As an early-stage startup, we neglect to spend too much time reflecting on the past. We spend brief moments celebrating wins and then quickly put our heads back down, preparing for the next gameday or event we are serving. However, I believe in the New Year’s tradition of reflecting on the past and planning for the future. Coming back to the office after the holiday break, I felt compelled to invest some time reflecting on 2019, the first full calendar year of Clutch!’s existence.

We kicked off 2019 by adding Software Engineer Nathan Bennett to the team. As a small but mighty team of four at the time, any one additional person added to the team is majorly impactful to our overall capacity and company culture. Nathan has been an awesome addition to the team, bringing his user empathy, general positivity and interesting pet stories to our weekly meetings (ask him about his birds!). January also included a trip to the annual TicketForum conference in Charlotte, where our Director of Business Development Daniel Almond presented about redefining your fan’s parking experience. 

At the end of our first football season in February, we were thrilled to offer parking and tailgating passes for the Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Also in February, we heard from Auburn alum, Clutch! user and Race Director for the Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend, Kim Gillikin. She approached us about providing parking solutions for their race days, and we were excited to oblige. The Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend is a very significant community event here in Birmingham, and became Clutch!’s single largest event to date in terms of overall transactions. 

In March, the Birmingham Legion FC signed on as our first official licensing partner. Our partnership involved the whole gamut, including season pass management, single game reservations and a point-of-sale system to accept credit card and cash transactions. Not only were we excited about this partnership, but as Birmingham residents and sports fans, we were looking forward to cheering on a new team here in Birmingham. 

Minor league baseball season started in April when we brought on our first Minor League baseball clients, the Stockton Ports and the Delmarva Shorebirds. Less than a year into our existence as a company, Clutch! became available to users on both coasts. In May, we welcomed two summer interns, Grant Parsons and Amber Bowden, who helped us to spend the rest of the summer preparing for football season. In July, Clutch! attended the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) conference for the first time, and enjoyed introducing the product to athletic directors and administrators from across the country.

In August, we signed with our first SEC partnership, Ole Miss Athletics. Clutch! users in or travelling to Oxford could now reserve their Clutch! spot on campus. We also expanded our peer-to-peer parking app footprint; Clutch! was now available in Athens, Georgia and more widely available in Knoxville, Tennessee than it had been in 2018. In October, we won the pitch competition at the Sports Analytics World Series conference in Houston (you can see our CEO Hunter Strickler depicted with his very fashionable winner’s scarf). 

November brought the much-anticipated matchup between LSU and Alabama along with  the most reservations ever for a Clutch! football game. We also experienced our highest single game sales ever in Auburn with the game against Georgia, only to be surpassed by the Iron Bowl a couple weeks later. In addition to passing major football milestones, we added the Huntsville Championship to our list of licensing partners, for which we will provide general admission ticketing and parking to attendees.

In December, we continued a Clutch! annual tradition, a week of team meetings following the end of football season. It is a fun week of looking back on the football season and planning for the future, in addition to some good quality time as a team. We successfully broke out of the “Museum Heist” escape room at Breakout Birmingham, mostly due to Daniel’s never ending curiosity and our engineering team’s impressive contribution involving tubes, a bike pump, and a trap door (you have to try it for yourself). In December we also brought on the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a client, offering single game reservations and our point of sale system to attendees of the Men’s Basketball games. The partnership helps us fulfill our desire to serve as many local Birmingham teams as we can.

Turning our sights toward 2020, we are very excited about this year. The Birmingham Legion FC have their friendly match against the Atlanta United next month, which will be closely followed by the 2020 Mercedes Marathon Weekend. Not long after, minor league baseball season will pick back up, and the Huntsville Championship will come around in April. Not to mention, we are already counting down the days until the 2020 college football season…

Thank you for a fantastic 2019! We are so grateful to be able to serve fans and clients across the country, improving gamedays one transaction at a time. We hope to serve even more of you in 2020!