ShowUhow raises $3M in series A funding

Faith Merino · August 30, 2010 · Short URL:

The Web-based instructional video company is backed by Syncom Venture Partners


Remember when you were little and for your birthday you got toys that were next to impossible to get out of the box?  Remember when you would finally get the toy out of the box, only to find out that it came with ridiculously complicated assembly instructions that may as well have been written in Sanskrit? is doing its part to ease that needless frustration by creating video instruction guides, and it has just received a vote of confidence in the form of $3 million in series A funding led by Syncom Venture Partners.  In addition, Price Club/Costco co-founder and former CompUSA chairman Giles Bateman has joined the ShowUhow board of directors.

The San Diego, Calif.-based startup’s premise is simple.  The company creates how-to videos that consumers can watch before buying a product to see what they’re getting themselves into (remember the toy that no one could figure out how to put together and was consequently abandoned?).

Displayed next to the instructional videos (see above image) are the name of the merchant offering the product, and customer service availability. While ShopUhow wasn't immediately available for comment, you can see that there's an obvious business model here in which ShopUhow can generate valuable leads for merchant partners.

After purchase, shoppers can use the video tutorials to help them assemble their new buy, thereby reducing customer frustration, product returns, and customer support calls, while improving sales.

ShowUhow’s Web-based video platform supports consumer electronics, appliances, business equipment, furniture, toys, and recreational goods, and brands using ShowUhow’s platform are being sold at major retailers, such as ToysRUs, Best Buy, and Costco. 

According to the company’s Web site, its online video platform takes the basic video guide one step further.  “Unlike basic video, ShowUhow’s platform helps consumers order parts, register products for warranty, and other related support requests. It also provides buyer analytics, such as meaningful consumer feedback and market research.”

Sample videos are even available on the Web site to “show you how” to use ShowUhow.

The problem that ShowUhow is addressing is a common one.  A shopper buys a complicated item that requires assembly, but can’t figure out how to put the pieces together and calls the manufacturer’s customer support line for help.  In a best-case scenario, the shopper spends an hour on the phone trying to get the facts straight, and is eventually able to put the product together.  In a worst-case scenario, the shopper gets put on hold for half-an-hour, only to end up talking to someone who is getting paid minimum wage to pretend to care, and really can’t even muster up enough energy for that.  Or -- even worse, the customer slogs through half an hour of automated voice messages only to never get his or her question answered at all.  According to the company’s Web site, poor customer support accounts for 10 to 20 percent of return rates, which is nearly double the average for retail items.

Other companies have popped up on the internet to provide Web-based instructions. offers a warehouse of online guides for everything from setting up your new Sony 32” flat panel color TV, to how to feed a pet hedgehog.  The site offers product-specific guides as well as instructions for do-it-yourself projects and other daily activities.  Unlike ShowUhow, however, does not offer video guides.

The Web offers a rich store of opportunities for businesses to provide interactive and user-friendly customer service and support, and ShowUhow’s new twist on the user manual may help businesses save money by taking advantage of web-based possibilities. 

Unfortunately, no one has yet come up with an easier way to get your kid’s Barbie out of the box

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