Less than five years ago, the co-founders of Wicket set out to revolutionize an industry by launching an integrated platform to help nonprofits manage their data.
Fast forward to 2021, and the company has made its way to this year’s list of Ottawa’s fastest growing companies and is rapidly expanding into the US market.
It’s a edited transcript of the Techopia Live podcast with co-founder Jeff Horne.
Can you tell us about Wicket?
Wicket is the world’s leading member data platform. What that really means is that we serve the association market – think of professional associations, trade associations, across North America and providing them with what we see as a true, true hub for their very rich member data and then connecting that data within their ecosystem. other software tools. Wicket is truly the disruptor in the association management software landscape. We help (customers) manage the integration of this rich data into an entire ecosystem of software tools instead of trying to do it all on one platform.
How did the idea for Wicket come about?
Industrial is a web design and development agency that I have owned for 21 years. The idea for Wicket was born within this company. We were in the nonprofit sector and we kept hearing from our customers that they hated their AMS systems. They subscribe to different software tools, but their data would become very compartmentalized because it would be difficult to integrate. About seven years ago we started building what is today Wicket. We spun off Wicket from Industrial in 2017 and now operate the companies as separate entities.
How difficult was it to integrate all these different platforms?
This is probably one of our biggest challenges as a company. It is difficult to keep up to date with changes that may occur in the software tools (clients) they use. Infrastructure monitoring is a big part of what we do. It’s also about making sure we’re engaged with other vendors we’re integrating with to understand any upcoming changes to their APIs or different ways we’re integrating with them.
How did you develop your clientele?
We were fortunate to have national healthcare associations early on pushing us to build Wicket. They said, ‘If you agree to this, we will pay you.’ They were willing to take the risk of working with us because we had built a relationship of trust with them. Throughout this journey, we had to redesign the architecture more than once. But over time, as we started to attract more customers, the product kept evolving. Today, we are fortunate that the majority of new customer acquisition comes from south of the border. We really focused on getting some key strategic customers instead of just trying to get all the customers we could.
Can you give me an example of customer expansion that helped propel Wicket forward?
Here in Canada, the Canadian Society of Association Executives or CSAE is the association of associations. CSAE is truly the national voice of the association community here in Canada, and it licensed Wicket about two years ago. He is a very successful referral client for us. When we entered the US market, we were very strategic about the specific customers we would like to work with. We are almost at the point where we are going to authorize the American Society of Association Executives, the equivalent of the CSA in the United States, which is really the most influential client in the world in our market. It’s very exciting. This will really put us in a position for growth in 2022.
You’ve won a bootstrap marketing award. To what extent is marketing part of your customer and brand strategy?
Because we come from the world of website design and development, we really understand the importance of having a strong brand. The Wicket brand is very strong and unique. We get a ton of feedback from the market that they love our brand and it really stands out. We don’t pick up the phone, call charities, or try to sell them on Wicket. Instead, we push a lot of content to market. For us, it’s really a game of content marketing, educating the market and having a really strong brand to back it up.
What is your vision for the future?
I think 2022 is all about growth. It’s about expanding our customer base, getting our message across, and pushing our marketing message even harder. Certainly, we will also return to the boots on the ground in the American market. We will be spending time in Washington, DC, and Chicago, which are the two main association hubs in the United States. We will strengthen our team as we continue to evolve, and before the end of 2022 we may also be looking for outside fundraising.