Hey! This is Jacobo and, as a co-founder of Arengu, I’ve decided to tell you about our journey building Arengu from scratch, the idea behind it and our vision. We hope this could inspire and help other founders!
The initial idea and our first iterations
We started the company in May 2018 and, as a funny fact, we were first called RocketForms. Now is where I should talk about how we had a brilliant idea and how we did a sophisticated market research, but the reality and what we did was very simple, we decided to create another form builder but focused on developers (API first, easy integrations, database, etc), nothing innovative and no market research, just because forms are everywhere.
Actually, there were tons of similar tools in the market: Jotform, Formstack, Wufoo, Typeform, etc. But we initially thought we could do it better (easy, huh?) and find our niche. To be clear, this was our first fail, as we realised people were constantly asking us how we were different from [insert any form builder name]. That made us realize we were fighting against big players with big features, and we didn't offer a competitive advantage.
After this, we evolved RocketForms to a smart form concept. The principle was “less is more”, so we provided our forms with data enrichment capabilities. This means if a user filled out our forms, we could enrich their email address with 3rd party services (like Clearbit, FullContact, LinkedIn, etc.) and get more data without asking for it (eg. company website, number of employees, industry, etc). This reduced a lot of friction in forms, because you avoid adding many fields and also allows you to better qualify users for your business. Even though we were still being asked how we were different from other forms builders, this time the value was more attractive for our users, but we arrived late. By that time, Clearbit launched “Clearbit forms”, with exactly the same approach. And what’s worse, they already had a huge database and now they added up the form factor. It didn’t make sense for us to keep this approach anymore, so this was our second fail.
This latest iteration made us develop a flow engine that allowed our forms to be connected with any API or 3rd party services to enrich users' information in different form stages: between steps, before submission or after submission. We suddenly noticed we couldn’t just cover a simple use case with forms with data enrichment. We could go beyond that and cover use cases where you require custom validations with any API, signing up users to your database, verifying users’ email or phone number using OTPs, etc.
Basically, by using other form builders you can only have one-way flows (eg. create a contact in your CRM after a form submission):
With Arengu, you can use two-way flows to modify the form behaviour (eg. check if the user is already registered and display a success or error message based on that response):
By this time, we decided to focus on those complex use cases around a sign-up process and we renamed RocketForms to Arengu, since we didn’t want people to keep thinking we were just a simple form builder.
Arengu, the brain behind a sign-up form
When we talk about a sign-up form, you probably think about something simple that requires an email and a password, but in reality it’s much more than that.
The example above could perfectly be a common SaaS sign-up flow where:
- You require an email address from your users.
- A one-time password is generated and sent using an email service like SendGrid.
- The provided OTP is verified.
- You ask for credit card details to subscribe the user to a trial with Stripe.
- The user is signed up and authenticated with your identity provider using Auth0.
- After the user signs up, you usually automate common tasks like sending a welcome email, sending a Slack notification, creating a contact in your CRM, etc.
These tasks require a lot of development resources and they are hard to maintain, debug, modify or reuse in different pages, as it’s usually coupled in a “sign-up page” with a poor UX.
Arengu wants to be the brain of all your sign-up processes so you can easily build and optimize all the flows with a visual interface and without coding (your marketing team will also love it).
Embed your forms with just a line of code in any website regardless of your tech stack:
Gain total control of what happens behind the scenes and get notified if something breaks:
And what powers up your forms the most: create adaptive sign-up flows based on users risk/qualification:
Still a long road ahead
Recently Paul Graham tweeted about the sign-up processes:
A sign-up directly impacts your business revenue. You want your users to sign up with just one click and ask them for as few data as possible to create a smooth signup experience. Sometimes this approach leads your business to receive low quality users, automated attacks, account takeovers, fake emails, etc. And fighting against this usually implies ruining the signup experience and a lot of development resources: captchas, double opt-in, phone verification flows, asking for credit card details, etc.
Security and a great signup experience are not at odds with each other and Arengu wants to help you with this. We are a technology between end-users and identity providers or custom APIs that want to give you the power to easily build adaptive sign-up processes based on your business needs and benefit multiple actors:
- Developers: No more dealing with complex integrations, maintenance nor spending time building non-core features. We allow developers to build any kind of sign-up process without coding and without losing flexibility.
- Marketers: Now they can gain control over a process that usually depends on IT teams, easily test changes to optimize the sign-up rates without breaking anything and use our forms to sign up and authenticate users with their systems.
- End-users: Say goodbye to passwords. We aim to give users the ability to 1-click signup everywhere and only add friction when it’s needed and based on risk/scoring analysis.
We still have a long road ahead, but we are already helping different businesses -from small startups to big enterprise clients- to process more than 700,000 sign-ups per month with our technology. We have clients with use cases focused on security (such as avoiding fraud in sign-ups) and clients with focus on increasing sign-up conversions. We want this to keep growing and helping businesses to build, scale and optimize their sign-ups based on their needs.
Want to share the journey with us? You can try Arengu for free! We would really love your feedback and help you build your use case with a 1:1 onboarding. Or you can just drop me a message to jacobo.vidal[at]arengu.com if you want to chat.
Sentidiño e boa letra ;)