Upper Hand Sports Software - 2016 Year in Review
From rebranding and a big office move, to major software updates and big team additions, 2016 was definitely a year for the record books at Upper Hand! Here a just a few of the year's big moments!
2016 started with the rebranding of Upper Hand
Building on an already industry leading experience for our customers, we repositioned our web-based software for significant growth!
We customize our software features and pricing to fit your sports business with the objective of helping each one of our customers grow their business, we wanted our new identity to communicate to our potential customers that no matter where you are in the stage of your business, partnering with us will take your business up and to the right.
In addition, we believe that first and foremost, the greatest asset for any business is its customers. That is why for each of our customers, we deliver the best customer support for you and your clients. Our new identity at Upper Hand is meant to always remind us that software is meaningless if we do not put you first.
Our team grew 4x in 2016 from 4 to 16 and we are looking forward to even more substantial growth in 2017!
Among staff additions was the first Upper Hand Chief Technology Officer, Jason Rogers, who came on at the end of 2015, but really got in the swing of things in 2016. Throughout the year, Jason has built the Upper Hand engineering team, preparing for our biggest software update yet! Jason has an extensive engineering background with more than 16 years at technology companies, as well as a deeply rooted passion for sports and tech.
Through all of our new picks, Upper Hand stays committed to a few core values that we believe will build a committed, highly competitive, and vigorous team!
Upper Hand Core Values - Have a passion for sports. Have a passion for technology. Have aspirations. Have Grit. Be competitive. Be selfless and humble. Trust. Be Coachable. Think. Have fun. Meet the Upper Hand Team.
First Upper Hand Annual Retreat #OneTeamOneDream
In December, our entire team gathered at our co-founders’ alma mater, Indiana University, for the first ever Upper Hand retreat. We used the time to talk about our goals and vision for the company, and for ourselves as individuals.
The retreat helped us to build on our customer feedback, further our innovative solutions and enhance our company culture. And of course, we had a great time in B-town!
A New Home!
In May, we settled into our new home just off of Monument Circle in the old Morris Opera House, Indianapolis. The new office space previously housed the ExactTarget headquarters. There is a special kind of energy that comes with the chance to build Upper Hand in a location with such a rich tech history. We have some big shoes to fill, but we're up for the challenge!
The relocation gave us more than double the office space, with an additional 1,555 square feet. As we continued to add staff, Upper Hand expanded the office even further in November, acquiring additional space in the Morris Opera House. The new space will allow continued growth and the opportunity to hire additional in-house team members in 2017!
Capital Venture Round brought Upper Hand total to more than $1 million
June marked the completion of a financing round led by former Finish Line Executives, bringing our total seed capital raised to $1.34M since January 2014. The new funds went to support employee growth and the expansion of our sports software features. The round strengthened our position to deliver unparalleled value to sports business owners, as we continue to build the most cutting-edge event management platform.
Indianapolis based, former Finish Line Executives, Larry Sablosky (Finish Line Co-founder), Steve Schneider (former President & COO) and Don Courtney (former President of E-Commerce) co-led the venture round along with Sheets Smith Wealth Management and other existing Upper Hand shareholders based in Indianapolis, IN, Washington, DC and Greensboro, NC.
Launched the Upper Hand Advisory Board
In November, Upper Hand launched our first Advisory Board, comprised of some of the most respected professionals in technology and retail. The board continues to provide our team with valuable perspective on emerging technology and partnership opportunities, retail expertise in sports and feedback on the Upper Hand software.
Key Addition to the Upper Hand Board of Directors
December was an especially exciting month for Upper Hand. We were thrilled to welcome Sabre Travel Network Vice Chairman, Greg Webb, to our Board of Directors. Webb brings experience in identifying and supporting growth opportunities for Travel and Telecom teams in the tech industry, to the table, providing a unique advantage as we continue to expand our reach in the sports tech space.
He has a reputation as a transformational leader with a values-first style. Additionally, we are excited that Webb shares our love of sports, as an avid cyclist and participant in several Ironman competitions!
See a full list of the Upper Hand Board of Directors.
Upper Hand Customer Board
Some of our key customers have also been more involved in 2016, sitting on the Customer Advisory Board. These individuals have committed time and energy to providing us with feedback to continue building on and improving our sports solutions. We strongly believe that there is certain wisdom and expertise that only years on the field can provide, and we are grateful to these eight coaches, trainers, facility owners and managers who are sharing that knowledge and input with the Upper Hand team.Their feedback has proved invaluable in the preparation of the new event management platform that will launch in 2017!
Upper Hand customers saw many software updates come into full fruition in 2016. From contact search and sort features, to easier overall navigation and greater flexibility and customization, we are continuing to build on our sports software solutions.
Financial Intelligence - To provide customers with continued insight into their business metrics, we also launched new intelligence around the breakdown of payment types. Showing a breakdown of your revenue by payment type, outstanding debt, incoming cash payments and more.
Booking - No one can be in two places at once, so why should you software solution allow double booking?! With our newly designed double booking protection feature our customers no longer have to worry about coordinating multiple schedules and calendars. In addition, all events now have an improved setup process with detailed steps to help you understand all the options available to you.
Marketing - Our new marketing survey tool allows customers to track the results of their sports marketing efforts. When creating an event (e.g. camp, training program, etc) enable a marketing survey with the click of a button and include custom options. Marketing survey results are then stored in a new marketing tab, so you can track how each client heard about your training event.
1-on-1 Lessons and staff payouts - With Upper Hand software, it is now easier than ever to set specific lesson rates and payout rates for your staff, and then automate payouts to staff members’ financial accounts of choice. You can also track payout history, a breakdown of total business earnings vs. staff earnings, and more.
Finally, in October, Upper Hand launched a beta version of our all-new event management platform. The platform has been introduced to many existing customers, and will be made available to all new and existing customers in Q1 of 2017!
Happy holidays, and cheers to your best year yet in 2017!