Dream big, Build bigger

Celebrating the year OpenSports transformed into a real business, with full pints of gratitude🍻!!

OpenSports’ resilient, caring, and forward thinking founders: Yi An, Alicia & James :)

First of all, Thank You.

Sendings shots & thanks to our organizers, players, and facilities as we bounce into 2019! You’ve made it a crazy great 2018 and I’m so thankful for all of you!

Some numbers

While 2018 wasn’t perfect, it’s been our best year yet. We’ve brought onboard hundreds of new groups, processed over 50,000 orders (a 9x increase from 2017), and paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to amazing sports organizers and local causes!

Being bold

This past year we’ve done ridiculous things from camping out at Pearson airport with the hope of landing meetings with investors to losing blood trying to get a better deal with our payment processor to road-tripping across the USA to meet (and play and party with) groups that use OpenSports.

Of course it’s hard work

Building a startup is a dream for many, and I didn’t realize what not having a boss would be like. Some say it’s lonely, but most days it feels like I have dozens of bosses that I get to work for and report to. While this may seem exhausting, seeing what they do, the community they create combined with their knowledge of what to build, what’s not working, and what they love, drives us forward!

When things really started to stick

It’s been said that you’re as good as your least happy customer and running an online sports app it’s hard to disagree. Startups often start out thinking they can do something or more often do everything and back in 2017 we tried to be too much for too many people. We tried to connect players ourselves, organize games ourselves, book fields ourselves etc, following the classic advice of doing things that don’t scale. Despite endless hours grinding it out, it didn’t feel we were making real progress or that our efforts would ever be scalable. In desperation we settled on redesigning the platform for sports groups. Organizers got it. They liked it. It clicked. They signed up users faster than we ever could and expanded groups from one organizer to dozens with top members attending over 100 OpenSports events in 2018!

The groups approach has lead our growth in 2018 and has had us go from struggling to brainstorm what to build to receiving hourly updates and feature requests from organizers and facilities that rely on us to run their groups and grow whether as non-profits, leagues, community clubs or enterprises. While we have more work ahead of us than ever before, we now have lineups of groups waiting for each feature we build, we’ve nailed input down to the last pixel before we start building, which allows us to ship features that are pretty scalable across groups from day one. Some nights I get so excited knowing what’s to come that it’s a struggle to finally stop working and get some Zzzs.

Thank you again…

It’s been the work of my relentless co-founders, Alicia & Yi An, supportive family and friends, combined with our amazing organizers and players, dedicated employees, interns & advisors past and present, that have gotten us to where we are today and I’m so thankful for all of you and what we’ve built together. Growing a startup is sort of like having a kid that needs to be constantly fed and infinitely better than all the other kids before they turn three and take over the world (or at least a few countries). I’ve lost count of the number of all-nighters we’ve pulled in the name of this kid OpenSports and its mission of getting our generation more active and socially connected in real life. We’ve got crazy plans and with your support we’re going to have an epic 2019 together!

Let’s get active! 🙃

James

P.s. If you want to learn more about our company’s “road to success” (aka messy path that really just teaches you a ton of life lessons), here’s a post Alicia wrote midway through 2018 on our second birthday!