Sub Club
Sub Club
May 5, 2021
From Sleep Devices for NFL Athletes to a $500k ARR Subscription App — Leon Sasson, Rise Science
Play • 52 min

Our guest today is Leon Sasson, Co-Founder & CTO at Rise Science, a company dedicated to helping people overcome sleep challenges, feel better, and be more productive.

Since its inception in 2014, Rise has primarily focused on elite athletes, helping some of the top NFL, NBA, and college football teams with their sleep. But in 2019 they decided to enter the consumer subscription space, which became even more important in 2020 as COVID challenged their B2B model. Leon and the team at Rise went from no experience in consumer subscriptions in late 2019 to over $500k in ARR today.

In this episode, you’ll hear about:

  • The blurring line between B2B and consumer SaaS
  • A/B testing and subscription lifestyle analysis
  • How to create a fantastic onboarding experience for your users

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David Barnard:

Jacob Eiting:

Leon Sasson:

Here’s the Outline of Our Interview with Leon:

(1:25) Leon’s background in sleep research and the founding of Rise; FitBit.

(3:38) Rise started as a solution for elite athletes; the NFL; sleep hardware devices.

(4:38) How the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Rise to switch to consumer subscriptions.

(5:26) The difference between the B2B product and the Rise app.

(7:13) Pre-launch user cohorts and test strategies; TestFlight; Typeform.

(9:36) How Apple responded to the switch from B2B to consumer app; Notion; the Apple App Review process.

(11:32) Selling digital services to enterprises; Salesforce.

(16:01) How other products are investing in enterprise; Slack; Calm; Headspace; Kaiser Permanente.

(18:08) App user licenses; Family Sharing; Business vs. Personal SaaS.

(23:00) User onboarding best practices; Leon’s controversial opinion on adding friction.

(32:18) A/B testing and statistical significance; user research.

(39:31) Simultaneous experiments; R.

(41:52) The downstream effects of A/B experiments; counter-metrics; monthly subscriptions and free trials.

(47:57) Subscription lifecycle analysis; RevenueCat charts; Amplitude.

(50:00) Pricing consumer apps; the freemium model.

(51:56) Connect with Leon on Twitter or by email at leon@risescience.


“The most important thing you can do for your health and energy during the day is sleep.” - Leon

“I would suggest to anybody who’s in that pre-launch phase, if you can get some situation … where you have a trickle of users and you can start to make decisions integrated with user feedback, that’s so much better than flying blind.” - Jacob

“The activation energy of one consumer subscriber is so much lower than one enterprise deal.” - Jacob

“You need to figure out who’s the person that buys your product at a company—and what do they care about and what do they need to justify the budget? And if you do, it’s great because they can pay more than consumers. And I think that’s sort of the holy grail. You can sell the same product for more expensive because they get more value [out of your product].” - Leon

“There are ways to sell services outside of the App Store. It’s just generally a way worse experience for users.” - Leon

“The [purpose] of onboarding is never to show people how to use the app. People don’t really want a tutorial—if you need a tutorial, it’s too complicated. They just want to know how what you’re doing and what your product is doing affects their lives and why they should care about it.” - Leon

“The key for your onboarding … is that you match intent to friction. Part of the reason best practices around onboarding are to reduce friction is because people come into so many apps with so much less intent… You just have to match that.” - David

“Testing is not going to make a great product. Having a really good A/B testing organization and team that can A/B test is not going to lead to the best product ever.” - Leon

“You can much more easily A/B test your way into a bad product than into a good product if product isn’t the focus around the testing.” - David

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