Our Path to Acquiring KISSinsights

Yesterday TechCrunch covered our acquisition of KISSinsights.  This acquisition may seem a little out of left field, but we’ve actually been moving in this direction for a while. I figured other entrepreneurs would benefit from understanding the path that we’ve been following.

The path started with CatchFree.com.  The idea for CatchFree was to capitalize on the fact that the freemium business model was creating many very strong businesses, but the economics of these apps constrained their ability to pay to accelerate adoption.  Our leap of faith was that by organizing freemium apps around detailed user ratings, we’d be able to create a very popular resource for consumers and small businesses.

Since launching at TechCrunch Disrupt last year the site has attracted over 1.8 million users and collected detailed ratings for over 1000 apps.  But surprisingly, app publishers were more interested in the structured insights we uncovered than the traffic we were sending.

If you read my previous post, I mentioned a service we were developing called MustHaveScore.  It was an attempt to productize our process for collecting detailed ratings for the products listed on CatchFree and package the insights in a way that they’d be even more useful for app publishers.  The response was very strong.  Tomer Dvir, CEO at Soluto, recently told me that insights have enlightened everything from their messaging to their product road map. And others were enthusiastic too.  In fact, we soon realized that our “concierge MVP” approach was going to overwhelm us.  By concierge MVP, I mean that we were manually categorizing write-in answers to how people used an app.  Now that we’ve validated demand for this product we are working on a more automated way to provide it.  We’ll also come up with a price point that makes it a viable offering.  In the meantime, we’ve moved MustHaveScore into a private Beta.

Through the execution of MustHaveScore we found that many people were looking for a more elegant way to collect feedback from their users.  They also wanted the flexibility to ask their own questions.  It became clear that what they really wanted was KISSinsights, so we approached our friends at KISSmetrics about buying it.  Fortunately for us KISSmetrics wanted to put all of their focus on their hot analytics business and we were able to reach an agreement to acquire KISSinsights.

What is KISSinsights?

If you’re not familiar with KISSinsights, it’s absolutely awesome.  It essentially pioneered the microsurveying category, making it possible to ask website users questions as they are making decisions, the crucial point at which they are likely to remember their motivation for making the decisions. This is a really powerful way to learn how to improve conversions and engagement. Of course it can be used for more general surveying, but this flexibility to intelligently target users on a website is what really makes it special.

And as an advisor to KISSmetrics, I’ve been helping with the product since it’s inception so I really understand it.  It evolved out of the Survey.io project that KISSmetrics and I launched in 2009.

Heat Seeking Missile

Our business will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future.  Josh Kopelman referred to this process when he wrote about entrepreneurs that are “heat seeking missiles.”  I highly recommend his blog post on the subject if you haven’t read it.  One of the areas we’ve been exploring is helping companies take action on “actionable insights.”  Our longer term vision has also evolved, but I’ll save that for another blog post.

If you’re a KISSinsights customer or have ever used it, I would love the opportunity to talk with you about it.  Please send me an email to ellisatcatchfreedotcom so we can schedule a quick 15 minute call.