saas.unbound is a podcast for and about founders who are working on scaling inspiring products that people love, brought to you by . I’m your host, Anna Nadeina, Head of Growth for

In episode #33, we talk with Nick Russell, Co-Founder and Director of Dualo, a knowledge management solution that empowers digital teams to make better and faster decisions. Their insights hub product was named a ‘must-have research tool in 2022’ by UX Planet, and they continue winning the market with an exceptional SaaS tool.

Building a Knowledge Management Solution

Nick Russell’s journey to co-founding Dualo, a knowledge management solution for digital teams, began with his own firsthand experience leading product teams at prominent companies like ASOS, Gusto, and The Telegraph. He realized that accessing key insights and learnings across an organization was a significant challenge, even for the best teams. This universal pain point inspired Nick and his co-founder, Dan, to come together during the pandemic and start building a solution that would empower digital teams to make better and faster decisions.

The early days of Dualo were marked by a deep dive into the psyche of potential users. Nick and his team conducted hundreds of interviews with product managers, designers, researchers, and other stakeholders to map out the challenges teams faced in turning customer insights into products and services. This extensive discovery process allowed them to develop a simplified mental model and methodology for streamlining the knowledge management process.


Challenges of Scaling a Startup

As a first-time founder team, Nick, Dan, and their technical co-founder, Mike, faced a steep learning curve in transitioning from building a product to building a sustainable business. While they had strong product and design expertise, they quickly realized they lacked the necessary skills to develop an effective go-to-market strategy and scale the company.

One of the biggest challenges was balancing the needs of larger enterprise customers with the feedback from smaller clients. Nick emphasizes the importance of maintaining a diverse customer base, rather than relying on a single large partner, to ensure the product remains relevant and adaptable to the wider market. This required a delicate balance of prioritizing customer feedback, aligning with the company’s long-term vision, and optimizing internal processes for efficiency and scalability.


Building a Long-Term Strategy

As Dualo transitioned from a startup to a scale-up, the team focused on refining and optimizing their core offering, while also developing a suite of complementary services to provide a more comprehensive solution for their customers. This “whole product” approach, as described by Nick, allows Dualo to tailor its offerings to the specific needs of each client, whether it’s the core insights repository product, coaching and training services, or concierge service to build the initial repository.

Additionally, the team has prioritized streamlining and automating various aspects of the business, from the product development and onboarding processes to the sales and marketing efforts. This includes leveraging AI and other technologies to enhance content creation and distribution, as well as implementing efficient outreach strategies like LinkedIn voice notes.

Throughout this journey, Nick emphasizes the importance of maintaining a strong, shared vision for the company and staying true to that vision, even as the business evolves. By keeping the long-term goal in mind and balancing customer feedback with the broader market needs, Dualo has been able to chart a sustainable growth trajectory.


Founder Challenges and Hacks

As a first-time founder, Nick has faced the rollercoaster of emotions and challenges that come with building a startup from the ground up. He shares the importance of developing a resilient mindset, celebrating small wins, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance to navigate the ups and downs.

One of the key hacks that has worked well for Dualo’s sales and outreach efforts is the use of LinkedIn voice notes. This personal touch has helped the team double their conversion rates on cold outreach, as it piques the curiosity of potential customers and allows them to connect on a more authentic level before the first call.

Nick’s advice to aspiring founders is to be prepared for the brutality of the startup journey, but also to embrace the opportunities for growth and learning that come with it. By surrounding yourself with a strong support network, maintaining a healthy mindset, and continuously adapting to the evolving needs of the business and market, founders can navigate the challenges and build a successful, sustainable venture.

Head of Growth,