On May 12th, after three months in private beta, we made LaunchNotes generally available. As is the case when you introduce anything for the first time, Tony, Jake, and I weren’t sure what was going to happen. You don’t quit your job and start a company unless you believe you’re serving up a solid solution to a real problem, but regardless, releasing anything publicly for the first time is always nerve-racking.
Over the next 24 hours we watched as more than 300 people signed up to try LaunchNotes. While this number was exciting, what was more exciting to us was that the majority of these users were activating and engaging with the product. We saw companies of every shape and size, spanning almost every industry, sign up from all over the world. Organizations from early stage startups, to Fortune 500, and everything in between. A healthcare firm in Auckland, an e-commerce startup in Dubai, a construction giant in Raleigh-Durham, a Fintech unicorn in London, a collaboration SaaS company in the Bay. The list went on.
It appeared we’d struck a chord with a wide swath of teams building software. But what specific problem had brought each of these organizations to our doorstep? The three of us spent the next 30 days talking to as many evaluators as possible trying to find the answer to this question. A month and more than 50 calls later, we were amazed at how similar their stories were — no matter whom we were speaking with or how big their organization was, the frustration we heard was consistent.
The best case scenario, which we heard from Product Marketers, Content Designers, Sales Associates, and even Executives, was something to the effect of: “I never really know what’s shipping when... without bugging someone in engineering.” And in the worst case scenario, which came from a Customer Support Team Lead: “My team continues to hear about new features from our users, and it’s completely unsustainable.” Moreover, when we dug into how teams were trying to solve this problem today, the answers were also remarkably similar: some messy mixture of email, Google Docs, spreadsheets, expensive bi-weekly roadmap meetings, and a ‘releases’ Slack channel that everyone muted because it was too noisy.
In short, each conversation reaffirmed our initial LaunchNotes thesis — one we’d formed following years of similar conversations while at Statuspage and Atlassian — that the majority of non-technical teams are completely out of sync with their businesses’ product development process and release pipeline. It was also clear that this problem is rapidly getting worse, not better.
So today, on the back of a steadily growing user base and three months of customer learnings, we’re more committed than ever to our mission of bridging the communication gap between technical and non-technical teams. And to help us do that, we’re thrilled to announce:
One of the themes communicated during our conversations with these evaluators — in addition to the need for better communication between internal teams — was the distinct need to find a simpler and more efficient way of communicating product updates and release comms externally to their customers and end users. The Product Managers and Product Marketers we spoke with shared that their only channel to reach users now was email, and that it was a pain to use since each outreach involved pulling a segmented list, designing and building a targeted email, and then fighting to have their email prioritized among 10 other customer-facing communications scheduled for that week. And by the time all of these things actually happened, they'd usually missed their prime promotion window.
We took this feedback to heart and have decided to make LaunchNotes' core external communication platform 100% free. Beginning today, we’re removing all subscriber limits, bundling in our new embeddable pop-up widget, and even giving teams more control over the look and feel of their public release streams. All for free. We founded LaunchNotes with a belief that the future of software delivery is transparent. No one should ever be surprised by any product change — rather, all users should know what’s coming down the pike and be eagerly waiting to give it a try. With this announcement, we hope we’re one step closer to that reality.
Over 100 companies — from early stage startups to some of the most recognized names in tech — are already leveraging LaunchNotes to keep their customers ahead of, and excited about, each and every release. To join Loom and 100+ organizations using LaunchNotes for external release communication, sign up for our new Basic plan today.
As the value of LaunchNotes has been reaffirmed by our customers over these past few months, so too has our interest in finding partners who can help accelerate the rate at which we can help solve these problems.
As such, today we’re excited to announce our $1.8M seed round, co-led by Cowboy Ventures and Bull City Venture Partners!
Beyond their names having a common western theme (believe it or not, despite our love of the West, this wasn’t something we actively screened for), Cowboy and Bull City share a number of qualities that made both teams feel like one of ours from the get-go, and we’re thrilled to officially welcome both to the LaunchNotes team. With their strong focus on partnering with product-led companies, shared and infectious “roll-up-the-sleeves and get it done” attitude, and enormously strong track records of success in the B2B SaaS space, Tony, Jake, and I are thrilled and humbled to have their investment and support.
We are further delighted to have Tim Chen (General Partner, Essence Ventures), Eric Wittman (Chief Growth Officer, JLL Technologies), Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan (VP Product, LinkedIn), Scot Wingo (Co-Founder & CEO, Spiffy), Lin-Hua Wu (Chief Communications Officer, Dropbox), and Steve Klein (Co-Founder, Statuspage) participating in our seed round. Each of these investors has an impressive resumé in B2B SaaS, brings a firsthand understanding of what it takes to build and scale successful businesses, and shares our passion for bridging the communication divide between technical and non-technical teams. On behalf of the entire LaunchNotes team, a very warm welcome to all.
With the partnership of this experienced group, we’ve never been more confident in our ability to build out a world-class team, accelerate LaunchNotes’ growth, and capitalize on the enormous opportunity to keep businesses everywhere in sync with their release pipeline and delivering exceptional experiences for their customers, each and every day.
While today is the start of an exciting new chapter in the LaunchNotes story, we also know it’s another single step in a very long journey — one we’re thrilled to be travelling with our growing team, our amazing users, and, now, a stellar group of investors.
Finally, a special thank you to each of our early customers. We are grateful to each of you for trusting us with your business and release communications, and for joining us so early on this adventure. We couldn’t have gotten to this next chapter without you and will never let you down.
Tyler, Tony, & Jake
PS: We’re hiring! If you’re a Senior Product Designer or a Senior Software Engineer passionate about the collaboration and developer tools space and interested in working for a fast-paced, customer-obsessed company, we’d love to hear from you: hey [at] launchnotes.io
Struggling to keep your teams in sync ahead of big releases? Spending half your day answering the same questions about what's shipping when? Hearing about new features from your users? LaunchNotes can help.
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