How Stytch scaled the customer conversation with LaunchNotes

Blake Thorne
|
June 21, 2022

Stytch is one of the hottest startups in the software development space right now. In less than two years, the company has scaled to unicorn status backed by a revolutionary product, three impressive funding rounds, and thousands of developers using the platform.

This seemingly overnight success story didn’t happen by accident. Behind every successful startup is of course a great team building a great product.

But there’s another factor the Stytch team credits with aiding their explosive growth: strategically deploying LaunchNotes to communicate product updates early and often, allowing targeted audiences to consume updates in their channel of choice.

About Stytch: A startup rocket ship bringing user authentication ‘out of the 1990s.’

Stytch builds tools and infrastructure for developers to incorporate passwordless authentication flows into modern applications. The team’s API-first approach to passwordless authentication allows its customers to enjoy better security while also delivering frictionless user experiences.

“It struck us that the web has improved in so many ways over the past few decades, but authentication is still stuck in the 1990s,” Founder and CTO Julianna Lamb told TechCrunch.

The co-founders, Reed McGinley-Stempel and Julianna Lamb, frustrated by a lack of modern, startup focused tools for building great authentication experiences, raised a $6 million seed round in the summer of 2020 and quickly got to work building out their product.

Stytch’s LaunchNotes page

The problem: How to use a GA launch to accelerate new signups while continuing to increase engagement with current customers

If seed funding is to support heads-down product building, the Series A is all about getting that product into the hands of as many users as possible.

This was the position Stytch found themselves in by July 2021. With a great product and $30M of fresh Series A capital in the bank, the young company faced a critical question: how to launch out of stealth mode and drive signups? They had a bunch of email addresses from potential early adopters, but no platform for communicating with them.

“We had no other way of communicating with users,” said Spyri Karasavva, who leads Growth at Stytch.

So the team went looking for a solution.

Spyri and her colleagues knew their product would continue to evolve at a rapid clip. So simply getting the word out once wasn’t enough—they needed a single platform to continuously communicate with users and share updates. They also needed a place to let their early adopters know the team was committed to building fast and responding to their feedback.

When Spyri and team sat down to map out their requirements, the list quickly outgrew anything a simple “changelog” solution or email marketing tool could offer.  

Their requirements

  • Multiple channels to deliver content through. Including a web page, email, and Slack. Also customers should be able to decide and toggle which of these channels they prefer to receive updates from.
  • Category-level subscriptions. Subscribers and visitors should be able to receive updates on just the product categories they are interested in.
  • Marketing-grade design and branding. The announcements should be delivered in a way that looks and feels like the rest of their marketing site.
  • No need to loop in engineers or designers. As a fast-moving software company, Stytch needed to keep every technical team member working on the core product. So any solution requiring work from designers or engineers on their side was a non-starter.
  • Speed to setup and deploy. What might be a reasonable timeline for a big company can be a lifetime for a startup, and the Stytch needed something that could be stood up and delivering value as soon as possible.
  • Support for unlimited subscribers. The sky’s the limit for a hypergrowth company, and the Stytch team didn’t want to get hit with a huge bill when their customer base grew.
A page from Stytch’s marketing site (left) and their LaunchNotes page (right).

The solution: Bring in LaunchNotes to quickly GA while continuing to drive increased engagement with early adopters

Once the team started evaluating LaunchNotes, they quickly realized they’d found the only solution on the market that checked all their boxes.

The leadership team also liked how customizable LaunchNotes is, as well as the option to explore other LaunchNotes features (like Roadmaps and Feedback) in the future. The team also described the evaluation and onboarding process as one of the best they’ve experienced.

And, on top of that, they were able to get set up with LaunchNotes faster than they ever expected.

“We were up and running within two weeks,” Spyri said.

Stytch and the team at LaunchNotes worked together to build a custom page that matches the design and layout on the rest of the website and fits within their overall brand. So for Stytch customers that means navigating from their website to LaunchNotes to the app feels like a seamless, connected experience. 

The impact: 1,000% increase in signups and a billion-dollar milestone

Once their LaunchNotes page was live, Stytch immediately used it to launch out of stealth mode into GA.

Soon after, Stytch saw a big uptick in usage and new signups. The startup had an almost 1,000% increase in developers using its platform, growing from 350 in July to about 4,000 in November.

“Our signups and usage spiked immediately after launching using LaunchNotes,” Spyri said. “It’s very obvious that LaunchNotes had an impact.”

The team is especially impressed with the engagement from its audience whenever it sends product updates.

“Using LaunchNotes, Stytch saw a 91% open rate on its first product launch. And the platform keeps delivering, week after week,” Spyri said.

This rapid growth helped Stytch quickly hit another exciting milestone. In November 2021 the company announced it had raised a $90M Series B at a $1B valuation, placing it in the rarified “unicorn” status for a startup.

Chris O'Neill, who runs developer relations for Stytch, is in LaunchNotes crafting new updates at least once a week.

LaunchNotes, Chris said, has become a critical tool for their developer relations strategy. And as a company whose success relies on developer engagement, developer relations is an especially important function for the overall success of the business.

Chris said he can see LaunchNotes being a permanent part of the Stytch journey. It’s the right product to scale with them as their company continues to grow in both customer and employee size.

“LaunchNotes is critical to our customer feedback loop, it allows us to maintain an on-going conversation with developers and let them know about all of the amazing features we ship every week!” Chris said.

Take LaunchNotes for a spin

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.

Begin a free 7-day trial today to see why companies like Atlassian, Loom, and Twilio trust LaunchNotes to keep their teams aligned with upcoming releases and their users ahead of product change.