By Anna Lardinois, Startup Storyteller
Serial entrepreneur, Dustin Overbeck, got the idea for his company, HeyGov when he was struggling to receive payments from government municipalities in the early days of the pandemic.
Overbeck is also the owner of Town Web Design, a company that creates websites for small municipalities across the country. Founded in 2007, the design company has one of the largest local government client bases in the nation. Over the years, Overbeck adapted to his clients’ reliance on paper-based procedures and paper-check transactions.
That is, until his clients were no longer able to access the physical records they relied upon to conduct business.
“For two months we (Town Web Design) had zero cash flow because 99.9% of our customers were municipalities and they physically could not have a quorum. They weren’t having meetings. They need two people to sign off on those checks. And so, our cash flow went to near nothing until people were able to finally meet and then actually physically cut those checks,” Overbeck recalled.
He knew every transaction going through the small organizations was similarly delayed.
In this obstacle, Overbeck saw an opportunity to help municipalities modernize their transactions. He began working on a tool that would make it attainable for organizations with limited budgets and little technical staff to accept applications and payments online.
Launched in 2021, Overbeck’s HeyGov allows municipalities to accept applications and credit card payments in secure online transactions. The revenue-generating company has a rapidly growing number of clients in municipalities across the state.
The pandemic provided the inspiration for the product, and it also eliminated one of the key roadblocks to implementing a solution- resistance to change. The overnight adoption of Zoom and other remote work tools created an environment that opened the door for new technologies, like HeyGov.
HeyGov made news statewide when it won first place in the Information Technology division of the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest (BPC) in 2022. The win came with mentoring, publicity, and perhaps most importantly, connections.
Through the process, Overbeck connected with Milwaukee native David Reeves, who made his own headlines when the Silicon Valley based company he led, OpenGov, moved its headquarters to Milwaukee. Reeves, now the Executive-in-residence at Marquette University, was president of the cloud-based software company that creates software for government agencies.
“After I won the contest, I reached out to him,” Overbeck said of Reeves. “This guy was running a company that’s like a million times bigger than HeyGov was, and he was generous enough to get on a couple of Zoom and phone calls with me. I found that so helpful. In a very short time, he gave me some big picture strategies and advice that I hadn’t yet considered. He’s connected me with other resources in the state.”
After his win, Overbeck also enrolled in the University of Wisconsin business accelerator, Ideadvance.
“I look forward to meeting with Idella (Dr. Idella Yamben) and the rest of the team because I’m learning a lot and I really feel like the growth that we’ve had in the last six months has been in big part to the BPC, which then led to Ideadvance,” Overbeck said.
Beyond the business coaching and mentoring, Ideadvance has provided HeyGov with a $25,000 grant to support scaling efforts.
HeyGov is also part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Qualified New Business Venture program. The program was created to drive investment into early-stage companies that show the potential to create next-generation economic opportunity in Wisconsin. Overbeck stated the program helped him raise a pre-seed funding round of $200,000 in September 2022.
HeyGov is planning on a year of high growth for 2023. The company is highly focused on providing payment solutions to its customers and refining the way it tells its story.
“I knew copywriting was important. I’m more of a product guy, but once we were telling the story about how it (HeyGov) works and how it’s different, benefits people, and what it can do- it was just like flipping a switch. The quotes were being signed. We’re getting more orders. We’re having more people attend our webinars and it improved the revenue. For 2023, we’ll still focus and double down on payments, Wisconsin customers, refining the copywriting,” he said.
Overbeck’s ambitious goal for the year is to grow HeyGov fivefold by the close of the year.
To follow the progress of this Wisconsin-based business with customers throughout the state, click here.