Walnut Raises $2.5M Seed To Make Product Demos Easier For the Post-Pandemic World | Hacker Noon

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@brianwallaceBrian Wallace

Founder @ NowSourcing. Contributor @ Hackernoon, Advisor @GoogleSmallBiz, Podcaster, infographics

Seed round is being led by NFX with additional participation from other top SF Angels

Selling was never an easy task for tech companies. 

Then, the pandemic shook things up for sales teams even worse, as they ended up scrambling around to find quick fixes for all the elements of their role. 

Even in the pre-pandemic days, product demos were tricky to handle, especially in the case of live demos. Even more so for well personalized demos which are hard to come across.

Pre-recorded product videos don’t provide any live experience. No one appreciates death-by-Powerpoint, and screenshots are flat out embarrassing and can’t even be a part of the equation. Pandemic or not, the real product needs to be shown in real time, but numerous technological variables come into play and run the risk of mishaps taking place.

This brought the need for startups like Walnut. Walnut freshly raised $2.5 million in seed funding to roll out an inside sales platform that re-imagines how demos can and should work in the post-pandemic era, all while increasing the actual conversion rates. 

The seed investment was led by leading SF fund NFX, and also received further investments from Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami, Liquid2 partners Joe Montana and Michael Ma, Graph Ventures partner Matt Wyndowe, Plangrid co-founder Kenny Stone, Mercury CEO and former YCombinator PT partner, Immad Akhund, and RoundForest CEO Alon Gamzu.

Traditionally speaking, it takes many people working behind-the-scenes to set up the product demos that are being led by a single salesperson. It’s too much effort and resources going behind something that’s actually very simple. 

For example, sales teams might turn to the R&D department to ask that no one touches the back-end or production environments while an important live demo takes place. Or, they would turn to the design team to create some mockups to make some elements appear more customized for the prospect. 

Finally, they would reach out to the product team to try and see if they can add or remove a feature in a demo environment because that prospect they’re speaking to in an hour, might find it more appealing. 

With Walnut, sales teams can put together live demonstrations without the need for back-end help. 

This is made possible using a seamless customized storytelling format. However, it’s important to bear in mind that even if nothing goes wrong in a sales demo, doesn’t mean everything has gone right. It’s important to remember that there is always room for improvement, and this is where their analytics comes into play.

By automating things like templatization and data capture, Walnut gives salespeople more time to focus on tasks that are more meaningful, such as networking, negotiation, and mastering new tools. 

Product demos make a world of a difference for sales teams.

Gigi Levy-Weiss, NFX’s managing partner, highlighted Walnut’s worth to a wide range of sales teams. “Besides having a great team, we found Walnut an appealing investment because it solves a broad-market, cross-vertical problem. Nearly every company has to demonstrate its products live on sales calls.” He went onto point out Walnut’s popularity among early-bird clients like Varionis and Namogoo, and added that Walnut also has a robust waiting list. 

Walnut may still be a young startup, but its team gives investors confidence. Vilner, a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Tel Aviv’s flagship tech marketing company at the age of 22 and then an anti-bullying startup, started the company with Danni Friedland. 

In his 16 years of software development, Friedland, Walnut’s CTO, founded and sold Javo Analytics to WalkMe. As a senior developer, Friedland worked for The Gifts Project, which was later sold to eBay. By joining forces, they are revamping the product demonstration experience- making it easier on the effort for sales teams, and easier on the visual experience for consumers.

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