As 2013 winds down and we look ahead to the new year, I wanted to take a moment for reflecting back on how far we’ve come and to share some of the exciting new developments we’re looking forward to in 2014 and beyond.
Today we are growing at an accelerating pace with customers in 19 states, including summer league, high school and year-round swim teams. Our team has grown to ten, including our Customer Happiness Specialists Traci and Lorin and our fabulous Account Managers Aimee, Liz, Elli, Stephanie and Linda working to make SwimTopia better and to save more time and eliminate hassle for more teams around the country.
While I had been working on the idea of SwimTopia as a product and a business for approximately four years prior, it was on February 1, 2011 that SwimTopia became my full-time occupation and, for me at least, marks the time that the company first opened for business.
And so now, almost three years later, looking back with pride at how far SwimTopia has come both as a product and as a company, I am most reminded of and thankful for our customers who helped us get where we are today and who have inspired us to keep pushing further into the future.
I remember in particular a meeting early on with the president of a new summer league team at a Starbucks in South Austin. Huddled around my laptop at a corner table, I walked through my demonstration of SwimTopia as it existed that time, which was mostly limited to features related to swim meet entries: online swim meet declarations, automatic relay generation and Hy-Tek Meet Manager integration. But I also shared my plans for the future which existed mostly as ideas and dreams — and a few early sketches and diagrams on paper. I was flipping through pages with plans for things like online team registration, volunteer management, email communications and website content management, features that all exist now but at that time were just ideas, literally still on the drawing board. I am so thankful that team president saw my vision and believed in me and my passion for making life easier for swim team presidents like her. A few weeks later, with my newly hired sales rep in tow, we did a presentation for her board, including a newly implemented online registration system, and that team became our first paying customer.
Our customers have not only provided the revenue to help our company grow, but have improved the product and helped shape our vision through their requests and suggestions. I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to meet and talk with our customers. I love learning about how teams across the country operate, and how they manage the complex, crazy world of competitive swimming with creativity and above all a focus on creating a fun experience for all the kids and families involved. And I’m thrilled when we’re able to act on a suggestion from team, to build something new and awesome like the Athlete Report Card report, which originated from a summer league team in the Houston area, or the Athlete Photo Roster suggested by a country club team in Austin.
In the past few weeks, we were pleased to launch a new, long-requested feature for SwimTopia, the Online Team Store. We’re especially excited about this feature because it empowers teams with a new easy-to-use online commerce capability that enables teams not to just more easily sell t-shirts, but to fundraise more efficiently and effectively, selling sponsorships and collecting donations online. SwimTopia provides teams with the flexibility to offer any products they want at any price they want, and most importantly to be able to keep 100% of the proceeds for the team.
We are sincerely grateful to our growing family of customer teams and administrators for their suggestions and feedback (positive and negative) to make SwimTopia better, their patience, and most importantly for sharing our vision and passion for making managing a swim team less work and more fun. We remain committed that vision, now more than ever, and we could not do it without you.
To our customers — thank you for using SwimTopia — and here’s to a great 2014!
CEO & Founder