rocketplane hoping to establish a presence in important regions throughout the world and continued product development.