Nota raises $5M to boost growth of B2B SaaS Helpfeel for self-service support

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Nota, Inc., makers of Gyazo, Scrapbox, and Helpfeel, has raised $5M from leading investors including One Capital and Salesforce Ventures Japan. The funding will be used to expand sales and marketing and to boost growth of Helpfeel, an instant FAQ B2B SaaS that enables high rates of self-service by customers and reduces support costs.

Shinji Asada of One Capital, Isshu Rakusai of Nota, and Takuya Hosomura of Salesforce Ventures. (Pictured from left to right.)

Shinji Asada of One Capital, Isshu Rakusai of Nota, and Takuya Hosomura of Salesforce Ventures. (Left to Right)

Helpfeel achieves a 98% FAQ search hit rate with its unique "Intent Prediction Search" technology. It reliably displays the most suitable FAQ page to solve a customer's problem by being able to respond to search terms that may be ambiguous, emotional, or misspelled.

Nota, Inc., the developer and provider of self-service support application Helpfeel, is pleased to announce that it has raised a Series B investment totaling 500 million JPY (~$5M USD) from a group of investors led by One Capital.

Other investors that participated in the Series B funding round include Salesforce Ventures, Hakuhodo DY Ventures, and Persol Process & Technology.

  • Use of Funds

The investment will be used to accelerate the development of Helpfeel and Nota's other products and to expand marketing and sales activities, strengthen recruiting, and further expand the customer base.

  • Market need and mission

Helpfeel is growing rapidly with monthly recurring revenue growing 670% year over year. With an average monthly churn rate of less than 0.25% and a number of leading companies as customers, it has achieved product-market fit and strong traction.

One of the reasons behind the growing need for online self-service support like Helpfeel is that customer service based on phone calls, emails, and live chat is reaching its limits for both companies and their customers.

One survey (1) showed that the average response time to customer inquiries is over 12 hours and 10 minutes. At the same time, another survey (2) showed that about 70% of respondents had to contact a support center after checking an FAQ site where they could not solve their problem.

When companies fail to improve their FAQ pages, their support operators receive a huge number of inquiries on a daily basis. These companies struggle to manage employee stress and prevent turnover, resulting in a double problem of high staff turnover and low customer satisfaction.

Helpfeel solves many of the issues faced by support teams by providing an instant FAQ search that can reliably solve most customer problems. By realizing a transformation to self-service support, customers can get answers and solve problems without interacting with an operator, and in much less time. This helps companies reduce the number of inquiries their operators need to solve directly and it alleviates demands on support resources.

  • Use cases and features of Helpfeel

Helpfeel can be easily installed on any app or website and be used to predict and answer what the user wants to know based on the words they input. It can be applied to not only reduce the number of inquiries, but also in a wide range of areas such as onboarding after user registration, as an internal help desk, and to search a catalog of products and services.

On the technical side, the system uses "Intent Prediction Search," which is based on a proprietary algorithm that predicts the questions users want to ask based on the words they type and it then suggests related articles. This algorithm was invented by Nota's CTO Toshiyuki Masui who invented the predictive input system for Japanese on mobile devices while working at Apple.

Many companies have already implemented Helpfeel, and Nota has created a range of case studies detailing how the introduction of Helpfeel led to a dramatic reduction in the number of direct support inquiries. The case studies are in Japanese at the time of publication but can be made available in English upon request.

  • About One Capital, the #1 B2B SaaS VC in Japan

One Capital is a venture capital firm with a strong track record in the B2B SaaS space, and is participating in this round as lead investor, with Shinji Asada assuming the role of board member. During his career as a venture capitalist, and including a previous stint as head of Salesforce Ventures Japan, Asada has invested in and provided hands-on support to companies such as freee, Sansan, Yapppli, Goodpatch, Visional (BizReach), Andpad, and Studist.

  • Comments from Investors

○ One Capital
Shinji Asada, Representative Director, CEO, and General Partner
I often hear people say, "I tried to call the call center, but it didn't work," or "It took a lot of time and effort (stress) to get an answer”. I have had such experiences countless times. If only there were a way for users to solve their own questions, it would be a good experience for both parties and improve the brand value of the service provider. We will do our best to contribute to Nota as much as we can.

○ Salesforce Ventures Japan
Takuya Hosomura, Principal
The level of expectation that users have for "personalized online experience" and "immediate response" from companies when using their services is only increasing. Helpfeel is an innovative product that responds to questions and search methods that users may not be able to articulate well and guides them to the right answer. We are pleased to support Nota, a company that will further contribute to improving labor productivity in Japanese society and enhancing the online experience for users.

○ Hakuhodo DY Future Design Fund
Nosuke Urushiyama, Partner, Hakuhodo DY Ventures
When considering the interface with consumers, the importance of how to understand the needs of individual consumers in real-time and how to design a smooth experience in the tech touch area is only increasing. Helpfeel is a product that not only contributes to the reduction of man-hours but also provides insights into what users are experiencing by visualizing their search behavior. We feel that Hakuhodo DY Group has a lot of potential in this area. We will continue to work with Nota to spread the value of Helpfeel by combining the sei-katsu-sha ideas and creativity of the Hakuhodo DY Group.

○ Persol Holdings, Persol Process & Technology
Koichi Yokomichi, President and Representative Director
Our company provides outsourcing and systems for customer support and service operations. From our experience, we are keenly aware that in order to achieve customer success in today's world of diversifying user needs, it is important to encourage users to solve their own problems and spend more time on problems that truly require consultation. In this context, we strongly sympathize with Nota, which has a vision of a "self-service center", and feel that Helpfeel is a very promising product to enhance users' self-solution by FAQ. We are very pleased to be able to work together to transform the company into a "self-service center" through this investment.

  • Nota-style knowledge sharing: the "Nota Workplace"

Nota offers innovative web services to deliver knowledge sharing as its core business. Nota develops and provides the instantly searchable FAQ Helpfeel, the infinitely scalable team knowledge base Scrapbox, and the instant screenshot sharing app Gyazo.

The combination of these solutions in the "Nota Workplace" allows people in different places and at different times to work together in a highly creative and modern way.

  • About Helpfeel

Helpfeel: an instantly searchable FAQ that helps most customers solve their own problems in seconds.

Helpfeel is the savior of customers and support teams. The system focuses on reliable searchability and makes it easy to build a FAQ site where problems can be solved immediately. It not only helps customers solve problems on their own, but also reduces the burden on customer support staff and call centers.

Helpfeel achieves a 98% FAQ search hit rate with its unique "Intent Prediction Search" technology. It reliably displays the most suitable FAQ page to solve a customer's problem by being able to respond to search terms that may be ambiguous, emotional, or misspelled.

In addition, it is equipped with incremental search, which allows it to predict questions and display candidate results as keywords are being typed. This approach of searching for the most suitable question from the search keyword and then displaying the answer is about 1,000 times faster than the response time of competing FAQ systems to date.

With these innovations, Helpfeel significantly reduces the number of direct support inquiries by answering frequently asked questions that would otherwise need to be handled by phone, e-mail, or live chat. As a result, the stress and workload of customer service staff can be dramatically reduced.

Visit the website: Helpfeel (in Japanese)

  • Partial list of Helpfeel Customers

Yahoo Japan Corporation, The Iyo Bank, 17LIVE, AHB, Net Protections Holdings, DeNA, Whiteplus, Mirrativ, Minna no Market, HENNGE, Recruit Holdings, bellFace, Money Design, Newton, Persol TempStaff, Siroca

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Note: Helpfeel is only available in Japanese at this time. The English language version is coming soon. To inquire about Helpfeel in English, you can send an email to the company via contact *at* notainc.com.

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  • Nota's other products

○ Scrapbox: a team knowledge base that's infinitely scalable
Scrapbox allows teams to organize a variety of information by networking wiki-like pages with instant links, rather than the traditional hierarchical (folder) structure where ideas are progressively obscured with scale. A network of information results simply by surrounding words with brackets, without the need to worry about disorderly folders ever again. It also has a variety of functions such as simultaneous editing and the ability to pase images and Youtube videos allowing teams to access all kinds of knowledge in one place.

Visit the website: Scrapbox

○ Gyazo: instant screenshot and video sharing of desktops, websites, and apps
Gyazo is a tool that allows people to easily take a screenshot by simply clicking and dragging over an area on screen. Images taken can not only be shared as instant links, but are also automatically saved to an account, making it the perfect tool for sharing information that is difficult to convey via text alone. It also supports a keyword search of OCR results and metadata, so you can easily find screenshots you have taken in the past.

Visit the website: Gyazo

  • Company Overview

○ Founded December 21, 2007
○ Representative Director and CEO: Isshu Rakusai
○ Kyoto Head Office: 5F Kawamoto Building, 110-16, Gosho Hachiman-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-0023, Japan
○ Tokyo Office: Shiodome City Center 5F, 1-5-2 Higashi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-7108, Japan
○ U.S. Office: 1250 Borregas Avenue #23, Sunnyvale, California 94089
Nota's Company website

  • Nota is hiring.
  • Sources

1. Superoffice.com's "Customer Service Benchmark Report (New Study 2021)
2. "CallCenter White Paper 2019" (in Japanese)

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Ben Foden
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