History of Matchup: An Evolution of Product & Community

History of Matchup: An Evolution of Product & Community

The Matchup story told in story, images and beats.

As we celebrate Matchup’s one-year anniversary, we review our past history and the things that brought us to this incredible place, the present.

An Idea Sparked – Prelude

See that your better halve / do your math

And peep that two halves make a whole

Common, My City

Like many other things, Matchup was conceived as an itch that needed to be scratched.

Before Matchup, we were a team of 3 developers creating tech products for startups and entrepreneurs through our consulting agency, 3binary. Competitive in spirit and fitness tracking users ourselves, we felt the existing challenge modes and inability to cross-compare stats limiting within each device platform.

As avid Fantasy Football and soccer fans, the first challenge mode that birthed Matchup manifest in the Head-to-Head challenge —  what is now the most popular challenge mode of our users.

It was fate that brought our co-founder and COO, Anthony, into the mix after a first failed attempt to meet at Protein Bar in downtown Chicago. On second try, serendipity proved to be on our side and the mutual interest we shared to improve the health and wellness of people came together in a collective vision that formed Matchup.

The Evolution of Matchup, The Product – Interlude

Sky is the limit and you know that you keep on,
Just keep on pressin on.
Sky is the limit and you know that you can have
what you want, be what you want.

Notorious BIG, Sky is the Limit

With a goal to get the first iteration of Matchup completed and out to users during the 2013-2014 winter holiday season, we enlisted the help of Ana Kova to design the beta version of the platform. Rather than testing before creating, we made the decision to build and ship in order to see users interact with the product, and to then observe interactions and engagement, which we believed would better inform our decision on everything from concept, features, to — inevitably — business model.

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From Concept to Launch

Initial brainstorming sessions involved flushing out the conceptual framework of the product, including features such as challenges, badging, scoring, dashboard layout, and branding.

early concept sketches

first dashboard mockup

early matchup icons

first homepages

early challenge boards

Validation of Product

What culminated from those early sketches and prototypes turned into the first version of Matchup.

In January 2014, Matchup went live with our close friends and family testing out the beta platform. Shortly thereafter, Matchup was shared on Product Hunt unbeknownst to us — where, thanks to the 80+ upvotes, gave us visibility at the top of the page in a few short days, which instantly gained us beta users in our first week of “going live”.

Iterations – Past and Present

There have been a number of ongoing changes to our homepage reflecting our company goals and vision. Since inception, we’ve worked hard to create an experience representative of our users’ needs and how we’re trying to communicate the importance of their behavior change and commitment to peer-based health and activity.

matchup landing page 1

matchup landing page 2

Community: A Love Letter to Our Users – Postlude

We gotta make a change

It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes.

Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live

and let’s change the way we treat each other.

Tupac, Changes

Our Early Adopters

The visibility and user base we garnered on Product Hunt was a huge opportunity that we couldn’t have planned for (Product Hunt itself was a new product on the tech scene). We knew we wanted to reach more people and see if this was indeed a platform and network that users wanted or needed in their lives.
With that, we organized our first two Matchup-sponsored challenges with one of them as a step competition to participants to win prizes ($20 Amazon gift cards). By and large, we found that the fitness communities existing on Facebook were the most active and engaged — and most excited to take Matchup for a test run. Outside Product Hunt, this outreach approach became the best opportunity to  reach a broad audience, which then resulted in a growing community of users and champions for the cause.

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rails conference

step challenge competition

Matchup For Groups

As quickly as we gained new users, we started selling to groups, including companies looking for wearable-based wellness programs that would help facilitate more employee engagement. The incredible companies and groups we’ve been working with have brought new insights into individual vs. group activity, as well as discernment into product and program development.

matchup for group

Impacting People,  People Impacting Product

Early on, we as a team agreed to build a product that consumers would love. The goal was to create a platform that was user-centric — something that everyone enjoyed and found valuable in their lives, and something we were proud to work on.

Through Intercom, we have been speaking to our users directly on a daily basis, each comment and question informing our team members about their favorite features, pain points, expectations, and cool ideas to help improve the product and user experience. Working on a product where there’s a lot of “play” involved definitely makes for some fun and lively conversations with our users.

matchup community feedback

matchup community feedback 2

We cherish the special relationship we’ve developed with our users. The honest feedback that we’ve received is truly phenomenal, both positive and in critique. The criticisms we take even closer to heart — as opportunities to understand the pulse of our users’ needs and wants while constantly growing and improving our work and way of thinking.

As our community of users grew steadily over the year, something remarkable happened.

We began hearing stories of change — whether having to do with personal lifestyle, family health accountability, or group engagement between staff. People within the Matchup community also developed friendships. Individuals became leaders in the form of MVPs, hosting community challenges and facilitating their own Facebook groups for their peers. Users were referring their HR managers to use Matchup as a company resource. Employees were keeping each other motivated through group walks and creative step challenges. Communities were helping raise funds for amazing social causes!

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matchup users feedback

In this first year of growing Matchup, our team has had the privilege of witnessing the  power of transformation. Each individual story communicated the incredible importance of shared, supportive action through friends. Friends, whether new or familiar, had powerful influence to help everyone stay connected and accountable to their individual and collective health and fitness journeys.

What we realized was this:

  1. We are all on a journey, together.
  2. A great product is only as great as its users.
  3. Product can impact people, but it’s really people that impact other people best.


Future of Matchup – Postscript

This is only just the beginning for Matchup. We’ve recently launched our newest integration with HealthKit and CoreMotion, which makes it possible for users with iPhone 5s+ and Apple Watch to join in on the action. The UI Framework has also been updated for easier navigation throughout the web platform. These are only a few things we’ve been working on. We have so much more in store for you.

As we move forward, we can’t help but stop and thank all of you. Everyone has the power to live a healthy and active life, and you’ve taken a step in the right direction. Check back this Wednesday for a unique Matchup opportunity and don’t forget to check out our community board. 😄

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