The activities market is an expansive and dynamic ecosystem, encompassing various industries like education, events, conferences, camps, and more. The industries in this market are growing rapidly. For example, the summer camp market in the US alone is a 3.5 billion dollar market. The events and conference markets are expected to reach 2 trillion by 2028. In spite of the market size and importance, the market is still underserved, mainly due to the fact that no software has consolidated the market and created standard best practices. Fragmentation has its costs in the form of inefficiencies, lower retention rates, employee burnout, and hindered growth. To consolidate the activities market, there is a strong need for a singular software solution to unify the complex payment and onboarding process needs within each business. A Shopify for services if you will.
Why So Fragmented?
What does it mean that the market is fragmented? To shed light on this concept, let’s consider an analogy. Imagine starting a new business that sells items online, such as pens or watches. In this scenario, you would look for software that allows you to sell a range of products, without the need for specific software tailored exclusively to pens or watches. However, in the activities market, the situation differs. If you were to open a camp, you’d seek out “camp software,” and for an event, you’d search for “event software.” Why does this disparity exist? The root of the issue lies in the onboarding process.
Service-based businesses, in contrast to those dealing in merchandise, inherently involve an onboarding process. While purchasing a pen involves selecting, checking out, and concluding the transaction, registering for an event, or enrolling a child in a camp demands supplying personal information, often e-signing documents, making selections, and finally, making a payment. Payment, in this context, represents just the concluding step of a much more intricate procedure – the onboarding process.
This market fragmentation is rooted in the distinct requirements of each onboarding process. The onboarding process for a camp substantially varies from that of an event. This divergence might suggest that these are separate markets and consolidation is unfeasible. However, shared characteristics link these seemingly different entities. The most conspicuous commonality is that all service-oriented businesses are connected to specific times and places. Each service has a designated time for delivery and a particular space, whether virtual or physical, where it will be provided. These shared elements underpin unique software demands that are not adequately met by existing solutions. This inadequacy results in multiple software solutions replicating these demands, often ineffectively. Consequently, service-based businesses, which are pivotal to developed economies’ economic activity, are left with inferior software solutions. The many educational institutions that offer camps, sports programs, and events grapple with multiple onboarding requirements for each distinct activity, leading to superfluous operational complexities. Employees are burdened with mastering and navigating various software solutions, diverting their cognitive resources from delivering the actual services.
Additionally, many software companies striving to address this fragmentation are themselves affected by it. They repeatedly develop technologies to address the time and space aspects inherent in service offerings. However, different logical structures are created that still cannot connect to one another and, in spite of the effort these companies exert, they see low retention rates, high churn, and need to spend manpower and resources to constantly regain new clients to fill the leaking bucket. The definition of software client onboarding inefficiency.
Is it possible to solve this fragmentation?
In the activities market, there is an urgent need to shift away from traditional vertical-specific software and embrace a horizontal solution that can cater to the diverse needs of different industries. Such software can act as a centralized hub and enable companies with varying activities to efficiently streamline their onboarding processes – fostering connections, collaboration, and growth.
To ensure the success of this approach, it’s essential that the various verticals retain the ability to create their unique onboarding processes. Standardization should not be imposed. For example–forcing an event to include medical questions, as required for a children’s camp, would be unnecessary and unwieldy, while the software would be unusable for the camp if these specific questions weren’t integrated. Therefore, the technology must possess the capability to dynamically generate database structures on-the-fly. This functionality would enable the creation of distinct processes for each business while also accommodating tools that can be shared across different verticals. To achieve this, the famous and very hard-to-create “meta programming system” needs to be developed.
Recent developments in databases and AI make this once hard-to-achieve goal attainable. Document-based databases such as MongoDB now allow the creation of databases that are schemaless and therefore can still function with the unique onboarding processing of each organization. This obviously creates problems connected to searchability, consolidation of data, and attributing meaning to the data. Yet these problems are solvable if the right minds are put to it.
The consolidation of the activities market is imperative for the growth and efficiency of businesses in various industries. Regpack stands out as the forerunner in this endeavor, providing the much-needed technology and customizable onboarding solutions to address the market’s challenges. By consolidating the fragmented market and creating a unified platform, Regpack paves the way for a more connected, efficient, and successful future for companies in the activities market.
Author Bio :-
Asaf Darash is the founder and CEO of Regpack, an online payment management platform with advanced onboarding capabilities to serve the activities market. With extensive experience as a developer, system architect, entrepreneur, and investor, Asaf has an innate ability to build versatile products based on achievable business models, which has helped him build three successful companies to date. He holds a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem specializing in the way computer languages affect human action and has served as a visiting scholar and Fulbright scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.