Start-up in Focus

The GPS of the Web World

As more and more elements of our lives move over to the Internet, Israeli start-up WalkMe offers to lead us by the hand through the often confusing process of navigating websites.

How often have you found yourself lost in the maze of a website without a clue how to proceed? One Israeli start-up aims to offer a way out.

"The idea is to give the website owner a tool that will enable him to create step-by-step guides that site users can use in real time, just like using GPS," says Rafi Sweary, the president of WalkMe ( ).

WalkMe's dialogue boxes navigate users to the correct part of the screen, explain what they need to do - click the mouse, fill in a field in a form, etc. - and then move on to the next step.

"Over the past 15 years, a large part of our lives has moved to the Internet - income tax, work, financial management. There is a lot of self-service," Sweary says. "It's reached the point where users have to sit at the computer and try to figure out what the web developer was thinking. Most companies keep adding more and more features so that users have to lean forward, read carefully, and really concentrate to understand what they're supposed to do.

"Our software makes every process intuitive, easy and foolproof," he says. "We turn 'lean forward' into 'lean back.'"

WalkMe was established in 2011 by Eyal Cohen, Yuval Shalom, Dan Adika and Sweary. Previously, Sweary established the software firm Jetro Platforms, which was acquired in 2008 by the RDT group. WalkMe, which has 20 employees in its offices in Tel Aviv, raised $1 million recently from Mangrove Capital Partners. The price for its services ranges from free (for three "Walk-Thrus" - the company's term for step-by-step website guidance ), to $97 per month (up to 10 Walk-Thrus ), to $975 per month (up to 40 Walk-Thrus and 30,000 assists ). In order to use the service, site owners must add a line of code to their website that connects it to WalkMe's servers, which are located in the Amazon Cloud.

Sweary says that thousands of websites are already preparing Walk-Thrus for users that are based on WalkMe's service, and that hundreds of websites have already begun using the service, which launched last April. Well-known sites that use WalkMe's service include 21Diamonds, one of the largest online jewelry stores in the world, and, one of the United States' largest loan and debt-consolidation websites. Israeli sites that use WalkMe include Clarizen and SohoOS.

In addition to the guided Walk-Thrus, the website owners receive WalkMe's statistics service, designed to enable them to spot weak points on their sites. "They can see what step the users simply don't carry out - for example, whether the process was stopped at the registration stage, or the moment the customer saw the price. In addition, they can see how users from various demographics - different countries, for example - use the site differently," Sweary says.

This month, WalkMe will begin operations in Silicon Valley, with several American employees and with CEO Dan Adika at the helm. "Our goal is to work with the biggest brands on the Internet," Sweary says. "As far as we're concerned, we should be on every website that asks users to type in a username and password. Companies are trying to lead their users toward self-service, but for that to happen they need a very comfortable user experience. That's where we come in."