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Customer

A San Francisco Bay area startup which is currently operating in stealth mode. Their goal is to change the way how people with special interests and needs connect and interact in a meaningful way.

Challenge

The Founder of this early stage startup had the vision to build a social network that efficiently facilitates finding connections between users who matter most based on their needs and individual interests. The idea was highly conceptual and needed to be distilled into a specification to enable rapid design and prototyping of a high fidelity MVP (Minimum Viable Product) from scratch. The MVP is to be used for testing and validation of market/fit. The project was initiated only from verbal discussions.

The Journey

Using our proven framework methodology to drive out all aspects of the requirement, we conducted several sessions with the Founder to deeply understand the product vision and business model needs. We focused on benefits to users as the application would be mobile based, and simplicity was key to enabling users to create quickly detailed profiles that expressed their interests and needs. A key component of the specification included allowing users to see other users with similar interests and needs who are currently in proximity and to be able to go back in time to see same users who were near them in the past. Built in chat and messaging was required to allow users to connect and communicate securely and privately.

The Solution

To meet the business and product requirements, we developed a social platform solution by building a native iOS application for users and back-end services featuring REST API services, a business logic server, a geo-search server, and database.

A key feature of the architecture includes a high-performance relevance search with a sorting algorithm based on string matching powered by Apache Solr. We built algorithms that could answer user questions such as:

  • “tell me who is helpful to me and similar to me and near me right now?”
  • “tell me who is helpful to me and similar to me and who is most often near me for the last day, two days, week, etc.?”

We developed and refined the algorithm within two months. We equally considered and optimized performance and the quality of search results. We also architected the solution to scale horizontally.

We also focused on building an elegant and outstanding user interface that utilized Photoshop designs which were converted and moved to the mobile device with pixel perfect quality including animations and drag and drop features.

The Implementation

We created a dedicated team who collaborated closely with the customer’s founder team. We used Agile XP methodology to execute weekly sprints that fit well with the structure of an early startup. We rapidly iterated and updated code for the Founding team, plus continually tweaked features and made ongoing improvements based on their feedback.

We helped the founding team to elaborate on business logic, modeling different situations that assisted in validating the vision and requirements, so all stakeholders were confident what we produced matched the technical and business requirements even before we wrote the first line of the code. We implemented the mobile app and back-end infrastructure using REST, ASP.NET WebAPI, C#, iOS, Objective-C, Apache Solr, Apache Tomcat, geo-hash, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Azure, and geo-location services performing testing in parallel.

The Results

The entire project took about seven months to complete. Half the project time was dedicated to working through conceptual requirements into a working specification and building iterative prototypes that conveyed the founder’s vision from scratch. It took three months to finalize the specification, complete and deliver a high fidelity MVP.

I am impressed with Nick's management skills and the technical competence of his development team. He treats projects seriously and can suggest practical solutions to problems. He excels in managing projects to deliver on time within tight budget. It was my pleasure to have worked with Nick and his team. I certainly look forward to working with him again in the future.

Terence Wong

President, Mobilitiq, Inc.
Fremont, California