Karen was selected as a Pioneer in April 2020 for Palabra, Segment for email. She flew through Pioneer Camp and presented to Des Traynor during our June Demo Livestream. Immediately thereafter, she joined the Launch accelerator, raised significant funding and grew her Argentinian team 9x.

Where did the idea for Palabra begin?
While interviewing users for another project, I noticed product managers and customer success teams struggling to understand how customers used their apps. They used either static tools like Hubspot that require manual transmission, or Intercom.

We started thinking about “customer journeys that get updated in real-time” where you can see users moving from one step to the next in an onboarding journey. And that’s how this idea was born!

What are some major milestones you’ve hit since becoming a Pioneer
So many. We reached a thousand users, grew the team to nine and raised $1M! Seems crazy when I remember that I started alone in my living room. And I think Pioneer was a big part of us being here today. Pioneer’s demo day was the first step for us in raising our seed round.

Describe a specific upcoming feature you’re really excited to build.
We’re working on a feature that’ll show how much revenue you are losing when your app is not optimized for your most important customer journey.

What are you doing today that doesn’t scale?
A long sales process for $99/mo subscriptions. This is my first time selling software – I used to work on sales for an agency but the process is quite different – and I feel there are many things that I still need to learn. So to teach myself how to sell I’ve been treating our $99/mo customers as if they were enterprise customers paying $2000/mo. After 3 months I think I know how to sell our product to a company and I might be ready to start selling our $399/mo plan.

What are your biggest current company hurdles?
In all honesty figuring out sales and acquisition before running out of money. We have a bunch of time because we are very cost efficient but that’s the number one thing on my mind.

How has the project changed over time?
It started as a different product all together. At the beginning we were just doing email automations. By talking to users we learned why they wanted to automate emails and that led us to where we are today.

But a ton has changed. Especially in the way we work. It used to be just me, then me and my co-founder and now we have a team working with us and investors we talk to quite often. We improved the way we work to be where we are.

One of Karen's first Tournament progress updates, 2/24/2020.

When did you last talk to a user? How’d it go? What’d you talk about?
Yesterday, during a demo. We asked many things but maybe the most important one: what are they doing today to solve the problem our product solves. I’ve learned that when they don’t have an answer they don’t really have a problem and we might be too early for them.

For example, some customers mention they use a CRM to keep track of how users are using their app. They struggle with it because they need to update it manually. That’s a great use case for us.

What specific goal are you and the team working toward today?
We are about to launch some very cool features. Imagine a Trello board with all your customers and data about how much they pay and the stage they are at. All automated, no manual updates.

What companies do you look at as inspiration?
I read a lot about what other companies do but I don’t have a single one. I like the 360 feedback sessions that Facebook has in place, the autonomy engineers have at Stripe, how sales teams work at Salesforce, and I could go on and on...

What's something weird or unusual about you?
I wouldn’t say weird but: dinosaurs and spreadsheets. That’s my life (and I love it).

How has Pioneer been most useful to you?
It introduced me to Silicon Valley, as simple as that. Thanks to Pioneer’s demo day we got invited into another accelerator and because of that we were able to raise our seed round, with no prior connections or experience doing so.

Tips for other players just starting out in the Tournament?
Don’t underestimate the importance it could have for your company! Try to get to the top. For me what worked was: iterating my landing page almost daily based on comments and being very involved in the community. Ask what people think of your product and actually listen to what they say.

Working on a project? Join the Tournament.