• Naomi Goez

Keye

Four Wharton MBA Candidates are reinventing access to subscription-based software through a centralized platform, Keye, so you can stop sharing passwords with your roommates.

Let’s begin with a brief exercise:

  1. Scroll through your home screen, emails, and bookmarked sites.

  2. Count the number of subscription related items that you find.

  3. Estimate the total amount you spend on these items.

If you are anything like the average American, you likely spend ~$237/month across 13-17 subscription services.


When Keye Co-Founder, Rohan Parikh, realized he had maximized subscription hacking and gamifying (with an impressive 200+ free trials under his belt), he realized subscription consolidation may simplify how we interact with a wide range of software.

A rapidly growing market filled with pricing and utilization dissatisfaction.


The subscription product market is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years, with companies estimating 80% of their digital offerings will shift to a subscription model this year alone. However, consumers are reportedly suffering from subscription fatigue: based on Deloitte Insights’ research, 40% of Millennials and 30% of Gen X and Z say they are already overwhelmed by their subscription count. The core issues faced by the subscription service industry span across all stages of customer acquisition and retention:

  1. Two out of three 19-35 year olds surveyed by Keye will not sign up for new services due to the inconvenience of managing free trials and subscriptions.

  2. Keye’s surveys suggest that 87% of current students and those who graduated within the last two years are reluctant to share personal information across multiple platforms.

  3. ~67% of those who cancel after the free trial period cite pricing as the reason.

  4. Customer acquisition costs to retain users who are dissatisfied with cost or claim service underutilization result in LTV/CAC < 2, compared to SaaS industry standard of 3+.

This reality contributes to business’ inability to acquire and retain non-superusers who form a wide consumer base. Keye is built to serve infrequently active users and therefore plays a complementary role to the subscription services it partners with.


Keye is looking to “empower consumers by giving them on-demand access to technologies that improve all parts of their lives at the best possible value”.


The platform serves as a one-stop-shop for flexible subscription software access without long-term commitment. Users pay a single subscription fee to get access to all Keye partners through a fixed number of monthly credits that can be spent across services.



A diversified path to profitability.


Keye is going to market with two revenue streams: user-based subscription fees and affiliate fees collected from partners when Keye users convert into full-time subscribers. At scale, the team hopes to help partners improve their own product by providing paid data analytics and leveraging Keye’s platform to launch partners’ beta software for quick consumer feedback.


Partners are showing interest while the team is gaining momentum on campus.


Keye has onboarded seven partners and is expecting to expand its offering to include 20 partners by mid April, 2022. Current partners are: Omnicourse, Spoke.app, HotStep, Quake Media, Nalaverse, Transkriptor, and Marble.


In the meantime, Keye has also been selected to join the Spring 2022 Batch of the Wharton Accelerator Program (VIP-X) and has won pitch competitions including the Contrary Capital UPenn Pitch Night (Audience Choice Award) and the Startup Week Pitch Night (Judge’s and Audience’s Choice Awards) organized by the Wharton Entrepreneurship Club. Additionally, the team has been awarded the Penn Innovation Fund’s Validation and Implementation Award, as well as the Lauder Institute’s Jacobson Venture Award.


From a community spreadsheet to a dream team.


From left to right: Ruthwick, Paolo, Niha, Rohan


Keye’s four co-founders, Rohan Parikh, Paolo Fornasini, Niha Gottiparthy, and Ruthwick Patthireddy found each other on Wharton’s incoming class entrepreneurship spreadsheet, and were able to immediately identify their complementary skills.


Paolo, Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships, spent the last 6 years working on monetization strategies in the Sales & Partnerships group at Google. Ruthwick, Co-Founder and Head of Engineering, graduated from the California Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and joined Two Sigma’s startup practice. Niha, Co-Founder and Head of Product, was a Senior Product Manager at successful startups like Zynga and TubiTv. Rohan, Co-Founder and Head of Business Development and Operations, is a former consultant at Accenture, led a Sales and Trading team at Natixis, and worked in Credit Research at S&P.


What's next for Keye?


Keye is currently launching its V-2 beta phase to a select number of participants. V-1 rollout revealed highly encouraging figures in terms of value add to both partners and end users: 33% of users chose to convert to full-time subscriptions, and 75% of total users shared that Keye was their first exposure to partner platforms. This data suggests that Keye keeps churned customers in the loop while serving as a discovery and exploration channel for partnered software. “We are thrilled at the prospect of supporting students by simplifying access to content platforms, and can already see the positive impact Keye makes on its current user base,” Rohan shared. “Our team is excited to build the go-to tool for students everywhere and to create a partnership focused ecosystem across the value chain.”


To join Keye’s beta waitlist check out: www.keye.co.

To find out more about partnership compatibility connect with the team via: partnerships@keye.co.

Keye will begin fundraising in Q2, 2022. For fundraising related inquiries, connect with the team via: contact@keye.co




Tags: