Django Stars was contracted to bring additional development resources to startup Sindeo. The main project was building a website and tools to help consumers find the right mortgage.
Though the website was recently launched, Sindeo remains very satisfied with Django Stars’ low-cost, high quality work and speed. Despite being Switzerland-based, the Django team was well-versed on the U.S. mortgage industry and was able to offer additional knowledge on their end.
"They’re more than capable of delivering high-quality, tested code, and they’re far less expensive than their American counterparts."
Could you briefly describe your organization?
I work for a start-up in San Francisco that is focused on creating a new, better mortgage experience, starting here in California and then ultimately, we hope, [throughout] the United States. We’re about a one-year-old company, with about 20 folks, that has just launched.
What is your position?
I’m the chief executive officer.
Could you describe the business challenges you were attempting to address when you first approached Django Stars?
The Django Stars relationship came from a set of investors that we have in Switzerland who have used Django Stars in building their business. We were essentially referred to them early on when we started the business. At that point in time, we had no technology leadership in the company, so it made a lot of sense to just to piggyback, and leverage their resources and team that our investors in Switzerland had utilized. We basically needed to find a development resource.
Could you describe the scope of work in greater detail?
They’ve been front and center for the development for online platforms. They’ve been primarily responsible for building our website, which includes the ability to build a rate quote tool, and provide clients with pricing and rate information. Also, we’re essentially creating a consumer portal wherein a user can understand where they are in the mortgage application process and all the remaining steps to be fulfilled. While we’ve spent a little bit of time on our end sort of designing what we want, they’ve been the team implementing and building our online platforms. They’ve really been our technical arms.
Could you provide a general cost estimate for this particular project?
Since inception, I would say we’ve spent somewhere around the order of $100,000.
Is this relationship ongoing?
It is. They continue to support us with three or four dedicated programmers.
In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the effectiveness of their work?
We’re just launching, so other than being satisfied with the work that’s been done thus far, and certainly the cost and timing of the deliveries, there really isn’t anything else I could offer. We haven’t really been in market yet, so it’s sort of early to provide any metrics or figures around the user experience and conversions, and things like that.
When working with Django Stars, is there anything you’d consider unique about their approach and development methodology?
I’m not necessarily in the greatest position to answer that. Our technology people here that have been working closely with them could probably answer that with more accuracy. I do think that they’ve been very well positioned to deliver our solution since they’d worked on a very similar deployment with some of our counterparts in Switzerland.
They were already up on the learning curve regarding the types of systems and things that are needed in the mortgage industry. Granted, Switzerland is different from the U.S., so being able to piggyback on some of that learning and expertise they already had was great for us. The other side of things is a comparative advantage regarding the economics and billing rates of talented Django and Python engineers. They’re more than capable of delivering high-quality, tested code, and they’re far less expensive than their American counterparts.
In retrospect, are there areas in which you think Django Stars could improve as a service provider?
I think the most challenging thing is the 10- or 11-hour time difference between Kiev and San Francisco. Perhaps having project management folks themselves here in the United States, in San Francisco or New York, would be ideal. It would be easier from a project management perspective to have their project leads working in our same time zone, rather than having to figure out how to engage across the 11-hour difference, which can be complicated at times. To some extent, that’s just the nature of using offshore developers to augment and support your technology needs.