Created and built by people who saw the need for clubs and communities to modernise with ease, TidyHQ is an Australian management software company that helps groups of people streamline their operations with a single, simple to use, cloud-based platform.
With vital features to help members stay communicated, financially conscious and up to date, already over 3500 clubs from more than 50 countries are on board. The gamut of clubs runs from high participation sports, such as tennis, swimming and Australian Rules football, through to emerging sports, positioning itself as a user-friendly platform for any community.
At a national sporting organisation level, TidyHQ works with the Australian Football League to support the league’s 3000 community clubs across Australia.
Yet the potential to positively impact numerous clubs and organisations stretches beyond sport. The company works with an array of non-sporting groups such as the UN of Australia and University of Newcastle, further emphasising that any group or organisation can work leaner if they have access to the right tools.
TidyHQ’s founder and CEO Isaak Dury spoke to Sports Business Insider about how his company assists an underserved sector of the sporting ecosystem.
When developing TidyHQ’s platform, what problems with club membership management are you trying to solve?
“To be honest, it started out as a hobby when I was managing my own football and cricket clubs. It revolved around not only memberships, but all the other things that a committee has to handle which is 99 per cent not competition related. It’s not even registration related, it’s around financial management, committee communications, keeping track of tasks, storing documents in the one place, selling event tickets for fundraisers, keeping track of all the contacts outside of the player base and membership management is a side effect of that.”
Can you elaborate a bit more about TidyHQ’s platform in full?
“So for me I wanted our club to work smarter and not harder. I saw our volunteers getting burnt out year after year and it was mainly because we were putting our back into it rather than our brain into it. We wanted to get a little bit more analytical with the way our club uses data.
“The effect is we could facilitate better events, we could make sure that they were run in a time of the year that was most likely to get participants and we could better handle our budgets and our cash flow which is a pretty finite resource at community level.”
It appears that volunteers prefer the same processes that has been ingrained for decades. With that, are volunteers and unpaid workers more reticent to change?
“Absolutely, but it’s a process, an evolution. That being said, one of our employees was talking to an 82-year old secretary, so it’s not an age thing it’s more of a mindset thing. People that want to evolve their club and see the future beyond themselves are all for a platform like Tidy. They can spread the workload and have a ready made succession plan waiting for the next generation of people to continue on their good work, and that’s a sign of great leadership. I think that they are thinking beyond themselves and the legacy is not just a bigger club room, but how the next generation continue on.
“We’re seeing the tide is changing and people expecting a platform like Tidy to be in place for their organisations. Particularly with the new generation that has these sorts of services running in their day-to-day lives, such as Salesforce, Facebook and various other tools, so when they walk into their community environment they’re expecting a similar sort of service, and that’s where we fit in.”
How in depth does TidyHQ go in helping clients and clubs to streamline their operations?
“It varies. We have literally spoken to and presented to thousands of clubs of all stripes around Australia and the world. So we have a very good understanding of some of the pressures they have when they sign up and try and onboard. It also depends on their level of comfort with working with technology and how much they are happy to play and experiment with the platform, it’s a large platform.
“We’re investing a lot in customer experience and user experience exercises. Our staff have a large focus on customer experience, conducting a lot of research to understand what people need from the our service, what their expectations are, and how they first arrive at the platform. There is always more to learn, and we’re looking forward to rolling out some of our learnings.”
With that, who is your target market?
“It was born out of running a sporting club, so that’s our core market. But 50 per cent of our customers are actually non-sporting, community organisations. Anyone with a committee is using our platform, so that ranges from rotary clubs, school P&C’s, playgroups, community gardens and university clubs.”
Pretty much any group that requires a way to organising people, sending out communications.
“We’re constantly surprised. We’ve got the Holden Car Club of Victoria, churches in midwest of the US, rock climbing clubs in Finland, archery clubs in South Africa. It’s a broad market for sure.”
So global growth opportunities exist with the problem that you initially tackled.
“The global market is certainly an enticing one. When we see a fraternity or sorority sign up in the US it sparks some ideas. When we see a yacht club sign up in the UK or football association sign up in India, it shows there is a huge growth potential with our platform. Right now we’re wanting to nail the opportunity that we’re already tackling here in Australia with the underserved population of Australian sport and that’s what we’re aiming for in 2017.”
What else is in the plans for 2017?
“We’re looking to raise some further capital to undertake some big things in 2017. We’ve got some really good ideas around commerce and some really big ideas around national sporting organisations. So we want to work closely with the AFL and other similar organisations to furnish their business with information and data so they can allocate resources at a national, state and local level as a way to increase participation at a grassroots level.”
Is there a legacy aspect or issue with retaining and sharing data?
“The sharing of data is an interesting one in that it’s very disconnected and traditionally sports have had a ‘one solution’ mindset which is slowly being broken down and going the other way where sports, through the Australian Sports Commission, are starting to realise one solution will never tick all the boxes for all their stakeholders. Coaches need something different to high performance athletes who need something different to CEO’s, to competition managers and so forth. They all have different requirements and see the world differently.
“Traditionally sports have had really closed systems whereas we take the opposite view in that a club should be able to use its data however it wants to, its stakeholders should be able to use it too with whatever tools or apps they find.
“Our biggest challenge is to allow that flow of data to happen.”
The connection between a governing body down to the grassroots is data that is created and kept but how can it be openly shared without actually damaging or infringing on anyone’s privacy rights?
“Privacy and data is a constantly evolving space, but it is one that is building precedent by other players in other verticals and industries. We understand that which is why it’s a priority for us to keep up to date with its evolving nature. We’re compliant with privacy regulations and understand you need to own your profile, but a club also needs to have a profile of you, and its parent organisation also needs to understand who is in their competition.
“We take privacy very seriously and we’re learning along with the rest of the industry as to what the expectations are, not just of the consumer but also of the industry.”