Presenting to a Virtual Crowd: How Gilles Bertraux’s Livestorm is Remaking the Webinar

by | Feb 3, 2022 | Markets

As the realms of business, education, and communication become increasingly digitalized, so too do the end-to-end video engagement programs. Gilles Bertaux’s Livestorm arose from two combining factors: A simple need and a final project for his collegiate program. His SaaS business Livestorm is an end-to-end video engagement platform that can host, astoundingly, multiple thousands of viewers at a time. However, Livestorm goes beyond even that by offering a slew of analytical and organizational tools to its users. Through the platform, customers can engage with their audience through live answer notifications, polls, and Q&As. All through their browser, without the need to download a separate program, they can also create automated emails and custom registration forms for their viewers and view an in-depth analytics dashboard and participation reports to track just how effective their presentations are. “We focus on the type of events that occur on a recurring basis in certain organizations,” said Gilles Bertaux in our recent interview, “It could be a company, all-hands meeting up to the good old traditional webinar marketing that everybody knows. And that’s the sweet spot. We don’t do just pure meeting one-to-one. We focus on those group events; that’s what the video engagement platform is all about it.”

Back in 2015, the year Livestorm was created, Bertaux was a university student in Paris. During his time there, he would connect with three of his peers, who would eventually become the co-founders of the Livestorm platform. In the final year at the university, students were required to build and present a product. As Bertaux describes it, “You have to get some users, build a business plan just as if you’re going to launch a whole thing.”

During this year, Bertaux was also interning at a company based in Australia, where he would ultimately get the idea that would become his final project for school. “[I was] doing a bunch of webinars for them,” he said, “And basically I was running into issues that prospects still have to this day, which means they had to download something just to attend a webinar.”

Of course, he couldn’t help but notice the amount of frustration and friction this caused the attendees. He found that most of his time was spent creating landing pages and automated emails because the level of customization he was looking for simply didn’t exist in any platform at the time. “All of that was almost non-existent.” Bertaux said about the inspiration for Livestorm,” So we just thought, okay, we’re going to build something that…Doesn’t care so much about the video that tries to care about all this stuff to build a rail, you know, how can we make the organizer life easier?”

The proof of concept would take roughly three months to be completed. When it came time to make the final presentation, Bertaux and his team were met with a surprising and fortuitous turn of events. He said, “it turns out we actually stream our presentations. And then we started streaming for everyone else’s presentations. So it was a full day of streaming and using something that was built in a few months. So it was like, oh wow, we’ve built something that people like. We had a hundred people connected and giving us that feedback. I think that was the ‘aha’ moment where we decided to say, ‘okay, let’s give it a shot.'”

The Success of Livestorm and Bertaux’s Views on SaaS

Bertaux believes it is vital to remain linear and efficient, especially where customer acquisition and retention are concerned. He says, “the beauty of SaaS is that it’s not every year that you have to rebuild your revenue from scratch because you have an existing base of recurring customers. But in order to be successful, it has to be lean. You don’t throw money at a problem in itself. So I think one piece of advice is always to keep an eye on efficiency, and the KPI attached to that efficiency is a cost of acquisition, lifetime value, and payback.”

He went on to say that you can never overvalue the importance of feedback early on from your client base. He suggests putting something in motion to allow you to gather feedback from your customers, such as a simple form on your company website. He also suggests using APIs to determine what sources the feedback is coming from to understand better the specific needs of the different segments of your customer base. He says, “It’s so useful actually to see what customers want. And then, you can apply your vision to it and try to discuss things that don’t apply to your vision. You can also use that same feedback to build in a very accurate way.”

His final piece of advice concerns pricing. Many SaaS businesses use feature-based plans, with customers paying for different tiers of service to access more features. Bertaux suggests the other SaaS founders test their pricing as they go, rather than simply setting an amount and leaving it at that. He recommends getting further ratings on your pricing structure as you go, possibly testing different models as the need arises. “The customer evolves, the need evolves, then your offer has to adapt. If your pricing is fixed, if it doesn’t change and adapt, then at some point, you have a really strong mismatch between your pricing and who the customer is now, today. It doesn’t require much. It could be someone that does user research or someone that sells that is going to try different ways of selling.”

On that subject, he discusses the divisive role of “freemium” for SaaS businesses, something that Livestorm offers to a limited degree. He advises other founders to establish automated campaigns to reach out to clients using their free services to convert better. He says, “I think for us, it’s worked this way. It forces us to have all those automations in place and have those sales [processes] in place as well. So you have those positive effects on that side. It really depends on the market and a company together.”

When asked to address how other businesses can reduce churn, Bertaux recommends that SMB focused businesses ensure their services are invaluable to their clients and that their tools become a core part of their customer’s operations. He uses the example of Fintech working with payroll, “because once you have the payroll going, you don’t want to change it. It’s just too much trouble. If you’re going to have marketing motivation software or just a bell email software, then you’re going to have probably a higher churn than usual.”

For other businesses, Bertaux believes that they should focus on activation. As he puts it, “if you see that activation, bringing the ‘aha’ moment comes too late, it’s probably because they haven’t seen the value. The sooner you bring the value, the more you can create this habit loop of getting the value over and over again. And then you just have a reward system, and people stay.”

Recent Posts

Explore Topics