Sometimes people think we achieved our success easily or quickly. Actually, we are an 8 year overnight success…
As we close out our 8th year, we figured it would be interesting to take a look back.
Bob co-owned the Moorestown Running Company in the Spring of 2009, and put up a blog looking for a person to work at the store and be a web developer to work on this idea for RunSignUp. Fortunately, Stephen’s sister saw the blog from a store newsletter and encouraged Stephen to apply. He was a computer science student and was available for a summer job. During the summer of 2009 Stephen and Bob worked on getting a Beta up and running. Doug Sell Jr. was planning his high school class 10th reunion and wanted to do a 5K – so that was the first race to use RunSignUp on an experimental basis in August, 2009 – and it worked! So we left it up and Stephen went back to school and Bob did other projects. About 20 races started using it with no help from us – and it worked! And the rest appears in summary fashion below…
Stephen graduated a semester early in December, and joined Bob in January, 2010 to be the first employee of RunSignUp. Andrew Burke joined as the second developer part time in September. Andrew is the person you see if you hit a non-existing page on our website:
Jordan Desilets joined as our first customer support/sales full time in October since he was able to workout in the afternoon and he was training for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the Steeplechase.
Features – Registration, Club Membership, Coaching Log (Bob tried using this for coaching the high school XC team he helped coach), Partner Program for Timers (our first timers were David Lee of Lee Timing and Tom Kuhawlik of Hi-Tek Racing), Coupons, Questions, Store
The site was simpler then…
A Running Club page from 2010:
2011 was a year of maturing features. Stephen was also getting a Masters in Comp Sci that year so development progress slowed some. He graduated in 2012 and has used the additional knowledge to help make the site more scalable and secure, so a worthwhile investment.
Features – Age based Pricing, Family/Group Pricing, Multiple Charities, Fundraising, Teams, Move to the Cloud
The big work this year was creating a highly scalable infrastructure. Rich Friedman helped us with the design, and we culminated the testing with 50,000 registrations in 7 minutes (even though we had a TOTAL of 80,000 registrations in 2012). Here is the high level architecture documented in this white paper we published:
Features – Second Generation User Interface, Scalable RunSignUp, Participant Management (refunds and transfers), Results hosting, Results Notifications, Bib assignment, The Race Director and RunScore Integration, Open API, Graphical Reporting, Sponsor images, Gift Certificates
We really accelerated our business and technology in 2013. The scalable system caught the attention of larger races who had crashing websites. Bryan Jenkins joined the company and brought a lot of industry knowledge with him. He had a similar business philosophy about solving customer problems and creating a comprehensive solution for races. We grew the number of registrations from 80,000 to over 400,000.
We hit 99.9981% Uptime for the first time. Mobile users represented 37% of the traffic on the site back then. We really started earning respect in the industry for our scalable system and mobile leadership, as well as advanced solutions for timers as we built on the integrations with The Race Director and RunScore and offered kiosks.
Features – Mobile Responsive Design, Mobile 2.0, Teams 2.0, Race Calendar Widget for Running Stores and Clubs, Corporate Team Races, RaceDay Check-In and SignUp Kiosks, USATriathlon Insurance, MapMyRun, Clubs 2,0, Financial 2.0, Direct Payments, Reserved Entries, Super and Sub Events, Wizard 2.0, Multi-Race Director Access levels, Coupons 2.0, Video Help, Participant Report 2.0, Images, Referrals 1.0, Ad tracking, Technology Partner Program, Directions to Race, Account Sharing
Bryan is on the right and Jordan is on the left. And, yes the story is true that one of Jordan’s kids went up to Bryan thinking he was Daddy once…
We moved out of Bob’s dining room and into a real office in April, 2014. We are still here as of December 2017 on the second floor of a cool old mill building above an old time hardware store that is cheap and within walking distance from Bob’s house…
We also started our efforts to contribute to industry education with the start of our Case Study series as well as the first RunSignup Symposium, which has since grown into the second largest gathering of race directors and timers after Running USA. We also hit 100,000 registrations in a single month for the first time and a number of large races chose to use our services.
We also became the favorite registration system for timers as shown in this RunScore survey from 2014:
Features – Race Wizard 4.0, Race Dashboard 3.0, Volunteer System, Finisher Certificates, Results 2.0, Widget 2.0, Kiosk 2.0, Crowdrise, First Giving Integration, TXT Notifications 2.0, Question Logic, New Text Editor, Partner Dashboard, Groups & Fundraiser Teams, Fundraisers 2.0, Expo Mode, Sales Tax, Printing bib labels, Facebook SignUp App, Waiver Audit Trail, Sponsor Rewards, Series Scoring, Finish Line Video Result Integration, Time Zones, Loyalty Program, Results 3.0, USA Triathlon Upgrade
As we became a larger company, we gathered momentum and critical mass. We won two very large race series, that eventually led to Active suing those customers
and a lot of overhead for RunSignUp. Active also tried to scrape our race list information
and mistakenly thought our site was down when we cut them off. We had several interactions with them as they tried to reach out to our customers and tell them RunSignUp was unreliable. Nice.
On a more positive note, the RunSignUp Community donated over $100,000 to help the BOSTON Documentary get off the ground. The movie premiered at the 2017 Boston Marathon and is now available on Amazon
and many other on demand services.
We did our first two acquisitions in 2015 – The Race Director and RaceJoy. The purpose of both was to improve race day technology, and we have made continual improvements to both offerings since then, as well as kept them open to any registration or results system. We are currently writing a whole next generation of The Race Director, which is needed after 28 years. RaceJoy has become the defacto GPS Tracking solution in the market. Both Roger and James have become an important part of the company bringing years of industry and technology expertise.
Kevin Harris also joined in 2015 to become our Chief Financial and Operating Officer. His experience as a CPA and CFO of a public company as well as smaller technology companies has helped RunSignUp mature our financial and company operations so we can handle the growth and are good stewards of our customer’s money. He also led our move to become a Payment Facilitator – essentially part of the credit card network with the ability onboard sub-merchants directly so races are paid directly from the credit card network.
We also introduced a new generation of race websites with unprecedented control and flexibility for races. This also included yet another revision and modernization of our mobile offering with features like context aware keyboards. We are seeing 48% of traffic from mobile browsers in 2015.
Features – RaceJoy acquisition, The Race Director Acquisition, New Race Websites, New Club Websites, Mobile 3.0, Payment Facilitator, Enhanced Financial Reports, Native RunSignUp Email, Lottery/Waitlist 2.0, Partner Dashboard, Partner EMail, Donation & Fundraising 3.0, Advanced Corrals, Barcodes, RaceJoy GPS Timing Splits, Payment Accounts, Waiver per registrant, Missing Waiver Email List, Email Data Tags, Transfer to other races, Enhanced Partner Reporting and YOY Graphs, Coupons 3.0, Offline Check-In App, Email Scheduling, Detailed Secure Access and Sharing, Multi-race bundles, Standard Questions Saved for future races, TXT Messaging for races, RunSignUp Disaster Recovery Plan (thank goodness we have not had to use it), Participant Heatmap, Participant Cap Price Increases, Live Leaderboards, Club Emails, Partner Websites with custom domain, Secure Credit Card Storage, RaceJoy Self-Serve and Map Building, Fast Registration (One Click).
This may seem silly, but one of the biggest advancements we made in 2016 was moving to AWS Aurora. This new database architecture allows us unlimited scalability, near perfect fault tolerance and easy maintenance. The ensuing years have proven this to be the case.
We also initiated development and Beta on our Free Photo Platform that included true technology innovations like automated bib recognition and time alignment for finish line photos.
We also crystalized our vision for RaceDay Go – our platform for race day technologies.
Of course the bummer of 2016 was being added to the Active lawsuit
. Oh, and spending $892K on defending ourselves. Nice. Fortunately Bob has the resources to be able to handle it and infused $1M into the company
so we could keep pushing forward for our customers. URun was our largest customer by far in 2016, and they settled and moved back to Active after a year and a half of fighting the lawsuit. Fortunately we made up the loss of 800,000 registrations in 2017 with new, more profitable customers and have fully recovered.
– Fundraising 4.0, Referral Rewards with Auto Refunds and Auto Coupons, Native Check-In App, Native SignUp App with Card Swiper, Enhanced Facebook Sharing, Results Kiosk App, Secure Information option for SSN or Driver License material, Refunds for Group Size, Fundraiser Refunds, 1-Click Registration, Email Reporting, Allianz Event Registration Insurance, RaceTec Integration, Automated Emails for Price Increases and Incomplete registrations, Race Countdown Widget, Participant Cap Widget, Instagram feed on race websites, Shipping Address Validation, Customizable Event Details, Strike-thru pricing
As each year has passed, each year gets better. 2017 saw us grow to 31 total people in a very efficient organization. We brought on 3 senior User Experience developers as we look to implement our User Experience Manifesto
. Eric Cone, founder and former CEO of RaceIT also joined us to help with business development and strategy. We also were lucky our summer intern, Jeff Kohart, from 2016 came back as a full time developer. Kevin Lai joined us to help with weekend support and Bob’s daughter Allison joined as well continuing the family feel of RunSignUp.
We also achieved PCI Level 1 for the first time. This involved a very thorough audit – both a week onsite as well as extensive manual and automated testing that lasted over a month. And we just went thru it again here at the end of 2017 for certification in early 2018. This has caused us to formalize a number of processes, like have complete 100% code reviews and monthly system upgrades along with multiple monitoring systems. This all makes our system more reliable and secure and assure customers they are doing everything they can when they have their participants register on RunSignUp.
We also released our first Race Registration Trends Report
in collaboration with Running USA and Peter Abraham
. It included many suggestions that will help guide races. And with the second report coming in February, 2018, we will be providing a historical perspective that is the deepest analysis of trends in the industry.
is the most visually impacting and technically advanced release we have done this year. RaceInsights is like Google Analytics, but is purpose built for races. It tells you where your registrations and donations are coming from – which emails, which websites, which Facebook ads, etc. so you can pinpoint what is working and what is not. Track coupons, demographics, referral rewards and more in one set of dashboard graphs that are easy to use and understand.
RunSignUp CRM is starting to get a new User Experience, giving race directors a fuller view of their participants, donors and fundraisers.
Oh, and in the continuing Active saga, they sued us because some of our customers called their events Couch to 5K
Features – Sponsor Management, Facebook Custom Audiences, RaceJoy Monitoring, RaceJoy Off course alerts, RaceJoy Replay, RaceJoy real time messaging, RaceJoy Gamification, RaceJoy Geo-Cheer, RaceDay Scoring Alpha, Email Templates, Dropbox Results Automated Uploads, Sponsor Analytics, Sponsor Offers, Timer Dashboard, COPPA Child Privacy, Series Scoring 2.0, Tons of new UX – Results, Individual Results, Profile, Race Dashboard, CRM View, Registration Flow and more.
Thanks to all of our customers who have helped us grow – giving us suggestions and recommending RunSignUp to our friends! We look forward to the next few decades!