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Scaling a Fast Growth, Venture-Funded Company: Rafael Sweary, Co-Founder and President of WalkMe (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Apr 26th 2017

Sramana Mitra: What were you going to do with WalkMe?

Rafael Sweary: The initial plan was to sell it as a platform for guidance on top of any website. This is how we started. We saw that we had a nice revenue. We were growing, but we weren’t growing fast enough. We launched the product in April 2012. Initially, it had a nice growth curve, but eventually flatlined. We were recruiting new customers but it wasn’t at the pace that we were hoping for. In July 2013, we decided to pivot our business and start charging more.

We were charging $19 a month for a plan and trying to get it to any website on the planet. We said, “Let’s focus on the serious businesses.” Along the way, we understood where the real value is coming from. This is an approach that I would recommend any entrepreneur to do. We constantly had customers coming and saying, “We love your product.” We always responded with the same thing, “Tell us what you don’t like.” We still do it today. Whatever they say they don’t like, we go ahead and improve.

Sramana Mitra: Let me go back to the beginning when you started WalkMe. How did you validate the concept?

Rafael Sweary: We didn’t. We just jumped right in. It was more of a gut feel. We felt that this was something that’s going to be very helpful for people.

Sramana Mitra: You financed it yourself?

Rafael Sweary: Yes, we financed it ourselves but, later on, we got investment.

Sramana Mitra: How long did it take you to build an MVP or whatever is your first version with which you went to customers?

Rafael Sweary: A few months.

Sramana Mitra: What was the process of getting your first customers? What kinds of customers did you go after? Who responded positively?

Rafael Sweary: As soon as we had the initial product, we started dialing. people who we know have websites. We just said, “This is something that we have been working on. Is this something you could use?”

Sramana Mitra: Just random people with websites? There was no other thought in what kind of companies you wanted?

Rafael Sweary: No. I wish I could tell you that there was a lot of thought, but there wasn’t. We were just calling.

Sramana Mitra: Were you calling customers in Israel?

Rafael Sweary: It wasn’t customers. They were people we know.

Sramana Mitra: I see. People you know.

Rafael Sweary: In this process, we also went to talk to investors. Those investors referred us to their portfolio companies to see what the portfolio companies are thinking about it. Some of them started buying. When we came up with the concept, the initial user feedback was very encouraging. Everybody said, “Wow! That makes sense.” The feedback was very good very early on.

Sramana Mitra: What were you pricing the product at?

Rafael Sweary: We were pricing at a few dollars – less than $100 a month per website. It was depending on how many walk-throughs you’ve built and how many assists.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Scaling a Fast Growth, Venture-Funded Company: Rafael Sweary, Co-Founder and President of WalkMe
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