Branding, UX/UI, & iOS Development for Mobile Savings App
- Mobile App Development
- $200,000 to $999,999
- Oct. 2017 - Ongoing
- Willing to Refer
"It never feels like work for hire; it feels like they are part of the team."
- Financial services
- New York City, New York
- 1-10 Employees
- Phone Interview
AD:60 has designed and built an Android and iOS fintech app, a gamified iOS savings app, and a dashboard for KPI tracking. They currently manage nine integrations and release upgrades.
The fintech app has attracted $1.8 million users, with 6,000 joining each day, and the savings app receives outstanding feedback. Both UI/UX designs are intuitive and engaging. Although some planning issues have arisen, AD:60's dynamic skill and energetic attitude keep progress smooth.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I am the former CEO of Stash, a fintech company, and the current CEO of WinWin, a savings app.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What challenge were you trying to address with AD:60 Agency LLC?
Our company was looking for UX/UI design and app development.
What was the scope of their involvement?
Stash is a registered investment advisory app with lots of regulations and government scrutiny, so it needed to be bulletproof. A fintech firm can end up in trouble if it lets the wrong people in the door, even if you do all the right things.
They built and tweaked our first version on iOS, then helped us build our in-house tech team. That was nice because they didn’t see us as a short-term partner. They knew that if they helped us hire our own team, that would help us be successful.
We went back to them when we wanted to build the Android version, which was another big project. It made more sense for the people who built the iOS version to take on this big related project than for us to do it in-house. Over a year later, we hired them again to build banking services. It says a lot that we hired them at least three times.
Then I started WinWin, an iOS savings app, based on the premise that Americans find it very tough to save money. The more you save, the more chances you get to win. I hired them to build the app, and they have done a great job. We wanted to add something fun in a boring space, and they nailed it. Every day, users play a 30-second game to win a small prize between 10¢ and $1. For one moment in their day, they can feel positive about money. Every Friday, we hold a draw. We started with $1,000 and will add smaller prizes. Users get a chance to win for every dollar they save.
Until an app goes live, you don’t know what will work and what won’t. We are currently going through that, so we’ve hired them to stay with us as we record data, call customers, and move toward the product market. For example, we are rolling out four additional games because our users didn’t want to do the same games every day. Games are new for Ad:60. One doesn’t work well, but people loved the others that we built.
They care about building great solutions. It never feels like work for hire; it feels like they are part of the team. We will also hire them to build our Android version.
They also built our dashboards, which was huge. Alex (Partner & CEO, AD:60) thinks about KPIs like a founder. He knows which ones we need to measure and how often we need to measure them, so he built us a dashboard that lets us track our key KPIs.
We completed UI/UX design, some product testing, and production. We also integrated the app with nine different services. They built a very advanced platform for attribution and Linux messaging, which was important to me. I wanted to go big or go home.
What is the team composition?
We usually have a market research team that profiles the customer, the core value profit, and the ideal solution. Our in-house team is strong in that area, but we also respect their process. We did our research and analysis, but did it in parallel since they wanted to do their own as well. I did some of the heavy-lifting to keep prices low.
How did you come to work with AD:60 Agency LLC?
I met Alex through one of their former clients. When I was looking for an agency, they recommended AD:60.
Since there were nine integrations, my two co-founders and I needed a firm with chops. It involved trading, compliance, and many other elements. It would have taken us nine months just to recruit an in-house team to build it. We looked at a lot of different options, but we liked that they were local.
I sensed that they wouldn’t just do what you told them to do: they would challenge you and have strong opinions. They had also built another site that I liked, and they knew a lot about fintech and its marketing. They were expensive, but uniquely qualified for this build.
How much have you invested in them?
We have spent around $400,000 on the WinWin project so far.
What is the status of this engagement?
We began working on the WinWin project in October 2017, and the work is ongoing.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We had a good experience with them. No agency is ever perfect, but I was very happy with their work. It didn’t feel transactional.
Stash is the fastest growing mobile investment app, and 1.8 million people have used it to open brokerage accounts. We received $120 million dollars from Peter Thiel at Union Square Ventures and are adding about 6,000 customers a day. It has been a runaway success.
WinWin is still new, but it’s a great design. We had a profile in Fast Company, we’ve received great customer feedback, and we’ve gotten almost universal kudos on the design. You don’t see that often, especially in fintech. The branding feels like a consumer app rather than a fintech app.
We couldn’t compete with banks, so we had to carve out a fun and exciting space. They pulled it off: this app doesn’t look like anything you would ever see from a bank.
How did AD:60 Agency LLC perform from a project management standpoint?
We use Asana, InVision, and TestFlight.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I like that they are local, so we can work together three days a week. Alex digs in and cares. Our UX/UI team also really cared; you could tell that they loved the work and went the extra mile.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Since they have development teams in North Carolina and New York, communication issues sometimes arise. This is true especially when moving from one phase to another, such as from design to development. They could probably integrate a little better. Their development team is amazing though. It’s their secret weapon.
We had another branding consultant help us out with some things, and I think they could probably do a little better on that. You should undertake that whole exercise before you build, because the branding needs to be nailed before the UX/UI design. They’re are working on improving this, but they already have a very strong team.
We envisioned something that would let you play games on iMessage without having to open the app, and they found out subsequently that Apple does not allow that yet. That was their error; they should have known. They found out before we built it, but it was already in the project scope. I would have expected them and preferred them to know that before they said it was possible.
One of the games involves complicated trajectory physics, which they had some trouble getting right. I can’t blame this on them because there are so many entities involved, but our dashboards have some issues that need to be fixed.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Not everyone can afford to hire a firm like them, but I would urge fintech start-ups to do so. They can build advanced technical solutions and great UX/UI design. I didn’t need to hire an entire team to quickly release a great V1. Although they are expensive, they are worth it for certain projects.
Don’t hire them if you aren’t open to pushback and challenges. If you just want someone to build something, they are probably not the right firm for you.
Service & Deliverables
On time / deadlines
"We were a few weeks late, but I can’t blame them for that."
Value / within estimates
"They are expensive, but they are worth it. They’re priced correctly for what they do."
Willing to Refer5.0
"I have referred them seven times to clients that asked me for someone great. For fintech, I wouldn’t work with anyone else.