Putting customers first: Parlay founder story
Most product development teams think they know what their customers want. Keith Frankel thinks that they're wrong. That's why he and two ...
Every month, software companies spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars updating and building product features. In general, the smaller the company, the more it spends on product development, with the fastest growing teams currently spending on average around 44% of their entire budget each year on product updates.
Despite this significant investment, most teams have no idea what the impact of their expensive product updates will be until after they've already built them. Why?
When was the last time a designer or developer from a product you use contacted you and asked for your say in the direction of new or existing features? For most, the answer is never. That's because rather than talking to customers directly, nearly everything software teams know about their users wants and needs are either gained indirectly (through passive observation rather than active communication) or from another team at the company (such as through the sales process or incoming customer support tickets). Because of this, the information software teams use as a basis for ongoing software development is often inaccurate, unclear, biased, or simply not actionable.
The result: a whole lot of expensive and time-consuming duds.
The Solution: Parlay.
Parlay dramatically transforms how companies engage their customers in order to build better products. Through Parlay, teams can engage their customers in a far more proactive and personal manner, giving both sides the tools they need to share new ideas, review potential product updates, validate the impact of future efforts, and dramatically de-risk the cost of new feature development – all before they write a single line of code. In short, Parlay allows software teams to treat the people using their products not just as a bunch of paying customers, but rather as an army of potential collaborators.
How it Works:
Parlay lets teams accurately determine the impact of potential new features long before they spend the precious time and money building them – all thanks to their users.
Parlay fundamentally transforms how teams effectively identify, engage, and collaborate with users. The result: better products and better relationships – at a fraction of the cost.
Parlay launched its open beta on April 26, 2018. We will provide updates here as we onboard companies and transition out of beta in the coming weeks. Separately, Parlay has been covered by multiple media outlets, received positive reactions from some of the industry's most notable people and companies, and – out of more than 1000 startups – is in the top 10 in Collision Conference's pitch competition – America's fastest growing tech conference. The final pitch event takes place in New Orleans on May 2, 2018.
Parlay's market is substantial and only getting bigger, with potential customers including all global digital product companies and professionals. Today, software revenues are in the range of $600B annually, and expected to grow by more than 60% over the next 10 years. Every single one of these businesses is a potential customer. Even if Parlay captures only 1% of the market, it's still a multi-billion dollar opportunity.
In the near term, though, Parlay is focused on 3 target markets:
At launch, we expect the average monthly subscription to Parlay to be $50 for the SMB market, our largest initial potential customer base. This mirrors base pricing for similarly sized and positioned companies in our space, and the familiarity will help us avoid sticker shock while still monetizing in a manner which will allow for future upsell. We will offer two payment options: on a monthly recurring basis, or an annual subscription paid up front in exchange for a 10% discount on the monthly price.
We support multiple pricing tiers depending on the size and maturity of the customer. Initially, we will support 3 tiers: 'Early Stage', 'Team', and 'Enterprise'. Tiers will differ by included functionality, in particular by the number of simultaneously allowed active previews and the number of connected products or apps. We will segment 'Team' and 'Enterprise' pricing according to a threshold of Monthly Active Users, meaning the number of customers Parlay's customer has. Over time, we will continue to differentiate these pricing tiers by including new functionality in only the higher priced tiers.
While we believe Parlay is a powerful tool for digital product teams today, we believe its value will grow exponentially over the next few years.
$25,000 – $800,000
Parlay needs to raise $25K before the deadline for the campaign to be successful. Maximum amount Parlay will raise is $800K.
Parlay needs to reach their minimum funding goal before the deadline for the campaign to be successful.
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A huge thank you from us, roughly 3 years of heartfelt gratitude, plus a spot in Parlay's inaugural Rock, Paper, Scissors global tournament (seriously... games are best of 7).
1 year of access to Parlay's 'Team' membership level, plus the above.
An 'Investor' profile badge inside of Parlay, unique investor-level Parlay merchandise, plus all of the above.
A unique spot on Parlay's website as a 'Founding Partner', hands-on Parlay implementation, 1-hour product audit from the Parlay team, plus all of the above.
Lifetime Parlay 'Team'-level membership, 2 hour in-person workshop with our CEO Keith (travel not included), plus all of the above.
Invitation to participate in Parlay's next board member weekend retreat in St. Louis (travel not included), plus all of the above.
A custom interactive demo for your site or product (similar to Parlay's at try.parlay.ai), plus all of the above.
Parlay takes a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, charging customers a monthly or annual subscription fee in exchange for access to the platform. We have multiple pricing tiers depending on the size and needs of the customer, but all of our current prices will increase over time as we transition out of beta and continue to increase the robustness of Parlay's functionality.
We will eventually. In fact, we have already received offers from more than one party. However, at this time the most important thing we can be doing as a company is working to get as many eyes on Parlay as possible. So while we could raise strictly from familiar angels, we believe there is exponentially more value to be had by pursuing an equity crowdfunding campaign. In short, if we raise from angels we already know, we've expanded our reach by 0. However, if we raise from a broader network of individuals, then we've instantly expanded our community to include dozens or even hundreds of potential customers, partners, employees, and evangelists. A win, win.
Our team. Not only have Parlay's founders worked closely together for years – culminating in an acquisition of our previous company – but we cover all of the core functional skills needed (product, engineering, & marketing/sales), have tested and refined the ideas behind Parlay over a period of 2 years, and have close relationships with individuals and communities in the industry which will be critically important in helping legitimize us quickly in the market.
Yes. We have big plans for Parlay, with many features in the works which we believe will fundamentally improve the way product teams interact with their users and ultimately build better products. We will increase our prices (and/or introduce new pricing tiers) as we expand Parlay in ways which will unlock substantial new value for our partners.
Yes. We have a very important integration with InVision, arguably the leader in our industry with roughly 3 million users. We also integrate with the majority of the most popular design-focused platforms on the market, including Dribbble, Marvel, Balsamiq, and Figma. We are in active talks to integrate with other platforms – including customer support and analytics products – and will announce those here as they are completed.
Previous experience. I am a strong believer in repeat entrepreneurship.Richard WightInvested about 12 hours ago
Addresses an overlooked area every single software company faces today. Helping users see potential changes within context of existing UX has potential to return much richer insight much quicker vs today's hilariously disjointed process.Kevin TsangInvested 1 day ago
I think Parlay has a huge potential!Giancarlo CasaretoInvested 12 days ago
It's a great idea!! To connect the "need" of people to the help innovators to improve on the product, so that they can easily customize and development the "ideal" product....Parth ChopraInvested 15 days ago
Ten years of product development experience inside large enterprise - could have used a turnkey tool like this. (make sure, if you haven't already, to check into firewall issues for certain types of orgs).Grant KaleyInvested 20 days ago
I love the product, believe in the team, and am awesome at rock paper scissors. Go Parlay!Michael ZanoniInvested 26 days ago
I invested in the people. It is a really interesting idea but the energy and drive of Keith and his team will make it a winner.Charles McGonagleInvested about 1 month ago
Parlay seems smartly positioned.Daniel LuzarragaInvested about 1 month ago
I like the idea. I believe Parlay has the potential to become the next big software platformHenry VanteInvested about 1 month ago
The team will take the product everywhereUtpal DoshiInvested about 1 month ago
Interesting approach to solving an important problem in software development. And, Jason Zopf is a very smart and primo quality guy!!Richard HardingInvested about 1 month ago
The idea and description sound promisingMikhail SidakovInvested about 1 month ago
The product seems like a good idea.Jamal JacksonInvested about 2 months ago
Nice idea and good foundersTan Quan NguyenInvested about 2 months ago
The team has a lot of experience at startups that have been VC backed, acquired, or taken to IPO. Parlay is a great product, but the best part is they have a team that can execute and who will not quit when the going gets tough.Alan AsperaInvested about 2 months ago
I trust Jason.Thomas FulfordInvested 2 months ago
I simply was blown away by the quality of their marketing material and product walkthrough. Moreover, user-feedback & roadmap-planning in SaaS is a space I'm naturally heavily interested in!Michael KamleitnerInvested 2 months ago
Good team and product (so far). Large, growing market. Design first approach w/ design chops. Seems like they'll build a good culture.Wes WagnerInvested 2 months ago
Great TEAM that I can TRUSTCarlos Fong XiaoInvested 2 months ago
I Invested because I see the value of getting feedback for small software/ app companies to improve their product quickly.Gary DavisInvested 2 months ago
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