Home / Tech News / As product development incorporates more feedback, development toolkit productboard raises $8M

As product development incorporates more feedback, development toolkit productboard raises $8M

Since its debut on the TechCrunch Disrupt stage in September 2016, demand for a service like  productboard , which gives companies a wholistic view of product development and encourages input from across an organization, has only gotten more acute, according to company chief executive Hubert Palan. Now, with an $8 million commitment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers with participation from Index Ventures, Credo Ventures, Reflex Capital and Rockaway Capital, alongside a host of angel investors, the company is looking to expand its sales and marketing and product development efforts to bring the benefits of its toolkit to more companies. In the two years since TechCrunch last saw productboard, the company’s user base has grown significantly, from 100 customers in 2016 to over 1,200 companies today spanning a broad range of industries. For Palan, the company’s growing user base (which now includes medical device companies, academic publishers, and news organizations in addition to traditional digital product developers) is proof of a new demand in the market for more inputs around product design and development. “Every company is now a digital company,” Palan said. “So every company needs to worry about digital product design.” The company’s toolkit still includes features that allow it to hoover up information from customer support tickets, emails, input from sales teams and user research, to organize and prioritize features that need to be built. But now, the company’s services allow anyone in an organization (with the proper access) to provide feedback and track the process of product development. “Product Excellence is no longer optional,”said  productboard Palan, in a statement. “These days competitors arise in a matter of months, not years. Customer loyalty is declining and users will happily switch to a competing solution that offers a better product experience. It’s more critical than ever to get the right products to market faster.” As part of the financing, Kleiner Perkins’ new general partner, Ilya Fushman, will join the company’s board of directors. Fushman who was integral in locking down productboard’s seed financing when he was at Index Ventures, has a long product history from his time at dropbox, and is a welcome addition to the company’s board, Palan said. While Fushman’s imprimatur is one sign of the company’s viability, the investment from strategic angel investors like Intercom co-founders,  Eoghan McCabe and Des Traynor; Clark Valberg, the co-founder of InVision; and Larry Gadea, the founder of Envoy, is still another

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As product development incorporates more feedback, development toolkit productboard raises $8M

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YC-backed RevenueCat helps developers manage their in-app subscriptions

Startup founders don’t usually pitch their ideas by admitting that they’re fixing something “boring,” but it seems to work for RevenueCat ‘s Jacob Eiting. In fact, Eiting alternately described his startup (which is part of the current class at accelerator Y Combinator) as handling “boring work” and solving a “boring problem.” RevenueCat helps developers manage their in-app subscriptions, which Eiting said “is just boring — developers don’t want to do it.” And yet it can be crucial for their business. After all, Eiting and his co-founder Miguel Carranza both worked at brain training app Elevate (where Eiting was CTO and Carranza was director of engineering), and he said shifting Elevate’s business model from one-off purchases to recurring subscriptions “saved the company.” Eiting left Elevate more than a year ago, ultimately deciding to build a startup around “this weird skill I have.” RevenueCat offers an API that developers can use to support in-app subscriptions on iOS and Android, which means they don’t have to worry about all the nuances, bugs and updates in the way each platform handles subscriptions. Eiting said this is the kind of thing that “holds a lot of companies back — maybe not forever, but it’s usually at a time when a company shouldn’t be worrying about this.” The API also allows developers to bring all the data about their subscription business together in one place, across platforms. Ultimately, he wants to turn RevenueCat into a broader “revenue management platform,” allowing developers to try out strategies like offering different prices to different customer segments. More broadly, Eiting suggested that subscriptions offer a way out of the current “race to the bottom in how software is sold” — particularly in mobile app stores, where many of us expect everything to be free or dirt cheap. Obviously, that’s not a great situation for someone hoping to make money by selling software, but Eiting pointed out that it can be bad for the consumer too, because it means the developer has less reason to support and update the app. “Someone who pays for your 99-cent app once, they think they own your time,” he said. “You want to be helpful, you don’t want to let down a paid user, but your incentives aren’t really aligned.” Subscriptions, even if they’re just for 99 cents a month, can re-align those incentives — Eiting has described this as a system of app patronage : “You want this thing to stay working, you need to pony up some money to developers.” He also acknowledged that as more apps shift to this model, there’s a risk of subscription fatigue , which could lead to “maybe not a harsh backlash, but there might be a secondary correction.” But in Eiting’s view, that’s less a problem for individual developers and more for the mobile platforms. Those platforms, he said, should be building better tools for consumers to manage all their subscriptions in one place.

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