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Announcing our fundraise: Betafi empowers companies to build products that users will love

Arjun Arora and Ethan Sherbondy
November 17, 2022
Arjun Arora and Ethan Sherbondy
Announcing our fundraise: Betafi empowers companies to build products that users will love

At Betafi, our mission is to equip companies with the toolkit to build delightful products from the get-go. We do this by helping them integrate user research into product development from ideation to production.

It's been exciting to build Betafi with insights gathered from experienced user researchers, designers, and founders in the last year. We've come a long way from a tool that helped you take timestamped notes to a platform that powers feedback loops throughout your product development process and integrates tightly with Figma, Miro, and Zoom.

We want to make user research quick, collaborative, useful, and the norm in the product development process. So that it no longer lies overlooked in reports, but contributes to making key product decisions.

Why did we pick this mission, and what does the future look like for Betafi? That's what we want to talk about today.

Raising our pre-seed round to build a world-class product

Founders starting businesses increasingly understand that they can no longer wait to launch their product before they start listening to their customers. Even in the early days your product needs to solve real user problems. We are excited to share that we have raised our pre-seed round of $1.3 million from a team of builders who appreciate the need to bring user research mainstream. The round was led by Together Fund with participation from Entrepreneur First and Titan Capital. We are stoked to have angels like Hooked author Nir Eyal and founders from leading companies like Razorpay, Pine Labs, Snapdeal, and Livspace backing us in our journey.

We will use the funds to fuel the continued development of our next-generation user research product and cultivate an engaged research community.

Not meeting customer needs among the top reasons products fail

According to a report by CB Insights, five out of the top ten reasons for startup failure were related to customers – not meeting customers’ needs, not listening to them, or even ignoring them. Only 0.5% of products launched succeed, and about 71% of users churn after 90 days of using the product.

By ignoring user research, companies end up choosing the wrong features to build that users either don't want or don't know how to use. Misinformed product direction and gaps in the user journey cause technical debt. This leads to wasting time and resources down the line. 

A report by the Systems Sciences Institute at IBM suggests that fixing defects found during implementation is 6X costlier than fixing these gaps identified during design. It can become 15X costlier if an issue is found in the testing phase vs. the design phase.

There's a lot to lose without user research.

But there's a lack of mindset and tools for user research 

While most people agree with the common-sense notion that we should know about the people for whom we build products, many think they already empathize with the users and their needs just because they've "put themselves in the shoes of the user."

User empathy is a core basis for building products that align with user needs. It's about living through the user's experience of using the product and understanding what it feels like to be on their side.

Then why don't people do user research? We think there are three main reasons for that:

It's time consuming and manual

“We don’t have the time or money for thorough user research” is one of the common refrains we hear. This is like choosing a shorter and more risky path toward uncertainty instead of slowly walking in the right direction.

The time crunch is further intensified by pressure on stakeholders to ship products on tight schedules. So they dismiss validating the solutions they are pushing for and “hope” that their intuition about what they are building turns out to be right.

Too many tools make for a disjointed process

It typically takes anywhere between 3-5 tools to conduct a user research session, and that makes focusing on the user extremely challenging. People have to stitch up multiple tools to do a single research call. There's Zoom, your notepad, a doc for your questions, a screen for your prototype, and whatnot.

After the session, there is a recorded Zoom video, a Google Doc with notes and nothing that ties them together. Folks prefer to do synthesis on a tool like Miro or FigJam, but it takes a lot of time to transport information. Product teams need a tool that can help them manage the end-to-end research process right, from set-up to doing calls to synthesis. 

Insights stay trapped in research reports

Reading individual notes, and highlighting key insights, attaching enough context to each insight is a grinding, seemingly endless process. There is a deliverable at the end of a research study, but often it does not lead to actionable outcomes on the product. It is difficult to translate the voice of a customer in a PDF or PPT report, and insights don’t emerge organically at the end of the process. 
User research should be a collaborative process between the researcher and the larger product team. The insights should not sit in reports that are never used.

The Betafi Team that brought Betafi from an idea to our very first public launch 

Time for research to be Figma-fied

Research is still perceived as a slow, resource-intensive and specialized process. And that’s what got us excited as we both had experienced similar issues in our past lives while working at Singtel and Stripe respectively.

We want Betafi to transform research beyond the researcher, just as Figma did for design. We want to make the user research process fast, collaborative and actionable. So, it no longer lays forgotten in reports but gets a proper seat at the product decision table.

"User research is still a manual process and involves a fair amount of logistics. We want to take the busy work out of the process so you focus on what’s truly important - uncovering insights. Ultimately, we really want UX research to be as ubiquitous as software testing is today.” said Arjun, Co-Founder, Betafi

Betafi supports both user interviews to validate concepts and usability tests to get feedback on designs, beta software, and websites in-progress. Our goal is to help you build the right product from the start to avoid expensive engineering rework down the road.

Betafi helps you quickly go from conversations to action 

Betafi fills the gaps in conducting smooth user research by enabling people to host customer interviews, take timestamped notes, create short clips, share the key highlights with their teams, and expedite synthesis by exporting notes and clips to Miro or CSV. You can also automate reporting and analytics to make synthesis faster.

…but we need to be embedded in the product development workflow 

While we wanted to build an all-in-one tool for user research, we realized early that Betafi needs to work with the product and project management tools already out there. That’s why we have prioritized integrations as a core tenet of building Betafi: with Figma if you are doing usability tests, with Zoom if you are doing user interviews. You can also bring the notes and clips from Betafi to your Miro board to collaborate on synthesis with your team.

“Integrations will remain a key part of our product strategy, as we want our users to effortlessly bring feedback collected from Betafi into all the assorted tools they use at the different stages of the product life cycle.” said Ethan, Co-founder, Betafi

“Opening the Beta”

After building over the past year, we did our first public launch on Product Hunt at the end of September.

Since we “Opened the Beta,” over 1,000 users have conducted 1500+ hours of user interviews and usability test studies on the platform. Users have shared that Betafi helped reduce the time spent on conducting research by 30%, but more importantly made customer conversations enjoyable.

Dogfooding, co-creating, and the future

We have used Betafi to build Betafi, conducting over 300 User Interviews with our pilot users. Co-creating with our early users has helped us prioritize the really important features but also made us realize the difficulty in conducting and making sense of user interviews. We appreciate the time it takes, the difficulty in converting notes during conversations to insights after sessions, and we continue to rapidly improve the product. As Rishabh, co-founder of Data Narratives and one of our early champions, shares, “Betafi has helped us reduce the number of iterations needed to get a feature right.”

We are grateful to our founding team and early customers, and would not be here without them. We are just getting started, with a ton of cool improvements lined up across more integrations (Google Meet and FigJam, anyone?), a more automated synthesis workflow, and an extension-free desktop usability testing experience.

 Betafi Team at the company offsite in Bali, June 2022

We are excited to build the future of user research with you. To check out Betafi, you can sign up here for free. If you already have an account, log in here, and start gathering insights from your customers.

If you want to share your feedback, write to us anytime at hello@betafi.co. Betafi is a user research platform that empowers everyone from solo founders to large teams to test their ideas and prototypes, so they build products powered with real user insights, not blind intuition.

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