2019 Year in review: looking back & forward

2019 was all kinds of awesome for Cheqroom. We kept up the momentum we ended 2018 with, assembled a team that’s built to last, and used customer feedback to make our product truly best-in-class.

Plus, we started supporting our lofty ambitions by, well, making more noise about ourselves. After all, why make the best equipment management software in the business and not tell everyone about it?

Time to let the world know. May this blog be a testament to that.

From startup to scaleup

Last year was a year of strong growth, in more ways than one:

Bigger team, bigger dream

Little teams grow up. In 2018, the Cheqroom crew was barely large enough for a card game; in 2019 we grew to a full-size soccer team, complete with substitute players.

We went from 5 to 16 employees in a year’s time, more than tripling our headcount 😮. Those 11 people are a colorful bunch of talents, taking up various roles in customer success, product development, marketing and sales.

One of them was Eveline. She’s our office manager who also takes great care of human resources tasks like hiring, payroll and employee perks. Putting that responsibility on her plate was a conscious decision, and a clear sign that we’re moving from a startup to a scaleup 💪 : to do great things in the future, we need to build a futureproof team that’s aligned, motivated and happy. No better time than the present.

Luckily, we don’t always need to look far for hiring. A wealth of motivated new talent is starting to find its way to Cheqroom, willing to conquer the world with us. Truly awe-inspiring and a great win for the company.

Always on the move

Bigger teams take up bigger spaces. So we went and got a new office.

We left our old digs at Co.Station behind and moved into the (slightly) bigger WATT The Firms. Less claustrophobia and elbows touching, more space to hatch our plans for world domination.

And would you believe we’re outgrowing this office too? 🙈 We’re almost ashamed to admit it, really. Chalk this one up as a luxury problem. In any case, we’re starting the search for a location that can hold 10 to 15 more people somewhere around March.

Whole lotta customers

Commercially, we ended 2018 with some impressive numbers:

  • Total number of Cheqroom users: 29K
  • Total number of equipment checkouts: almost 300K!
  • Number of items of equipment registered: 227.7K

We managed to eclipse those numbers in 2019 💥:

  • Total number of Cheqroom users: 90K
  • Total number of equipment checkouts: 588.000
  • Number of items of equipment registered: 340.000+
  • Across 5800+ locations around the world

That’s almost 77% more in equipment checkouts alone. I couldn’t be happier.

These figures don’t come out of the blue: the team worked hard for them. A more than honorable mention goes out to our marketing team, consisting of marketer Charlotte and video marketers Kevin and Marie-Helene. They want to tell the world about Cheqroom and show no signs of slowing down. 🔥

Ears to the ground

Inbound marketing plus word of mouth were big growth drivers these past few years. Now, we’re heavily investing in external communications. We’re putting ourselves out there. We want customers to love us and prospects to know who we are and what we have to offer.

Logically, we laid our ear to the ground and really started listening: what do customers love about Cheqroom, and where can we improve the customer experience?

“We” is the whole team, but a couple of people in particular:

Our fresh new customer success colleagues Wendy and Maëlle, fully focused on delivering the best possible experience for every user. First, their daily interactions turn customers into advocates.👏 Afterward, documenting these interactions gives us the insights we crave to add value for our entire user base. That goes for sales conversations or company visits too: when the customer talks, everyone pays attention.

Doing that has made us understand our potential for our customers and the industry. Our NPS is consistently over 40, we see very low churn and some customers have stuck around for over 6 years (🙌 huge thanks!).

With modest inbound marketing alone, we’ve reached major international players (like Fox Sports and Netflix). Their wonderful feedback from the beginning has shown us that we’re definitely onto something.

Growing & updating our brand

A fresh new coat of paint always helps to reinvigorate. So we gave the Cheqroom brand a little lift by freshening up our color palette and updating our logo.

A lively company culture

Cheqroom aims to be many things, but certainly not a stuffy corporate company. That means we value a lively company culture to the maximum degree, and we want every colleague to feel included.

Lots of memories were made in 2019, yet the number one spot probably goes to our retreat in Barcelona. 🥳 Few things build a team like having a sunkissed picnic in Parc de la Ciutadella, or getting all touristy at the Ramblas. Indeed, that trip was mucho, mucho caliente.

Team retreat in Barcelona ☀️

But working at Cheqroom is actually fun all year round. We have board game nights, shoot each other in Virtual Reality, or get the stress squeezed out of us during office massages. You read that right: come work for Cheqroom, and get massaged as a bonus.💆🏻‍♀️

Tempted? Check out our jobs page!

Primed for healthy growth

As you may have noticed throughout this blog, we’re proud. Everyone’s head is in the same place. We’re firing on all cylinders. In other words, we’re primed for growth.🚀🚀

For starters, we are largely self-funded, debt-free and profitable. That is huge. We can afford to run the best company we know how to, and stay independent in the process.

Secondly, we are constantly re-evaluating our team’s structure to streamline how we do business. Right now, that means moving away from generalist roles to more specialized ones. Not long ago, sales and customer success were under the same umbrella. We’ve now opted for specialized teams to further professionalize.

People in those teams are well aware of what the others are doing. Because they share goals and frequently work together on cross-functional projects, there is little danger of silos being created or communication breakdown.

Of course, 16 people can’t know everything. That’s why we’ve surrounded ourselves with smart partners and external experts, in fields like SEA and market positioning. If we’re not quite sure of the right step to take, they are there to guide our growth.

Learning how to make a better product

It all starts with the user

Plenty of moons ago, we developed our product from an equipment expert point of view. In 2019, we shifted that strategy towards the end-user.

We’ve visited dozens of equipment rooms to see how customers work. Often, there were small complexities we hadn’t foreseen. Each one of them taught us something we could put back into the product.

On a higher level, it taught us to think like the end-user and build accordingly. Big shoutout to Jeroen, Dries, Karel and Frederik to adopt that mindset.👊

How we improved the product

Now that’s theoretical. Here’s everything we released in 2019:

  • Launched 21 version updates to our mobile apps
  • Launched 105 versions of our API with improvements and new features
  • Published over 300 updates to our web application
  • Launched 5 new trainings and services too

Some of the best new features include improved Equipment Flagging, a handy Slack integration, new filtering options and a much better mobile app.

Feel free to read up on the 10 new features we launched in case you’ve missed it.

Learn from the equipment floor

From CUNY York College to Sigma Lenses, we started visiting our customers on a regular basis in 2019. You can check out the use cases we made from that here.

Customer visits in New York 🗽

In November, a visit to CNN in New York inspired us to come up with the warranty notifications, which we released just last week.

We’ll do much more of that in 2020. CEO Vincent will fly to New York/around the world frequently to meet with customers and learn from their experience.

Would you like to be the next customer we shoot or write a story about? Let us know!

Looking forward to 2020

The year 2020 will be a big one for Cheqroom.

  • We look forward to hiring more new people and surround ourselves with awesome talent.
  • We promise long-awaited features that will tackle roles & permissions, Single Sign-On, improved equipment audits and more.
  • Go for video all the way to get closer to the customer: product webinars, how-to videos, video testimonials... The video team has aces up their sleeve that they’re dying to play. 🎥
  • Translate the lessons learned from the equipment floor into all sorts of educational content. The more we can help the customer, the merrier we are. 📚
  • A revamped newsletter to keep everyone up to date and share all of the above 💌
  • You’ll be able to spot us at events like Pro Light + Sound, NAB Las Vegas or IBC 2020. If we already know you: great seeing you again. If we’ve never met: let’s chat! 👋

Before we all take a big bite out of this coming year, I’d like to say thanks. To all the customers, the believers, our network, and most importantly my great team:

Jeroen, Mathilde, Charlotte, Wendy, Dries, Eveline, Karel, Maëlle, Marie-Helene, Frederik, Kevin, Sofie, Jens, Jozefien and Kwinten. I couldn't have done this without you. You guys rock! 👊

Jan 13, 2020 Written by Vincent Theeten