Made in Emerging Europe

Made in emerging Europe: Product Fruits, Studenac/Infobip

Made in emerging Europe is our regular look at the technology, start-up, and investment scene across the region.

Czech Product Fruits raises 1.6 million euros seed round

Product Fruits, a user-onboarding platform that provides a no-code interface and easy integrations, has closed a 1.6 million euros seed round co-led by VCs Leverage and Venture to Future Fund, who are joining early investor Lighthouse Ventures.

This round of fundraising will be used to sustain the start-up’s rapid market penetration by developing the sales organisation and processes, and laying the foundations for a next-generation AI product. 

According to Gartner, 70 per cent of organisations are expected to use Digital Onboarding Platforms (DAPs) by 2025 to overcome user experience challenges. One of the principal drivers of that growth is the expanding costs of marketing, with customer acquisition costs (CACs) reaching unsustainable levels across many markets. A 2022 report from HubSpot concluded that the average CAC for marketing was 1,250 US dollars, up 25 per cent from 2021. The report also states that technology and software companies have the highest CAC, at 2,000 US dollars. Despite these escalating costs, the efficiency of digital onboarding is poor, with unacceptable levels of churn during trials. 

Product Fruits empowers any business user to create seamless onboarding processes, improve user retention, and drive higher growth and revenue. It achieves this with an independent, interactive layer on top of any web application. In this no-code layer, non-technical users – including product and content managers – can easily create prompts, hints, step-by-step tours, and other interactive content to help their customers navigate through the app and achieve the benefits of adoption. 

Product Fruits’ co-founder and COO, Karel Papík, says: “I’m definitely bringing my background in the gaming industry to Product Fruits. That industry takes onboarding or game tutorials very seriously. It’s an integral part of the design, and it’s always about more than learning the controls. Likewise with business apps, I think there are better ways to get users on-boarded that are intuitive, light, adaptive, even gamified. The stakes are high – I would say 90 per cent of free-trial users for business apps never convert, and we are making huge improvements here.”

“Business leaders are fed up with pumping money into marketing programmes only to create leads that fail to convert into paying customers. The reason for Product Fruits’ early success is that we fix broken onboarding processes and deliver a clear and positive impact on revenue. Customers see results from day one – higher conversion from free trials, more upsell opportunities, better NPS, and reduced customer care tickets,” adds Lada Salom, co-founder and CEO.

Product Fruits customers are any business with a web-based application, and in any sector from insurance, e-learning, games, to real estate platforms, marketing platforms, and many others. The product is easy to adopt via a Chrome browser extension in trial mode and a simple code insertion for full functionality, after which no further support from the user’s in-house IT team is needed. 

In its first year of operations (2022), Product Fruits grew revenue by 30 per cent per month and was recognised by Capterra as the Best Value DAP. The start-up has already signed up nearly 500 customers globally, including the Olympic Broadcasting Services, Sanofi, and IU International University. The DAP start-up is already working on integrating AI into its technology to automatically identify opportunities for users to improve their onboarding processes. Product Fruits aims to triple its ARR in the next financial year, driven primarily by its ease of use for non-technical marketing users.

Studenac partners with Infobip to develop communication solution

Studenac, the largest Croatian grocery chain by number of stores, has partnered with global cloud communications platform Infobip to design and implement innovative solutions for customer conversations that will help increase loyalty and accelerate the proximity retailer’s growth.

The strategic partnership with Infobip – Croatia’s first unicorn – will improve customer engagement by allowing consumers to use popular communications platforms such as WhatsApp to communicate with Studenac.

By offering fresh ways to connect with the brand, such as providing the location of the nearest store, the new service will help Studenac deliver a seamless shopping experience and address rising customer expectations for faster, easier interactions. Infobip in turn will gain insight into the needs of proximity retailers, helping it develop products and services for other markets.

“We are excited to join forces with Infobip to help us accelerate our journey of improving customer satisfaction, on a project that’s the first of its kind in Croatia,” says Studenac Board President Michał Seńczuk. “Our team’s hard work has already brought us to the leading position by number of stores, but we’re not finished yet. Through initiatives like this, we’re harnessing digital technologies to continue growing, targeting a market share of more than 10 per cent and a position among Croatia’s top three retailers by sales in the next three years.”

Since its acquisition five years ago by Enterprise Investors, one of the largest private equity funds in Central and Eastern Europe, Studenac has invested more than 250 million euros in expanding its network, both organically and through acquisitions. The company has around 1,100 stores today and plans to open 120 new locations this year. It will increase the pace of organic expansion and acquisitions in the coming years, reaching more than 2,000 stores in 2025.

“Partnership with Studenac is the perfect fit for us, as this exciting project is an additional step towards our vision of creating a retail innovation centre where we co-innovate with partners to provide them with cutting-edge solutions for customer conversations,” says Ivan Ostojić, Chief Business Officer at Infobip. “We are happy to enhance these efforts together with local partners and industry leading brands, with the joint goal of enabling the future of conversational retail. The future is conversational and putting customers at the centre of the experience with hyper-personalisation, automation, and 24/7 availability proves to be the key.”

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