Amazing how time flies – we are heading into our 10th year! It reminds me of a Bill Gates quote:
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
We never thought we would be processing over $210 Million of money for races and non-profits in a year back when we started in 2010. We never conceived our platform would cover an entire race lifecycle with things like an advanced analytics engine tracking each click that happens on race websites, or a photo platform that hosts millions of photos, or automated viral marketing features, or scoring software that provided over 8,000,000 people finishing times, or help non-profits raise money via advanced fundraising technology, all tied together with a single CRM.
Our motto from the beginning was about Continuous Improvement. Bob became a believer in this from his college running days – do 5 miles in the morning and 10 in the afternoon for 4 years and you can get pretty good. At RunSignup, we get our work done every day in a company built to make incremental improvements. Since we document things, we can take a look back at 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Q1, Q2, and Q3 and see that incremental progress.
2018 has been an amazing year for us. As Bryan Jenkins says “We are a 10 year overnight success”:
- 17,686 Races
- 5,014,413 Registrations (with millions more imported)
- $211,469,219 of Transactions
Looking at things over the years, it has been a fun ride:
And from a simple registration to the complete lifecycle:
In recognition of the progress we have made, we figured it was time for a face lift. You may have noticed our new logo and website. It is meant to represent the full lifecycle of our offering that is meant to elevate your event. We take our technology seriously here and view it as an art form. Totally unique and made for our customer’s benefit. We partnered with two photographers (Focal Flame and Lucid Images) to capture the beauty of the endurance community. You will see us represent this more in 2019 as we will also unveil original illustration artwork on our website, a major upgrade from our “Ron Signup” mascot for the first 9 years. Here is an example of what is coming:
We have a great 2019 planned. While things may change and we might not get everything done we want to in this year, but we have our foundation set for the next 10 years where we again hope to overachieve.
As can be seen from the numbers above, we grew about 20% from about 4 Million to 5 Million registrations (our key metric) and from about $170M to $210M of transaction volume. Doing this in an industry with an overall stagnant to slightly downward trend is due to the fact that we continue to pick up market share. As we have stated in the past, our focus on being a technology supplier to our customers gives us a clear mission that is easy for customers to understand. We have natural advantages over larger competitors because of that focus and our scale is providing us a natural advantage over smaller competitors.
Efficiency is one of the things we have thought about from the very beginning. Many of those investments like over 100 How To videos, or automated payment processing and reconciliation, or advanced underwriting technology, or fraud prevention, or fully hands-free referral rewards and team size price refunding are paying dividends today. We benchmark ourselves against Blackbaud and Eventbrite since they are both public companies. They are both about $250K of revenue per employee, while we are $322K of revenue per employee (actually a bit higher since we just added almost 20% to our employee count as we make sure we have enough bandwidth to handle our planned growth in 2019). This means we can grow without customer disruption, and we can offer lower prices than our competitors.
Our plan for 2019 calls for growth of about 15%. This is reasonable given the general decline in the endurance market and as we hit 25%+ market share. We may have some upside to this if some of our predictions of smaller competitors not being able to sustain themselves anymore given the high cost of security and payment processing compliance as well as the large technology expectations from customers who expect a full platform like RunSignup.
Strategically, we are well positioned as a profitable, employee owned company. We do not suffer from having to meet any short term expectations. We plan to grow from expanding market share in the endurance market and also trying to help the many non-profit customers we have who are asking for our help (more on that below).
In the spirit of Continuous Improvement, we had 1,324 releases of our software in 2018. Yes, we upgrade the capabilities multiple times per day (11 last Friday when we released the new website for example!). This all happens with 0 downtime (knock on wood, but the last time we were down was a planned outage in 2015). The system is actually upgraded between your mouse clicks! There are too many improvements to mention in this format, but here are some highlights.
We have made tremendous advancements on our User Experience and exposing the power of our CRM database in 2018. We are trying to make our powerful product easier to use, and to provide our customers with the information they need to run their races well.
We just released the new Partner Dashboard, and it will start to appear in other places like your race dashboard in 2019.
We provide a holistic approach to CRM – giving race directors and non-profits powerful participant management capabilities in addition to the powerful viral marketing tools of Referral Rewards, Team and Fundraiser incentives, automated emails and Swag Rewards. New CRM filtering capabilities allow races and non-profits to engage with participants, donors and fundraisers in meaningful ways to increase the bonds between your race and charity cause and your supporters.
We now offer races a powerful way to cross-promote and engage with participants with Multi-Race Bundles. We are seeing rapid adoption of this, with an increasing % of transactions coming from these bundles across our platform.
We completely rewrote our RaceDay CheckIn app this year. The previous version was widely used (700,000 participant check-ins to 1,800 races the previous 12 months), but it was not quite good enough. The new version has been getting rave reviews from even the most skeptical of timers like Brian Sparacino :-).
RaceDay Scoring was actually our biggest effort in 2018, and rightfully, the team did deliver the production release in 2018. But 2019 is the first year where it begins to have a major impact on timers, races and participants. In addition to this being the next generation of The Race Director (which scored over 5,000,000 participants in 2018), it is likely to have an even broader impact on the industry over the next several years. We have 200 timers coming to Certification Training in January, 2019 – many of whom are making long term strategic decisions to move to RaceDay Scoring over the next year or two.
Custom Domains and Websites
We were hoping to get this out in 2018, but other projects prevailed (OK, the CheckIn app took longer to rewrite than we thought!). This will be a big one, since races will be able to move from a runsignup.com/MyRace to MyRace.com URL. So many race and timer websites are out of date, are insecure, or are hard to manage. But the biggest reason to move to RunSignup for your race website is because all of the data is live and dynamic. A price increase happens – and it shows. A person signs up and wants to get another copy of their confirmation email – simple – right there. Results? Photos? Video? Race Map? We’ve got you covered. And it will all be under your own brand, including the website URL this spring.
Some people think of CRM as a way to conduct email campaigns and Facebook ads. This type of digital cold marketing creates and targets ads based on individual customer journeys. It’s high cost and doesn’t work in our industry, which is ultimately about social experiences.
Your participants can promote your race to their network of family, friends, and co-workers better than any digital marketing ad. RunSignup has focused on the free & automated viral social marketing tools to reward your key influencers so that you can grow your race, save time, and optimize your marketing spend for the best returns.
In the coming year, we will be building out the set of tools to leverage your CRM and the information in it to enable even more powerful ways to use tools like Referral Rewards, Swag (Gear) Rewards, Automated Emails and Social Teams. More filters, more actions and more automation.
We have always tried to focus on helping our customers. In a recent analysis, we realized that there were over 7,000 non-profit organizations that were collecting race fees and donations on the RunSignup platform. We have many of these non-profits asking to use RunSignup for more and more. The central, easy to use CRM provides a single view across participants, donors and fundraisers. Our websites gives them real e-commerce capabilities and easy management with a modern mobile-first interface. We are working on a number of exciting tools for non-profits we will be rolling out thru the year. We want to help non-profits save time, raise more, and make things easier.
If you could not tell, we love doing this! While 2019 will bring a lot of advances, Bill Gates tells us that the next 10 years will be even bigger.
RunSignup – Built for the Long Run.