Lessons learned: the R&D phase of a software startup

Building OpenClub has been an experience — and a learning curve in user-driven development decisions.

OpenClub began out of necessity. Having been involved in clubs and associations our entire lives, we noticed the difficulties facing the administrators, executives and volunteers running clubs. More often than not, these positions are filled with community-minded individuals, who need to juggle their full-time job with their passion — helping their club.

Our development approach was different to that of a large number of startups — we listened to our users above all else. Although not reinventing the wheel, we were continually guided on development decisions, based on conversations with a large number of clubs. It has been the single best thing we’ve done.

This may sound trivial, but it required us to reassess our priorities from a platform perspective. Features which we had thought would be minor details, are now at the forefront of OpenClub platform.

After this significant R&D phase (talking to countless clubs), we noticed the same trends emerging:

  • Clubs continue to operate from an administrative standpoint both offline and online
  • On average, clubs are using between four and six online systems to manage their finances, communication, payments and events
  • Member lists are compiled manually and kept in offline Excel or Word documents — making
  • Events and community engagement are the backbone of clubs and are often overlooked as cogs in the wheel
  • Lack of (or no) accounting and financial management

By prioritising the OpenClub features based upon these, we have been able to create a platform which eliminates the need for multiple systems for running a club. This has resulted in us combining member management, payments, events, communication and accounting/financial management into a single platform.

It’s been a great experience thus far, and we are confident the end result will be a well-received platform for clubs and associations across Australia.

We’re for making club management easier.

We’re for making life easier for club admins.

We’re looking forward to showing you OpenClub soon.