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Upper Hand Wrapped: 2021 Year in Review

2021 challenged us in many ways. Last year, the sports and fitness industry was knocked to its knees as a result of the pandemic. This year, we were collectively tasked with the mission to rebuild our industry. As we continued to navigate the effects brought by COVID-19, you continued to face adversity. But, despite these hardships, one thing remained certain.

You are resilient.

Upper Hand Wrapped Business Aura: strong and forward thinking


Now more than ever, you understand that your role is much larger than X’s and O’s. Sports and fitness are essential to public health, and consequently fighting illnesses and disease. You as business owners, trainers, and coaches, have the influence to contribute to a healthier world.

Here at Upper Hand, that is also our mission.

Our team responded to our fair share of change in 2021. As we reflect on the past year and set our eyes on goals ahead, we take a moment to reflect on these challenges. Because, as we believe, challenge and change breed innovation.


We relied on data to make better decisions


This year, we emphasized the importance of data to make better business decisions. As you began welcoming clients back to your business, it was important that you kept a strong pulse on your operations. In an ever-changing environment, you’ve had to make quick decisions: maximizing use of your facility while facing limited capacity requirements, encouraging repeat business through recurring revenue opportunities, competing with the rise in at-home fitness equipment, and more.

Likewise, our team emphasized data to inform our product updates, preparing not for the world as it was, but as it is going to be. We took a deep dive into your data to determine how we can best help you be successful.

With data as our focus, 2021 quickly became an exciting year for our team.

Upper Hand won many awards throughout the year


Upper Hand began the year coming off a win at the Powderkeg Tech Culture Awards, where we were recognized as a top rated tech company culture. Shortly after, we launched an internal community outreach initiative to continue to provide opportunities for our team to stay engaged with local and industry organizations. Throughout the year, we were able to give back to a number of organizations, including the Salvation Army, Indianapolis Public Schools, Exodus Refugee, and more.


In May, Upper Hand won a Bronze Stevie® Award for Most Innovative Tech Company at the 19th Annual American Business Awards for our product innovation and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the year, we also received a number of award badges across fitness categories by Capterra, GetApp, Software Advice, and Software World. From membership management to club management, yoga studio software to personal training software, we were excited to continue changing the status quo for our customers across many different backgrounds. We can’t thank our customers enough for the role they play in these recognitions.


In July, we began welcoming our team back into our downtown office, where we were able to meet some of our newer faces in person for the first time! With “in-person” events making their return, our team took a trip to Dallas, Texas, in October for the 40th annual IHRSA Trade Show and Convention. Here, we were able to meet and mingle with industry professionals and explore what the future of the industry has to offer.


October proved to be a particularly exciting month for us, as we linked up with data analytics professionals at the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute, Butler University, and the University of Notre Dame. This Data & Analytics Center of Excellence was formed to help sports and fitness organizations analyze their data to make better decisions.


Recognizing Customer Success

Not only was this an award-winning year for our team at Upper Hand, it was also a newsworthy year for many of our customers!

Upper Hand customers also won many awards


This year, X-Golf earned a spot on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list, including a #1 ranking in its category. D-BAT Academies was also named to the Franchise 500 as a top growing franchise for the second consecutive year. They too were ranked #1 in their category. Speaking of milestones, D-BAT also surpassed 1,000,000 total transactions on Upper Hand. Pop the champagne!

Many of our customers saw similar success and growth, from expanding to new locations to hiring additional staff to coach new offerings.


2021 Product Innovations

Finally, our year-end wrap up would not be complete without a look back at the new products and updates that came to our platform this year.

We understand the important role we play in elevating the industry. This means that moving fast is not just an option – it’s a necessity.

This year, our team balanced some game-changing features with some necessary enhancements that improve your business operations, increase the efficiency of your staff, and ultimately empower you to do more of what you love.

Membership Analytics was a top feature for Upper Hand customers


Perhaps the most exciting feature we launched was Membership Analytics by Upper Hand, the industry’s first reporting feature to provide accessible analytical insights from membership data. Membership Analytics allows admins to break down the factors that contribute to fluctuations in recurring revenue…and forecast expected revenue months in advance.

Another exciting update came down to more flexibility with payment management. Now, customers have the ability to keep multiple cards on file, add and delete different payment types, assign a default card for recurring payments, and so much more. Not only did this prove to be beneficial for our customers, but also for their clients.

To kick off the last month of the year, we gave our client profiles a much anticipated refresh. All-new Client Profile Pages give both our customers and their clients a clear understanding of all details around a client’s account, including their schedule, remaining sessions, payment history, membership history, outstanding balances and more.

In addition to these “Big Three” feature launches, our team pushed quite a few exciting updates to the platform throughout the year. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Coupon Code Redesign
    • We added more customization options to creating coupons for your business. Customers can now set a redemption limit for total uses or uses per client, and can even create coupon codes that apply only towards specific items.
  • Increased Memberships Flexibility
    • In addition to Membership Analytics, we also released a series of updates related to membership creation and management.
    • Membership Expirations allow customers to enforce a commitment length at the time of sign up.
    • An Unpaid Membership Indicator now follows a client around the software, helping customers keep track of any unpaid memberships, whether due to “pay later,” failed payments, or overdue cash/ check payments.
  • New card payment devices
    • We are now offering new hardware devices that offer more ways to pay, guarantee seamless transactions and allow customers to accept payments from anywhere.
  • APEX Video Analysis Recording Delay
    • Our new recording delay feature allows athletes to watch their previous actions on a delayed playback in order to clearly visualize the feedback given from the coach to correct it on the spot.
  • APEX Video Analysis Custom Naming and Leaving Comments on Videos
    • Streamlining communication between coach/trainer and athlete through naming and commenting features within the APEX app.
  • APEX Video Analysis Local Notifications
    • Alongside new communication features, coaches/trainers and athletes will be notified in-app if comments were left on their videos.

top used features on Upper Hand


Cheers to the New Year

Like we mentioned at the beginning of this wrap up, we have never been more excited about the future of our industry. We are proud not only of our team’s innovation, but the growth and positivity from the businesses we serve. As we enter into the new year, we will continue to do our part to contribute to a healthier, more active world. Thank you to our customers and friends, and have a great 2022.


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