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Nalin Senthamil is the CEO and Founder of Storylane, a SaaS company that helps businesses build interactive product demos in minutes. He is a visionary entrepreneur dedicated to transforming the b2b software experience. A Y Combinator alumnus, Nalin successfully co-founded and sold Kinderlime and served as the founding CTO at DAQRI, an AR wearables company. With expertise in tech development and strategic growth, he brings experience to his current venture, Storylane, which enables marketing and sales teams to create interactive demos effortlessly.

tune in

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [3:53] Nalin Senthamil talks about Storylane and how it’s changing the software experience
  • [5:05] The unique positioning of Storylane in the b2b market
  • [7:04] The valuable experience gained from participating in Y Combinator
  • [9:06] The strategies Nalin used to acquire the first customers for Storylane
  • [10:13] The importance of engaging with and learning from potential customers
  • [15:55] How Storylane demos can be utilized across various business functions
  • [20:10] Features of the Storylane platform that drive high-intent leads
  • [25:14] Milestone customers and how they leverage Storylane’s capabilities
  • [28:32] Lessons learned from previous startup, Kinderlime, and the acquisition process
  • [32:09] Key hiring philosophies that have contributed to Storylane’s growth

In this episode…

In the fiercely competitive world of SaaS, standing out is vital for growth, but how does one create a customer experience that truly resonates? Is there a way to showcase products in a way that’s not only informative, but immersive and engaging? How can companies simplify the buying process to make it as friction-free as possible?

Serial entrepreneur Nalin Senthamil shares the secrets behind building an engaging product experience in the SaaS domain. He recalls starting with an idea and evolving it into a Y Combinator-backed venture that empowers companies with interactive demos that drive genuine growth. He discusses the impact of the pandemic on digital buying and how Storylane is capitalizing on this shift to reduce friction in b2b selling. Nalin also delves into his journey of acquiring initial customers, scaling strategically, and the importance of efficient marketing practices to achieve sustainable growth.

In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz interviews Nalin Senthamil, CEO and Founder of Storylane, about the evolution of product demos and selling in the b2b space. Nalin shares insights into the makings of a successful SaaS platform provider, the paradigm shift in digital buying, the essential strategies for acquiring and nurturing customers, and the significance of building a versatile and dedicated team to move your business forward.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “Efficient marketing starts with being hyper-focused — once it works, start doubling down.”
  • “Having options is very, very important for an entrepreneur — keeping options open sets you up to think about what else you want to build next.” 
  • “In a startup, you need people who can get things done independently — both of these qualities need to constantly increase.” 
  • “COVID made everybody remote, but for us, having been a remote company before, it was like an extension of what we have done before.”

Action Steps:

  1. Use interactive product demos to engage with potential customers for a hands-on product experience: This approach directly addresses the need for immersive digital experiences and helps customers deeply connect with the product.
  2. Leverage data and analytics to track and understand high-intent user actions: This data is critical for identifying qualified leads and optimizing marketing and sales efforts.
  3. Optimize go-to-market strategies by focusing on high-intent users for efficient marketing: Prioritizing high-intent users ensures that marketing efforts are both targeted and cost-effective.
  4. Prioritize hiring team members who are independent and capable of expanding their skill sets: Nalin’s hiring philosophy ensures that the team remains adaptable and efficient, key components for a startup’s success.
  5. Regularly consult and engage with customers to ensure product-market fit and gather feedback for improvements: Conversations with end-users allow for continuous product evolution, ensuring the product remains desirable and functional.

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01 

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz 0:22 

Dr Jeremy Weisz here, founder of, where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today, is no different. I have the founder of Storylane, Nalin. And Nalin I will formally introduce you in a second. I like to always point out other episodes people should check out of the podcast, since this is part of the SaaS series. A fascinating one was the founder of Sujan Patel of Mailshake. He talked about growing, I think they have over 70,000 customers, and some of the acquisitions they did along the way, which is super interesting. Also had one of the founders of Zapier Wade Foster on talked about their growth early on.

And Pipedrive, I think when I had them on now, and they were at 10,000 customers, I think they have over 100,000 now. And so that was a very interesting one. Also, what led me to Storylane was actually Andrea Santos, who’s founder of Fulhaus, and I was poking around, I was telling you this now, and I was poking around her site as we were doing the interview. Like, this is amazing. Like, how did you create this demo inside of your site? And she’s like, actually, that’s Storylane. I’m like, oh, cool. We have to have Storylane on to tell the story. So check all those out, and many more. And this episode is brought to you by Rise25.

At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream relationships and partnerships, and we do that by helping you run your podcast, we’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast. We do the strategy, the accountability and the full execution. So Nalin we kind of are the magic elves that work in the background and make it look easy for the host so they can create amazing content and create amazing relationships and run their business. For me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships, and I found no better way, over the past decade, to profile the people and companies I most admire, and share what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions, go to or email [email protected] to learn more.

I’m excited to introduce Nalin Senthamil. He’s CEO and founder of Storylane. You can find him at Storylane is actually a Y Combinator startup that lets marketing and sales teams build interactive product demos in minutes, which then they can share with their prospects. And really Nalin, in this era of remote sales, buyers are making quicker and quicker decisions, especially with all the information we have at our fingertips. And so Storylane empowers those companies to drive growth through their product, and almost allows them to touch and feel it like I did with Andrea, like I could actually touch and feel our product because we were being walked through this really elegant way through Storylane. Nalin, this isn’t the first rodeo. He’s actually a serial entrepreneur. He co-founded Kinderlime, and ended up selling that company. He’s also prior founding CTO at DAQRI, which is, it was an aero air wearables company, and even spent time at Amazon. So Nalin thanks for joining me,

Nalin Senthamil 3:40 

Absolutely thank you. Thank you so much for having me here today.

Jeremy Weisz 3:44 

So just start off. There’s a lot of fascinating things to talk about, but start off with Storylane and what you do?

Nalin Senthamil 3:53 

Yeah, Storylane, we are an interactive product demo platform. And we started in 2021 from YC, we graduated from there, we sell to marketing and sales teams primarily Storylane as a product demo platform. We help prospective buyers so that they’re able to get in touch and feel the product itself. So today, in the B2B world, buying and selling has a lot of friction today, and our goal and vision is to make it absolutely frictionless. And people want to buy product, and that’s why they come to your website showcase your product. And right from the time somebody comes to your website, all the way they talk to a sales or start engaging with them. So hoping to make this as frictionless as possible, that’s what Storylane is about.

Jeremy Weisz 4:34 

Yeah. So if you’re listening to the audio, there is a video piece, and we’re looking at Storylane, and this is kind of what I was talking about. I was like, I love how it moves through with this, like blinking. And there’s, it was red, and this is green, and really draws my attention to different places. How’d you do that? And they’re like, well, that’s actually Storylane, so I love it. Why this? I mean, you have the technical chops to probably work on a lot of things. Okay, why did you decide to tackle this?

Nalin Senthamil 5:05 

Yeah, absolutely. So it goes a little back into what we did in the previous company, right? A lot of times the inspiration comes from what you built before or what you go through. So now you mentioned about Kindlelime. So this was my previous company where we built and then this is an edtech company as a founder, you’re always selling, showing the product to prospects, and doing this. When you go through those motions during when you’re selling. And then this is a SaaS platform, by the way, the previous company as well. So when we went through with me and my co-founder after we sold it, we had the moment like, hey, what were the challenges we really faced in this company? And one thing that stood out for us was like, when we’re building canal, there’s a competitor of that they had. 

Jeremy Weisz 5:44 

You weren’t thinking, where should we go on vacation after the sale? You’re like, what should we do next?

Nalin Senthamil 5:54 

That’s the culture of entrepreneurship in some ways. The vacation is thinking about what to do business. But, yeah. Anyways, going back to the previous company, there was a competitor of that company. They had a demo on their website, completely homegrown, built it. We used to wonder, hey, we need to build something like this. Now, after we sold this, we are like, what’s next? And we felt like b2b buying is changing, especially with COVID. Digital buying wasn’t the rise. And we felt like, hey, we had this moment when we wanted to sell our product. We felt like, hey, this is what it is next 10 years we need to go and build and then change. It’s an opportunity to change how b2b buying is happening today, like kind of bringing in closer towards b2c buying. So we felt like we both got very excited about it, and felt like, this is what we have to build. Absolutely.

Jeremy Weisz 6:39 

At what stage were you at when you joined Y Combinator? Because I’m seeing, listen, we’re looking at logos here, Twilio and ChargeB and McGraw Hill, education and fresh works, and there’s a lot here. Where were you at when you joined the Y Combinator? And maybe just a brief piece about Y Combinator, if someone’s not familiar with what that is.

Nalin Senthamil 7:04 

Yeah. So Y Combinator is one of the best accelerator programs out there. So they do two batches a year, and we had a fantastic experience. So we applied to Y Combinator on the last day, and we were not trying to apply to Y Combinator. I had a conversation with one of the mentors at that point, and then he mentioned, like, Hey, you’re planning to build this. Why don’t you go through YC? And I said, Hey, I have some data point. We built a company. Do you think really it would help? And he’s insisted to go to YC. So when we applied to YC, we had nothing other than just a video. And we recorded and said, Hey, build the company.

Jeremy Weisz 7:39 

You had nothing. No customers.

Nalin Senthamil 7:41 

Nothing, no product, nothing. So we went into the 21 and then once we got accepted, we said, like, okay, now in three months, you have to launch something, and that’s what YC allows you to go to the cohort. It’s that accelerator on something. It’s an accelerator. So now we had some of the folks that we worked with my previous company, they were ready to jump immediately when we called them and said, hey, we’re just going to build this. Can you join us? So two of them from my previous company, they just joined us and started building, and that’s basically where in the Y Combinator we built the three months when we came out of YC, I’ll talk in a bit about like YC experience.

But when we came out of YC, that was when the product was there. The demo day we launched it. We had zero customers still, so we didn’t have any customers. This was around October 2021, I would say, and when we didn’t have any customers, so slowly, step by step, we started acquiring customers. And one of the things I love about what we do in Storylane is talking to customers, right? I’ve spoken to 1000s at this point, and then through, either through conversations, calls or learning about it, understanding what the pain points are as well, and step by step, we have gotten to more than 1000 customers using today in the last two years. We had a great last year as well in terms of growth.

Jeremy Weisz 8:51 

So that three months is probably pretty intense. Did you have to move to — I know, why commute in San Francisco? Did you have to move there? Were you living there? What did that look like, did the team have to move?

Nalin Senthamil 9:06 

We were in 2021. Was COVID, so we didn’t. It was remote, so we didn’t have to move. So I’m based out of the Bay Area, so we were here, and the team was remote as well, so didn’t have to move. But YC did a great remote session. We had multiple sessions during the day, talking to our advisors. That’s how we did it, the session itself.

Jeremy Weisz 9:26 

What did you learn in that three months? Or was it just focused on building the product?

Nalin Senthamil 9:35 

Building the product is something we will have to do about it. But I think the key thing that I for me personally. I mean, everybody will have a separate learnings, right? So people coming as a first-time founder is immense. Second-time founder, we felt like, hey, maybe there is not much and we will learn something. The intensity of it, the cohort, the group, the network, is huge. And that is what I would advocate if anybody wants to go build a company, if you get into YC, the net. Was the alumni of YC was very helpful, definitely.

Jeremy Weisz 10:03 

What was some advice you got from some of the people? Either was a mentor who was in YC before, or one of the people who work at YC?

Nalin Senthamil 10:13 

Yeah, I think they talk about this very clearly, broadly as well. YC, which is like, build something that people want, right? And it’s not just stock. They live by that every conversation and we all know, everybody shakes their head, oh, yeah. It makes sense, obvious, right? Founders, but when you live by every moment, every conversation, every product, everything that you’re building, it kind of ingrains in your brain about, like, talking to customers so often. So now, when I mentioned about 1000s of people I spoke to, it comes from that. You don’t think about tomorrow, you think about what to do today right away and figuring it out. That sense of urgency comes to it, and that’s something that I’ve learned definitely a lot from YC. And so they don’t just preach about it. They live by that every conversation and having that kind of network audience around you, you know inspires you more in some ways with your building.

Jeremy Weisz 11:05 

Did any previous companies that went through YC mentor you or give you any advice?

Nalin Senthamil 11:14 

We didn’t. We didn’t, actually. So YC was, as I said, it was a new, last day application. We know companies gone through YCs, but not necessarily spoken to them. We went and thinking, but YC it’s a pretty famous program, right? An accelerator program. So we have heard about them. It comes in TechCrunch, the big companies, Gusto, rip links, they’re all like YCs. So, Airbnb, so, instacarts, all of them are YC. So, you know the famous ones out there, the unicorns. So you know what they are about. Yeah.

Jeremy Weisz 11:43 

What were some of the feedback you got from customers that helped shape the product or potential customers even?

Nalin Senthamil 11:52 

Sure. One thing that I learned is like, when we started talking to the customers while in YC, lot of them were the design partners, some of them, and then they actually, we ended up talking to some of the wrong set of people initially as well. When we started building that, you start pivoting little bit, you start shaping the product as well. So good feedback we got mostly around is like, hey, everybody knows that they want a better way to showcase the product on the websites. And the feedback we got is like the time to take the operational effort, to build these things, to making it seamless.

So that helped shape us into more like hey, these demos and platforms needs to be very fast and quick for them to launch it on their websites, landing pages and everything. Earlier, the first year we built it in a way where we got the feedback, it was like slightly more time taking all those feedback helped us to drive this more like in a faster way to adopt so we have a PLG model. People can start up, start free, sign up, build the demos in 10 minutes today. And really they can build this in 10 minutes. Anybody can sign up and do it. So the whole idea of that came from all our conversations that we had with customers. That was the biggest thing I would say for me.

Jeremy Weisz 13:02 

I know pricing is a difficult thing to figure out. How did you decide on that? And obviously having a free version, you could see as this date and time. Who knows the pricing may change. So don’t hold storylane to it, but we’re looking at there is a free plan, and it allows you one published demo. And then there’s a starter plan, growth plan, etc. How did you figure out, were you going to have a free plan, and why these were included, and then the pricing itself?

Nalin Senthamil 13:33 

Yes, what I mentioned in the beginning is like our vision is to make the b2b buying seamless, right. For that to happen, it cannot happen only at the enterprise level, at the higher level, right? We need to empower as many b2b software sellers as companies to do this. So that’s one of the primary drivers we feel like in the long run, right? Letting people doing this free, and putting these demos and showing the product was residential. So if you have a product to showcase on your website, one demo free was for us, became like, hey, it is a big driver to continue the upsell into PLG, so that they can start using in different ways as well.

So that’s the reason why we went to free version, so that we can empower not just like enterprises materials, but also the startups right out there who can go with that. And so especially when you’re starting out, you want to show your product, and you have a landing pages today. Hey, it’s coming soon. But it’s always nice to put a product and say what it could be, right? And this is basically one of the big things about it. So, free came with that and started again, starting startup plans allows people with a simple credit card to swipe it and use it and test it, because it’s a new category being created in the space. It’s not something that we are taking a CRM and making a better CRM. People don’t know about this. People want something better, and you and they want to get an ROI to it.

It always starts with a simpler, easier version. You’re not going to swipe credit card for like $2,000-$3,000 right away, right? You want to start testing and start simple. So that’s why the startup plan for us the pricing model. So people can try, try out the product, solo creators, small teams, build it, put it on their website. And the moment they see ROI, they want to get a big, deeper integration. They want more interactivity in the demos. They want to sandbox. We drive them into the growth. And so now you start scaling into your organization, multiple teams as well.

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