Dear Matchbase Fam,
It’s November 2020 and we are right in the middle of lockdown 2.0 brought over us by Corona Virus.
We thought about how we could stay in touch with you without our daily sessions. And as quite a lot of you are working in startup- / tech- / knowledge- companies, we thought it might be of interest, how we deal with this situation as a company. The plan is to start a little series on these things.
To start off we asked you guys about what you were interested in. Here’s the results:
The clear winner was „How we will continue to build the product“.
So this is where our series shall begin.
Where we come from and where we are going
A thing that some might not know is that at Matchbase we haven’t always been doing what we are doing now. The initial idea of Matchbase was to build a service for already existing (hobby-) teams that were able to compete anytime and anywhere they wanted. Eventually in 2019 we built the biggest recreational football league in Germany.
Still in January 2020 we decided to pivot our business from a league where existing teams could play anytime anywhere to offering sessions on a fix schedule on fixed pitches for individual players.
While digging into our data some patterns emerged: More than half of the users who registered actually didn’t join a team. These users were older than our average and often had an expat / recently moved background.
We dug a little more and found out that they were actually looking for a very convenient way to play football on a regular basis together with cool people whom you could eventually become friends with.
That is exactly what we build as an MVP in February. It took us two weeks to assemble something that would work. We launched and immediately gained traction. People were willing to pay for our service with a subscription. All sessions were booked out. The team was working like crazy to onboard new partners and to add new sessions…
…And then lockdown 1.0 came.
We had been live for 3 weeks. A lot of our users who were still in a free trial cancelled. It was like building a plane, managing to take off, but never getting to fly because of running out of fuel while ascending.
However there was a silver lining: In these 3 weeks we actually had validated all hypotheses necessary to make sure the business would work. Despite all frustration over lockdown we were now able to sit down and build a product in good faith it would work once lockdown would be over.
Why is all this important?
Why do I tell you all this? Because it matters to the story. Actually large parts of the (digital) product you are using today are still based on the grounds of the MVP we launched in February. This is partially due to us having to save money rather than hiring during lockdown (We are now hiring despite lockdown. Especially for engineering positions. So check our jobs if you want to be part of our mission) and some other reasons that are not important at this point.
So large parts of the product work we are currently doing and also will be doing for some time is entirely rebuilding the existing product to ensure future scalability, increase performance (e.g. to decrease the currently awfully long loading times) and build solid grounds for long requested new features like these:
The by far most often requested feature is a waitlist that allows you to get notified once a slot clears in case of a fully booked session. It’s currently in the making.
Also very frequently requested is a possibility to filter our sessions in categories like Director, Location or Day of the week. And we’re very close to rolling it out.
It’s not only the digital experience that matters
Of course there will be more new features in the digital product. But there might be even more great new things happening on the pitch: In the next year we are going to experiment with sessions for women, sessions for different levels, new tournament modi and most importantly new kinds of teamsport. It’s going to be an awesome year which brings us to the final chapter:
Bringing (more) social into teamsports
We believe that people who have been socialized with teamsports (and that’s a freaking lot) only stop playing because they lack the time and fear the commitment once life gets more complicated because of moving to another city, new job, university, family… you name it.
Matchbase is about making teamsports as easy as those kinds that you can perform alone. What we started with football will also exist with numerous other kinds of teamsports in the future. We will build the first global on-demand teamsports club where you can choose whatever you want from a vast variety of teamsports, game modi and levels.
We also believe that the key component of having the best experience in teamsports besides all functional aspects like having a great pitch and balls to play are the people you play with. We want to make it as easy and fun to play with your friends.
We want you to be able to get notified once a friend joins your favorite session. We want you to be able to compare your performance to your friend’s over a beer after the session.
We want Matchbase to be a true social experience. In a way where social really matters (rather than for selling ads).
Of course we hope that you will join us on that journey. It’s gonna be an exciting one. That is a promise.
All the best,