Kera, a Toronto-based startup set to revolutionize the software product demo space with guided tutorials that are interactive and live on a site, instead of in a static video, has just launched new subtitle and captioning features, as well as basic analytics to help websites using its tech track user participation. This iteration on the company’s platform adds considerably to its existing appeal, which has already attracted some good early traction for the young startup.
What Kera does is take the boring, bland walkthrough video of old and turn it into a step-by-step, interactive presentation laid on top of the product it’s meant to be explaining itself. The model can be applied broadly to web applications, which means you could easily set up a new employee with a guided tour of your CMS or invoicing software, without having to hold their hand, and with a tool that should be much more effective than a static screencast, since it actively involves them in the learning process and can require that a participant get a step right before moving on to the next stage of training.
The potential of the product is obvious once you take it for a test run. There’s instant feedback when something goes wrong, so bad behavior is corrected immediately, and it has applications beyond training employees, including making sure that visitors to your website don’t go away disappointed, which can help improve conversion rates. And they’re remarkably easy to set up.
The new subtitle-only option is a big step forward for Kera because it simplifies things even further, by allowing companies to build walkthroughs that don’t require any kind of audio or narration component. Recording audio, especially if you want to actually do a good job of it, is a time-consuming and often costly process. Now, users can just stick with text to make things a lot easier. Kera Product Marketing Manager Taige Zhang explained the benefits of the change in an interview.
“Basically, for people who just want to make tutorials really quickly, this is so amazingly fast because you don’t have to create an audio file, which takes up most of the time, and make it into almost like a story,” he said. “This is just to create something where you want to demonstrate a concept really fast. [Our demo] took about five minutes to create.” As one of Kera’s key value propositions is its ease of use vs. other traditional screencasting and walkthrough tools, this should be a big draw for potential customers.
Currently, Kera is gating customers through an application process, and has signed on the recently acquired BufferBox (bought by Google), Parsely, Geckoboard and Boundary to name a few. The startup has closed $500,000 in seed funding from Extreme Startups, BDC and other private investors, and the Kera team is currently heads down on a big new release coming up this spring. Kera emerged from free beta earlier in February, when it began charging its first customers.
Kera has competitors, including Tel Aviv-based WalkMe, but the market has a lot of potential for growth, and new plans including walkthrough, which Kera just launched as an MVP, could help the Toronto startup ramp up its appeal relative to others in the field. A deciding factor in who comes out on top in this tutorial space is which company does mobile best, both on the web and in native apps, so we’ll have to see what’s next from these companies in that emerging field.