2020 Year in Review

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TLDR;

  • January – February – Customers are happy, our business is up 29% and life is good!
  • March – OMG-OMG-OMG! We have paid over $75 Million to events that have not happened! Will we survive? Employees take a 50% cut in pay. Everyone stays and works twice as hard.
  • April – PPP! Virtual Races! Employees back to full pay.
  • May – July – Virtual Challenges! Looks like we are going to survive, and it seems we keep getting more new customers.
  • August – October – We have 50% more new customers on-boarding (average 185 new customers per week compared with 110 in 2019). Transactions are still down 10-25%, but we are picking up market share in endurance races and nonprofits.
  • September – We take a small Series A to take advantage of all of our competitors laying off staff and not releasing new software to help customers during the pandemic.
  • November – Thanksgiving registrations down from 530,000 in 2019 to 150,000 in 2020. But vaccines seem to be coming. Bruce Kratz joins as VP of Development taking over from Bob
  • December – While quieter than usual, we are starting to get more large new customers moving to our platform. We are growing the development team, and looking for a VP of Marketing to take over from Bob (whom we just found! – to be announced in January). Bob no longer has anything to do…

We broke our normally consolidated Year in Review into multiple parts. This one will focus on the business and market. We also did a 2020 Development Recap and a 2021 Product Roadmap.

Since we document things openly, we can take a look back at 20122013201420152016201720182019Q1Q2, and Q3. All of those yearly reports are pretty good. The quarterly reports this year record a very challenging year.

Here are the top level numbers for the year:

There was one exciting milestone we hit this year – $1 Billion. Since our beginning, we have helped our customers raise over $1 Billion. We hope to get to the point where we are helping our customers raise $1 Billion per year in the coming years.

Rather than recount the year (which we have done in those quarterly reports, but also in our weekly/monthly updates on the impact of COVID), let’s highlight it thru some high level observations from what we have learned and some visibility to where we are heading.

Our Customers Are Amazing

On March 15, we had paid races that had not yet happened $75 Million. That meant they and we had a potential of $75 Million due back to the people who had signed up for those races. Our customers processed over $10 Million of refunds, and we had less than $250,000 of chargebacks. The participants were also gracious – accepting Tens of Millions in conversions to virtual races and deferrals and just outright donations to help races and the many nonprofits behind them survive. It was a reminder during a very tough time about the reason why we are in this business of providing technology to endurance and nonprofit customers – everyone is nice!

Our Continuous Development Process Pays Off

One of the key assets of our company is our ability to deploy many releases per day with zero downtime (no downtime since 2015, and then only 8 minutes of planned downtime). This provided the infrastructure where we could pivot our development efforts completely to focus on helping our customers make it thru the pandemic. Managing refunds, deferrals, transfers. Building more virtual features and an entire challenge platform. Helping with reserves and chargebacks to provide a high level of visibility even when customers might not like the data. Building race day technology to help make virtual and challenge more compelling, and helping live races open back up with corral features, open start lines, remote timing and hands free checkin. We delivered over 2,000 new releases of our platform to our users.

Our Employees are Kick Ass

Of course none of this would have been possible without our incredible, highly skilled, highly motivated team. Even though we had pay cuts of 50%, every single person stepped up to deliver more than ever. We had more releases of the software, we on-boarded more new customers, we helped more customers than ever. We put out all sorts of information hubs for our customers and held several large scale (500-1,000) virtual training and sharing sessions. We keep track of the number of interactions our Sales, Account Management and Support teams have. We had over 100,000 interactions with customers.

The Support team keeps details on the number of incoming issues to the portal or info@ email. This year there were just over 30,000 (which generate about 1.4X that total number of interactions as some questions take more than 1 reply). That compares with last year of 18,000. While we added a person half way thru the year, we also had many others volunteer to jump in and help make sure we clear that queue of questions each day and maintain a less than 1 hour response time.

Best of all, everyone stayed. Everyone is back to full pay, and we have added a bunch of new folks – Amanda, Jake and Chris on the GiveSignup team, Allison C in support, and BruceRichJoel, and Justus in Development.

We Have More Customers Than Ever

One of the surprises of the summer was the realization that we were getting 50% more new customers per week (185 per week vs 110 per week last year). This was driven by several factors. First, we jumped on providing solutions early and became the defacto platform for virtual races and challenge events via a combination of work of mouth (thank you for recommending us!) and SEO from all the content we were putting out. Second, we had real technology for people to use to raise money and engage supporters virtually. Finally, we were fully staffed and were proactively trying to reach out to customers to suggest ways for them to get thru this tough time. As live events return, we will have gained market share and grow at an even higher rate than we were previous to the pandemic.

We are Better Financed for the Future

We took in about $3 Million in a small Series A financing at the end of September. While our valuation was only $30 Million, it gives us enough capital to make some strategic investments to position ourselves for rapid growth when live races and nonprofit events like galas, golf outings and pancake breakfasts return. We anticipate a much larger round of financing (at a better valuation in case you are a VC or PE professional reading this!) in 2022 when those live events are in full swing to fully embrace the opportunity in front us with…

GiveSignup

There is an incredible opportunity to bring our technology, self-serve based customer interaction model, and transaction based pricing business model to the nonprofit market. While we have plenty of growth ahead of us in the endurance market (we did $270M in transactions in 2019 out of a $1B market), nonprofit events and online giving represent an opportunity at least 50X that size. The market is served by marketing/sales driven firms without strong technology. Most nonprofits are paying subscription fees. And are held up by their vendors with exclusive contracts that lock them in to old technology. Just as we were a breath of fresh air to the endurance market 10 years ago, nonprofits are beginning to see GiveSignup as a real option to engage with their supporters.

We are going to be careful not to make the mistake of previous endurance market vendors who ignored the endurance market and went to a generic platform that did not serve their needs deeply enough. That is why we have a common database and single system with common services like transaction processing and payments, but built a separate ticket platform designed specifically for nonprofits just like our registration platform is designed for endurance events.

Our goal is to help our endurance customers raise $500 Million per year, and grow GiveSignup ticket and donation revenue for our nonprofit customers to a similar amount so in total we help our customers raise $1 Billion per year in the next 5-7 years. And even then, it will still be Day 1.

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