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Stonly, a platform that helps product teams, customer support staff, and everyone in between demonstrate how their digital tools and products work, has raised $22 million in a series A round of funding.

The problem that Stonly is ultimately setting out to tackle is that building a new product and getting it to market is only half the battle — to succeed in the long term, a company must be able to communicate how the product works and ensure that users know what its benefits are.

With Stonly, users can create product walkthroughs such as onboarding checklists and interactive step-by-step guides that can be embedded on customer support pages, blogs, and even inside customer support software such as Zendesk.

Stonly: Onboarding checklist

The company was launched back in 2018 by Dashlane cocreator Alexis Fogel and Krzysztof Dąbrowski, with the duo’s former Dashlane colleague David Rostan later joining Stonly’s founding team.

“The main thing Stonly accomplishes for enterprises is helping their customers, users, and employees thrive in every situation where self-serve, automated, and on-demand guidance can make a big impact on success, time to value, troubleshooting, and reduced calls to help desks and support representatives,” Rostan told VentureBeat.

All aboard

The Stonly platform exists in a space that includes digital adoption and customer onboarding tools such as WalkMe and Whatfix, while newcomers such as Rocketlane — which recently closed a $18 million round of funding — and Appcues have also thrown their hat into the ring.

While it serves the same broad purpose as the aforementioned companies, Stonly has attempted to differentiate itself through making itself available wherever the end user is — it can be embedded by pasting a link onto any website that supports, while it also supports iFrame code for content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress.

Within all that, Stonly touts its ability to create step-by-step guides that can adapt to any situation, with users offered choices that are contextually relevant to what they’re trying to do and their level of expertise.

“Stonly is made to tackle self-serve guidance everywhere a customer or employee needs it — inside or overlaying software, for adoption or troubleshooting or knowledge base help, as scripts and guides for in-person help and troubleshooting — that platform approach makes Stonly uniquely better,” Rostan said.

Prior to now, Stonly had raised around $3.5 million in seed funding, and with another $22 million in the bank, the company is well-financed to capitalize on the world’s rapid transition to all things digital, where software now underpins just about everything we do in our personal and working lives. Indeed, Stonly said that it has grown five-fold in the past year, with more than 20,000 businesses using Stonly including Telus, Univision, and UCLA.

“Now, everyone is online — every user-type and every kind of employee,” Rostan explained. “Everyone has ‘crossed the chasm,’ and the cracks are showing and they’re worse than businesses thought. People with a much wider range of needs and abilities demand personalized help, but refuse to have to contact a person.”

But arguably more important than that is the simple fact that competition is fiercer than ever, meaning that companies can’t afford to take liberties with user loyalty — at its core, Stonly is designed to reduce churn.

“Alternatives are just a tap away, so businesses are worried — rightly so — that they can’t show value fast enough, can’t engage customers or employees deeply enough, can’t make employees productive or empowered enough, and can’t deal with all of the ticket volume to keep up,” Rostan added.

Stonly’s series A round was led by Northzone, with participation from Accel.

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