Betafi is one of Singapore’s up-and-coming tech companies that’s transforming product development. Its innovative platform allows entire teams to easily capture, analyze, and incorporate user research at all stages of development. Betafi does so by swiftly gathering user feedback and bringing it together in a single hub that helps everyone, from product managers to developers, make sense of it. Thus, it enables software companies to launch products that meet the needs of their users.
Most recently, Betafi raised $1.3 million in its pre-seed round, which will be used for continuous development and to cultivate an engaged community passionate about user research. The funding round was led by Together Fund alongside Entrepreneur First and Titan Capital. With this, the company has also attracted angel investors like Nir Eyal – the author of Hooked, and the backing of founders from tech companies like Razorpay, Pine Labs, Snapdeal, and Livspace.
In conversation with Arteculate, Co-Founder and CEO of Betafi, Arjun Arora conveyed, “We want to make user research quick, collaborative, useful, and the norm in the product development process. So that it no longer lies overlooked in reports, but contributes to making key product decisions.” Here’s how Betafi is making its ambitious vision of transforming product development by making user research mainstream a reality.
What is Betafi? Why is user research important?
In conversation with Arteculate, Arjun describes Betafi as “A user feedback sidekick that eliminates most of the manual work for researchers, founders, and product managers. We want to take the busy work out of the process, so you focus on what’s truly important – uncovering insights. Ultimately, we want UX research to be as ubiquitous as software testing is today.”
Drawing from his experience as a product manager, Arjun shares that user feedback is a critical but often neglected component of the software development process. Elaborating further, he explains that product teams often need to spend more time understanding user needs due to the manual effort required. On top of this, conducting a user research session usually requires 3-5 tools, making focusing on the user difficult.
Even then, if user research teams don’t collaborate with the larger development team, converting those insights into action isn’t easy. Due to these issues, quite often in Asian tech companies, there is little to no validation of the product by the end-user before its launch. However, this results in hefty costs. Research from IBM points out that it can be 15x costlier to fix an issue in the testing phase vs. catching it during the early design phase.
Simplifying user feedback with Betafi
Today, most tech companies rely on Zoom to conduct user interviews and gather data. Given its familiarity, Betafi opted to integrate Zoom for tech teams to capture, analyze, and share insights from these interviews. Alongside Zoom, Betafi also has integrations with several other tools, such as Figma and Miro, which allow teams to customize the platform to their workflows. Thus, it serves as a centralized instrument for product development enabling action to be taken quickly based on new data from users.
With Betafi, product development teams can transform every Zoom call into a research den. During the call, Betafi enables:
- Creating timestamped notes and questions to be added to the call
- Capturing ‘Aha’ moments and creating instant tags at the click of a button
- Mentioning colleagues on the call in sync with the video
- Sharing Figma prototypes from a single interface
Afterward, participants on the call may revisit the annotated recording and high-quality transcript to analyze the conversation. Tags created during the call are presented in a structured manner, and the notes can be brought directly into Betafi to make sense of the collected data. “Betafi is also working on enhancing the tool’s automation through automatic analytics, such as displaying the tasks that users are taking the most time and having trouble with,” explains Arjun.
Moments from the video may be clipped and seamlessly exported to Miro boards, so they are not missed during development. “Before Betafi, interviews from users were used to generate long reports and presented to development teams. However, we have thrown this tedious process out of the window with Betafi, which can be used to share the proof point gathered from the video interview directly.”
An entrepreneurial journey to transform product development
Originally from Delhi, Arjun has spent over 15 years in Singapore for his high school and tertiary education, together with one year of experience working with a healthcare startup in the US. He is no stranger to building products, having also worked in roles of operations and services, and marketing for a telco in Singapore. His work taught him two main drawbacks, which existed when it came to user feedback – tight feedback loops with customers and having to process magnitudes of information.
Looking to fill this gap, Arjun joined the Accelerator EF program, where he met his Co-founder Ethan Sherbondy, a computer science graduate from MIT and a part of Stripe’s Singapore team at the time. As a software engineer, he seldom had access to the data gathered during user research. This void often resulted in rebuilding the same product repeatedly with little to no validation before launch. Together, the duo shared a common interest in obtaining and processing qualitative feedback over quantitative. Thus, Betafi was born.
Listening to users to build a platform that works for everyone
From Day 01, Betafi was built with its users in mind. Its founding team reached out to several tech teams to best understand their user research process and how Betafi could complement it. “As we started the company, we spent the first six months speaking to over 300 customers, from big companies to small ones, and from engineers to researchers,” conveys Arjun. Upon completing their pre-seed round of funding, the initial Betafi team was put together to build the future of user research.
However, the team soon faced its first series of challenges as they built tools to fit the gap from scratch. “We soon realized that it was tough to build a new product and convince management to make the change once they are already familiar with existing tools. Ultimately, we want user research to be useful to the entire product team. We recognized that Betafi needs to be embedded with existing tools, such as Miro or Zoom. Therefore, we adapted to prioritizing integration over novel development, which eventually led to the success of Betafi today,” shares Arjun.
He further adds that the success of Betafi is evident in the audience it serves, ranging from experts and founders of companies to freelancers. “What’s interesting to see is that our users have come up with innovative use cases for the platform, such as for sales calls, internal meetings, and so much more.” Together with this, Betafi has also seen usage amongst large companies like iPrice Group in Malaysia.
Effectively using user research to build better products
When converting user insights into action, Arjun argues that it’s vital to ensure the data is easily accessible with all the tools used in the existing product development workflow. “The larger the audience in your research, the more people that need to access the gems obtained from it easily,” he explains. For this reason, Betafi prioritized integrations as a core tenet, with Figma for usability tests, Zoom for user interviews and exporting findings to Miro boards to enable collaboration across the team.
In making this data easily accessible, everyone in the product team can now get user feedback by presenting it in the voice of the customer. Further, it is equally essential that the frequency and impact of the test results are also communicated across the team. With this, Arjun adds that part of company culture plays a role in the effectiveness of the results. “While the nuances are relayed accurately with its appropriate frequency, the feedback needs to be triangulated with other business priorities to assess the feasibility of incorporating the feedback or not,” Arjun shares.
How user research can make or break products
Diving deeper into Arjun’s experience as a project manager, he reveals that he used to work for an eCommerce sub-brand of a large telecom operator. Initially, a small team focused on validating every aspect of the platform, resulting in a profitable launch with large sales volumes. Following this success, it received greater support from the parent group, and the team was expanded, including a dedicated user research team. However, on one occasion, when adding a promo code feature, poor UI executed without any user feedback generated an avalanche of customer complaints.
The entire experience highlights how user feedback for even the most minor features can make or break products overnight. Further emphasizing this point, Arjun shared that a call center tool he built had reduced training times from 2 weeks to 30 minutes. “By talking to agents before its development, I was able to pick up the pain points of the existing tools and launch a product in almost no time, as opposed to one that would usually require about 2 weeks to train and implement.”
Shaping the future of product development with Betafi
Looking towards the future, Arjun reaffirms that Betafi’s mission is to equip companies with the toolkit to build delightful products from the get-go. To that end, it’s working towards helping them integrate user research across the entire product development lifecycle – from ideation to production. In his own words, Arjun describes the road ahead, saying, “We want Betafi to transform research beyond the researcher, just as Figma did for design. Our goal is to make user research quick, collaborative, useful, and the norm in the product development process. So that it no longer lies overlooked in reports, but contributes to making key product decisions.”