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What Is Pendo For Startups? In-depth review & 3 alternatives

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    Home / User Onboarding / What Is Pendo For Startups? In-depth review & 3 alternatives

    In 2020, Leading digital adoption platform Pendo announced that they offer a limited version of their product for a discount price to startups and very small companies.

    This has been great news to early-stage businesses that knew Pendo's power, but couldn't afford it.

    But how effective is this "Pendo For startups"?

    Is it really affordable to only seed-funded companies?

    I am here to share the details of my research on these topics. So in this article, I will:

    • Explain what Pendo For Startups is and which features it includes,
    • Talk about how to qualify for Pendo For Startups,
    • Analyze whether the offer really is worth it,
    • And dig deep into the top three alternatives to Pendo For Startups.


    • Pendo For Startups is Pendo's discount deal for startups that aren't past their seed funding.
    • The deal comes with three of Pendo's many features: Pendo Insights for data, Pendo Sentiment for feedback, and Pendo Guidance for walkthroughs.
    • This deal costs $7000/year if you sign an annual contract, and $8000 if you sign a quarterly contract.
    • The best alternative to Pendo for Startups is UserGuiding since UserGuiding provides more features, better customer support, and easier set-up for a much more affordable pricing.
    • You can even start your 14-day-trial with UserGuiding right away and see it for yourself.
    • Other alternatives include Userlane and Appcues.

    What Is Pendo For Startups?

    Pendo is an enterprise-level product adoption and user engagement tool located in North Carolina, and "Pendo For Startups" is Pendo's discount deal that includes only three of Pendo's features.

    While Pendo claims to be a fully no-code tool, it takes at least one dedicated tech-savvy employee to handle the set-up and maintenance of Pendo. Having said that, Pendo introduces their "for startups" platform as a no-code platform that makes it easier to set up and maintain the in-app guidance.

    Pendo also promises to give startups the most discounted and affordable quotes possible so that "you can be confident you’re making the right product decisions and show users your software’s true value from day one". (Quote source)

    But what does Pendo offer for that discounted price?

    Three features only.

    Not bad features, though. Here are the details:

    What Features Are Included In Pendo For Startups?

    PS: for a complete feature adoption process, you need two things - data that you collect from your users, and support at every single step of their onboarding process.

    Pendo Insights

    Pendo insights provides in-depth analytics about product usage, user behavior, in-app guides usage, and other actionable data.

     Even though it is a fact that Pendo's analytics feature is known to be amazing, Pendo doesn't clarify whether Startup Pack users will be able to access all analytics features or not.

    What we do know is that there are no integration options for this package, but you can request it as an add-on and enhance your analytics by adding Google Analytics data into Pendo's product analytics.

    Pendo Sentiment

    Pendo sentiment is simply the customer feedback collection and surveying feature, which helps you evaluate user experience and enhance the data you extract from Pendo Insights.

     Using Pendo Sentiment, you can benefit from these surveying types:

    Pendo Guidance

    Pendo guidance lets you create in-app product tours to enhance the product experience. To be honest, this feature is the standalone feature that differentiates Pendo from the other analytics tools.

     This feature enables you to:

    • Create step-by-step walkthroughs,
    • Benefit from tooltips,
    • And send in-app announcements and messages.

    While combining data and guidance with Pendo is a game changer, there are 2 downsides to this feature:

    1. The step-by-step tours are static and hard to customize. So if you are looking for an onboarding sequence that will fit right in with your product and accelerate adoption rates, Pendo will give you a hard time.
    2. The guides are only triggered once, and can't be embedded into a checklist or resource center. So if you have slow learners among your end-users, your support line will remain busy - even though you paid for the help that Pendo provides.

    And I must say that even though this limited-feature pack is for startups, the price is hardly.

    Pendo For Startups Pricing

    Pendo for startups costs $8000/year if you sign a quarterly contract, and the same deal costs $7000 on a yearly contract.

    The good news is: Pendo has another plan - Pendo Free - that is free of charge for up to 1000 MAU (monthly active users).

    The bad news is: according to user feedback and discussions on the internet, Pendo charges $2000/year for the Guidance feature only.

    Another user claimed that Pendo quoted $30,000+/year, but they decided to go with the startup package, which cost them $12,000 + $1500 integration fee for the first year, and $15,000 for the following years.

    So as you can see, Pendo is quite expensive, and Pendo for startups is very affordable compared to the enterprise level. But, this doesn't change the fact that Pendo for startups is still expensive and very much above the average.

    How Do You Qualify For Pendo For Startups?

    You qualify for Pendo for Startups if you have:

    • A web or mobile application,
    • Two or fewer products,
    • And 100 or fewer employees.

    You can apply for the startups package whether or not you fulfill these qualifications. If you don't, then Pendo promises to find a good pricing and feature fit for your company.

    Is Pendo For Startups Worth It?

    It is a fact that Pendo is an amazing tool in terms of combining guidance and analytics. Provided that "Pendo For Startups" offers those features as well, it is sure a strong tool to have for customer success and product teams to have.

    But there are downsides to this deal as well, such as:

    Not the most affordable

    Pendo for startups costs nearly $1,000/month for only three features. Even though those features are surely top-tier, it doesn't justify the pricing.

    💡 Instead, you could get Mixpanel for $25/month + UserGuiding for $89/month.

    This way, you will have specialized teams at the end of the customer support line, and more features than Pendo For Startups.

    Very limited amount of features

    As I already mentioned, the set Pendo provides for the startup plan is very limited. It doesn't include a resource center, decent customization options, or funnel reports - which most other affordable Pendo competitors do.

    Limited to very small companies

    This deal is limited to companies that are behind series-a funding. If you are past this point, you will have to pay the full price, which can be two to ten times higher.

    Top Alternatives To Pendo For Startups

    1. UserGuiding
    2. Userlane
    3. Appcues

    Let's go over each tool, compare it to Pendo for Startups, and see positive and negative reviews from actual users. Our first tool is:

    1- UserGuiding vs Pendo For Startups

    UserGuiding is a no-code product adoption platform that doubles down on customer and user onboarding with powerful in-app elements.

    This product tour for ClickUp was made with UserGuiding

    If you are looking for user onboarding, UserGuiding will provide you with all that you need, and it will do it for affordable pricing.

    It has all the features to create a complete user onboarding experience.

    In addition to product tours, tooltips, and in-app surveys like Pendo’s, UserGuiding has

    • User Onboarding Checklists,
    • Hotspots,
    • Resource Centers,
    • In-Depth Analytics,
    • And custom user segments.

    Unlike Pendo for Startups, UserGuiding is an easier and much more capable tool for creating user onboarding experiences, improving product engagement, and accelerating key feature usage.

    youtube guide gif

    Compared to Pendo’s 5-figure packages for the core product and the $2000 cost of just the “Guides” feature alone, UserGuiding’s starting price of $1068/year or $89/month is much more affordable for all businesses.

    Especially since the product is easy to set up too, your deployment costs are very low with its fair pricing.

    UserGuiding Pricing

    • 14-day free trial (no credit card required)
    • Basic Plan: $89/month when billed annually for up to 2500 MAU
    • Professional Plan: $389/month when billed annually for up to 20000 MAU with unlimited guides
    • Custom Quotation Available for Larger Companies

    UserGuiding Reviews

    👍 Pros:

    “The Predefined templates and texts that we could already publish without changing a thing. Undying help from the Support team and how they give insights into what works best and share best practices.”

    👎 Cons:

    “Having to monitor ourselves if something is breaking. (Wish we could add alerts or notifications if a certain guide breaks after it’s live. This possibly is in the roadmap).”

    Pendo UserGuiding
    Starting Price $8000-12000/year $89/month
    G2 Rating 4.6⭐️ 4.7⭐️
    Interactive Walkthroughs
    Onboarding Checklists
    Announcement Modals/Banners
    NPS Surveys
    In-Product Surveys
    In-App Resource Center Pro Plans Only
    Avg. Deployment Time ≈ 1 Month 15 Minutes
    User Segmentation
    User Analytics
    Multi-Language Support
    User Tracking Pro Plans Only
    Knowledge Base Integration
    Product Analytics Pro Plans Only
    Custom Dashboards Pro Plans Only
    Learning Curve 😟 Steep 😄 Smooth

    2- Pendo For Startups vs. Userlane

    Along with its User Onboarding and Product Adoption features, Userlane also offers automated Employee Training.

    Pendo For Startups vs. Userlane

    You can use Userlane to onboard vendors, customers, users, and employees to your products.

    Userlane is not one of those complex software that requires technical knowledge. Its implementation is not difficult at all, and its price is optimal for recently established businesses with low budgets.

    If you are considering Pendo as an employee training tool, you can cut costs and speed up the training processes with automation by using Userlane instead.

    Userlane Pricing

    Userlane offers custom prices for each customer as they believe“that custom pricing is the best way to effectively serve such a diverse customer base“. You can contact Userlane to learn the cost of your customized plan.

    Userlane Reviews

    👍 Pros:

    “At least at the start, we had a really responsive and helpful Customer Success person. Their team has also done a good job reaching out to us for feedback.”

    👎 Cons:

    “We don’t have a huge number of users, and it’s difficult to filter out internal users, which makes interpreting the usage analytics rather difficult.”

    3- Pendo For Startups vs Appcues

    Appcues, as one of the first user onboarding tools on the market, offers much more comprehensive user onboarding features compared to Pendo.

    what is appcues

    The tool is beautifully designed for non-technical people to create and track in-app elements they use for their onboarding flows.

    With various features and in-depth customization complemented with ready-to-use templates, the tool has everything you need to create power users as quickly as possible. But even though Appcues claims to be a no-code tool, you will still need technical knowledge to fully benefit from the tool.

    As for the pricing, even though Appcues charges above the market average, it is still more affordable than Pendo for Startups. So if you need onboarding features more than analytics, Appcues will be a better alternative to Pendo for Startups.

    Appcues Pricing

    • The Essentials Package of Appcues starts at $249/month when billed annually with 2500 MAU.
    • The Growth Package of Appcues starts at $879/month when billed annually, again at 2500 MAU.
    • The Enterprise Package of Appcues doesn’t have public pricing, so you need to get a custom quotation.

    Appcues Reviews

    👍 Pros:

    “Appcues makes our work much easier and helps us connect in a better way with our users. I highly recommend working with Appcues.”

    👎 Cons:

    “This has led to some frustrating moments or awkward presentations where I’ve struggled to get the app to behave. Overall, this hasn’t been a large blocker to seeing success with the app.”

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Pendo For Startups Free?

    No, Pendo for startups is not free. It is a discounted plan for startups and small companies that only offers analytics and product tours.

    Is Pendo open-source?

    No, Pendo is not an open-source solution. It is a B2B SaaS platform that provides user engagement and employee adoption solutions.

    What are the best Pendo alternatives for startups?

    Since startups need the most effective and necessary features for the minimum price, UserGuiding would be the best alternative to Pendo for startups. Other than that, Userlane and Appcues could be considered.

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