Startup Spotlight #106: HeadsUp

HeadsUp helps product-led-growth companies drive account expansion.

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I got the chance to speak with Momo Ong and Earl Lee, co-founders of HeadsUp, about what they are working on at their startup, and any advice they have for emerging entrepreneurs.

HeadsUp helps product-led-growth companies drive account expansion. HeadsUp unites customer data and uses that data to score customers, identifying leads that will close, customers that will churn, and upsell opportunities.

As employee #3 at FiscalNote (Series G, B2B SaaS), Lee built the MVP as a full-stack engineer, managed core products as a PM, and led the analytics function. As analytics lead, he built FiscalNote's data stack and worked directly with the CEO and Heads of Sales, Rev Ops, Customer Success, and Marketing to drive effective GTM using data. He also invested in early-stage enterprise software at Costanoa Ventures. Lee received his BS in Computer Science at Yale and completed half of his MS/MBA degree at Harvard before dropping out to found HeadsUp.

As a member of the executive team scaling FiscalNote, Ong had a court-side view of how the marketing, sales, and customer success teams were born and matured. As Head of Product also overseeing the analytics function, Momo worked closely with counterparts — VPs of Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success — to provide analytics support to each rapidly growing function. Ong was also a PM at Facebook and Head of Product at Beam (Series A micro-mobility). He specializes in the 0 to 1 stage, as well as leading and managing cross-functional teams. He graduated from Princeton with a major in Physics and a minor in Computer Science.

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Startup Spotlight: HeadsUp

Problem: With more data points recorded than ever for more users than ever, client-facing teams in product-led growth organizations face a massive signal-to-noise problem. Client-facing teams need to identify whom to engage, when to engage them, and how best to engage them.

Market: Our ideal customer profiles are series A and above product-led growth companies. However, this tool is applicable more generally to all B2B companies.

Solution: HeadsUp unites your data and scores your customers using that data, helping you identify leads that will close, clients that will churn, and upsell opportunities.

Team: Facebook, Google, Amazon, Airbnb, Square, and FiscalNote (unicorn B2B SaaS) team, who experienced and solved a similar problem at FiscalNote

Recent Success:

Ong and Lee: We think we've been really successful at navigating the idea maze in a fast and efficient manner. Our starting point in the maze was the problem we faced / solution we built while at FiscalNote. As we talked to over 300+ people in the industry, we iterated our product and the positioning to resonate with the two relevant "why nows" / tailwinds — a/ the rise of product-led growth and b/ the centralization of data within the cloud data warehouse. Learning speed is the most important determinant towards success at the 0-1 pre-product market fit stage, and we're proud to be doing that really well.

Recent Struggle:

Ong and Lee: Getting deep work done given that there are so many burning problems and so many things to do. When everything seems high priority, nothing really is, and there's insufficient prioritization. At the 0-to-1 stage for a SaaS product, the two most important things (and arguably the only two important things) are: building the product (figuring out what to build, designing it, and shipping it) and selling it (seeing how the market responds to the value prop and the positioning, and see whether the pain is sufficient for a purchase decision for the persona). Now, we look through our calendars daily and actively descope anything that doesn't fall into one of those buckets. This intentionality has allowed us to execute even faster through the idea maze towards product-market fit and business model fit.

Founder Advice:

Ong and Lee: As long as you are solvent, the only things that really matter are iterating on the product and iterating on the GTM motion. Prioritizing these two efforts will increase the velocity of progress through the idea maze. Startups are a race against time. One must get to product-market fit and business model fit before the money runs out, and such appropriate prioritization reduces chances of failure and maximizes upside.

Three Cool Founders You Should Know About:

Ong and Lee: Here are three founders you should check out next!

  • Tim Hwang, Founder of FiscalNote: FiscalNote is a technology and media company that provides information services and software that connects the world to their governments.

  • Josh Ma, Founder of Airplane: Airplane is creating a platform for engineers to build internal tools.

  • Ada Yeo, Founder of Shuffle: Shuffle surfaces the best ideas & stories found in podcasts.

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