We Make Apps People Love

Appstem is a full-service mobile strategy, design and development agency focused on creating apps that serve a purpose. Based in San Francisco, Appstem has delivered over 200 apps with a team of experts specializing in strategy, QA, development and UI/UX design. Our clients range from leading brands like Tesla, Enterprise and Johnson & Johnson; to high-growth startups like DUFL, Hubbub and EmployeeChannel.

Based in San Francisco, with over 200 app projects delivered, our work is the result of a highly experienced team who have been working together for years. We believe that the combination of the right process and and a complete team of mobile experts is the right way to build successful apps. We partner closely with you to combine your deep market expertise and customer knowledge with our talent.

 
$50,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2010
Show all +
San Francisco, CA
headquarters
  • 133 Kearny St. Suite 202
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Tesla Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Zendesk, Johnson & Johnson, Enterprise Holdings, Lionsgate, Jiffy Lube, Genentech, OUYA, Monster, Cerner Corporation, Caesars Entertainment, Neutrogena, Geisinger, Cambia Health, Actelion Pharmaceutical, UCSF, UC Davis, Pocket Gems, San Francisco General Hospital, JetSuite, Mammoth Mountain, Heasrt Corporation, Chartboost, Military.com

Reviews

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Retailer Comparison App for Consumer Products Manufacturer

“I appreciated how efficiently they worked, and they really valued my time.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Jan. - June 2018
Project summary: 

Appstem developed an internal mobile app that allows users to compare and contrast the public’s mobile experience for top retail sites. They worked iteratively and met all expectations.

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Russ Heilbrun
Director of E-Commerce, Johnson & Johnson
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Internal stakeholders use the app daily to assess and improve product pages. Third-party partners have also shown interest in its capabilities. Over the course of the engagement, Appstem remained responsive to inquiries. They actively listened to all ideas and communicated consistently. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I’m the director of e-commerce for Johnson & Johnson's consumer brands on the Target account in Minneapolis.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Appstem?

We approached Appstem to build a custom mobile app for internal use. The app compared the public-facing mobile experiences of top retailers in a side-by-side format.

What were your goals for this project?

Our objective was to look at Target.com in comparison with other leading retailer sites. This would allow us to assess our items against our competitors’ products and ensure that our content and layout on Target.com remained the best of its class. Additionally, we wanted to be able to quickly screenshot and influence Target Corporation to further invest in our categories and brands to improve our product detail pages (PDP), product listing pages (PLP), and other landing pages.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We searched internally and externally for the best team to create our app. Eventually, I received a great review from a friend who had worked with Appstem in the past. Once I started talking with Robert (CEO, Appstem), I knew I could trust him and his company to execute my vision.

Describe the project in detail.

After I described my ideas to them, Appstem came back with wireframes and concepts for us to review. We worked iteratively over the next few weeks to land on a final plan, and, ultimately, Appstem completed the app perfectly.

What was the team composition?

I worked with Robert in the beginning before primarily coordinating with Chris (Creative Director, Appstem). I also liaised with our internal IT team to gain approvals and move the project forward.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

The project has been a success. My team uses the app on a daily basis to find opportunities and correct issues. Our retail partners at Target have also seen the app and expressed interest in coming on site to test it.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

Robert and Chris were very easy to communicate with. They replied to emails quickly and were happy to jump on the phone when appropriate. I appreciated how efficiently they worked, and they really valued my time.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Whether it was a concern or an idea, Robert and Chris truly listened to what I had to say. They digested my remarks and always came back with awesome solutions and implementations.

Are there any areas for improvement?

This is a small, nitpicky comment, but there was a slight delay during the start of our project. At the time, Appstem was responding to another client’s last-minute requests, so they asked me if it was okay to delay our project. I approved it because I wanted to make sure they felt comfortable with their final deliverables, including mine when the time came.

5.0
Overall Score They produced fantastic results and are great people to work with.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    It was easy to get in touch with them. I was impressed with their responsiveness throughout the process.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They provided a competitive bid, and I was happy with the value ratio to the price paid.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They delivered my vision exactly as I’d described.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would definitely recommend them based on my experience; I hope to continue working with them in the future.

iOS Development for Action Sports Group Messaging App

"Appstem has gone above and beyond in the amount of work they have done."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
June 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Appstem built an iOS social networking app, developed APIs, integrated Google and Facebook, and created a subscription capability. They built a parallel microsite and are now rolling out additional features.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Campbell, California
Owner, Ridey, LLC
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Though the app Appstem built is still in early access, traffic to the corresponding microsite has been heavy. Their team is consistently accessible both geographically and electronically, which enhances the engagement significantly.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Ridey is a mobile application that is designed to connect people and eliminate the challenges of planning mountain biking, surfing, and paddleboarding trips with group text and a GPS network. I am the owner and sole investor.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Appstem?

I needed to build a fully featured networking iOS application to support the platform.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The Appstem team developed APIs, functionally programmed in Facebook and Google Maps, and are working to integrate Instagram. They are also working on a subscription component, as well as other features. They also built a corresponding microsite.

The app was recently published to the App Store on an early access basis.

What is the team composition?

I primarily work with the project manager, but also the CEO, VP of business development, and a developer.

How did you come to work with Appstem?

Initially, I was going to contract another app development company, but Appstem offered lower pricing. Plus, their full team was located near me. 

How much have you invested with them?

I have invested $95,000 in total.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started in June 2017 and it is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Since the app is so new, there are no substantive metrics for it, but the microsite has seen heavy traffic.

How did Appstem perform from a project management standpoint?

Appstem has gone above and beyond in the work they’ve done. They've updated me consistently whether I contact them or not.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I have access to their full team. It's important to be able to reach everyone who is involved, and the Appstem team has delivered.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I've had no issues with Appstem.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

It is important for customers to be fully involved with the team to notify them of personal preferences and keep the process streamlined. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Mobile Responsive Web App for University Research Study

"They went above and beyond the actual implementation and refined the project even further."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Appstem handled both the frontend and backend of a mobile responsive web app, focusing on customizing the UI, creating speech recognition and language processing functionalities, and Azure integrations.

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Steven Chan
Clinical Informatics Physician, University of California
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The project team surpassed the expectations for the app, creating it not only according to spec but also providing suggestions for its improvement along the way. Appstem seamlessly integrates with the internal workflow, maintaining their flexibility, responsiveness, and availability at all times.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the clinical informatics physician at the University of California in San Francisco. I work on research and operations projects.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Appstem?

We wanted to develop a mobile responsive web app.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They implemented our mobile web app and customized its user interface. We wanted to be able to work on both desktop and mobile devices and have the ability to switch languages using a speech and language recognition interface. We also wanted to import video and work with Microsoft Azure technologies.

What is the team composition?

They assigned a program manager, a UI designer, a front-end developer, and a backend developer. It was a small but strong and highly educated team.

How did you come to work with Appstem?

I met them in person at a Health 2.0 conference in Silicon Valley. We evaluated numerous other vendors as well but decided to go with Appstem.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent $95,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in January 2017 and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They helped us redefine the UI and made it way nicer. It’s implemented on their servers, as we’re still waiting for our IT team to provide the server space for it to run. We’ve tested the functional requirements and it’s all very well done, though still a work in progress.

How did Appstem perform from a project management standpoint?

This aspect was pretty solid as they’re highly responsive. They’re also close to where we are, giving us the advantage of visiting them whenever we need to.

We used email and an online project management tool where we could track issues and comments. They also used online UI software to show us the mockups and allow us to comment on them. Additionally, we used Google Drive and Google Docs to work with spreadsheets and define requirements.

What did you find most impressive about them?

In our work environment, projects are done over the course of a long period of time instead of short bursts of activity. Appstem was able to work with us pretty well despite this, and completed the job per our specifications.

Their team also helped us think through use cases and came up with great ideas along the way. They went above and beyond the actual implementation and refined the project even further than what we expected.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can’t think of anything.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

I feel strongly about face-to-face interactions since we deal with such sensitive information. Appstem is easily accessible and very open to meet with us, though they work very well remotely. I’d recommend to state upfront how you work and how you’d like them to work with you. They seem to be pretty accommodating and flexible.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I’m pretty satisfied.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

iOS App Dev for Social Media Platform

“They went the extra mile all the time and made the look-and-feel really nice.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. 2017 - Mar. 2018
Project summary: 

Appstem developed a social media application for iOS which allows users to create an inner circle of reviewers of movies and TV shows. Their work included the wireframes, design, development, and testing.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
San Francisco Bay Area
Blaise Smith
Founder & CEO, Couch Critic
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Appstem’s team succeeded in understanding the vision of the app and making it a reality. It functions smoothly and has high-quality graphics, making good impressions on users. The team exceeded expectations with clear explanations and collaborative communications.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the CEO and founder of Couch Critic which is a social media platform that provides users access to inner circle reviews of movies and television shows.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Appstem?

We needed to have the entire platform developed.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The app was developed for iOS. I designed a basic FileMaker prototype, which I provided to them. They took care of the wireframes, design, development, and testing.

The app allows people to create an inner circle of their favorite reviewers such as friends, family, and anyone whose opinion they respect. From there, users can look up a movie and see what their inner circle said about it. They can read the synopsis, see the trailer, and see where it is playing or streaming. Tickets can be purchased on the app for local theaters or they can watch the movie through any of the streaming services.

When Appstem developed the platform, they integrated with two other data suppliers, Guidebox and iShow International. Then, they compiled that with The Movie Database (TMDb) and integrated all of that into the platform.

We also included television, which was a challenge because of all the additional information involved with actors changing and stories evolving. The general synopsis of the entire series and the primary actors had to be extracted from all the series data.

What is the team composition?

I personally worked with six people from their team.

How did you come to work with Appstem?

I had interviewed three other app development teams, but I was discouraged because I felt they weren’t listening and their prices were high. I didn’t get the feeling of wanting to work with them. Then, I found Appstem through a Google search. They are cool people who are very nice, real, and really talented.

How much have you invested in them?

We spent around $65,000–$70,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them from October 2017–March 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Everyone that I have shown the app to has been totally amazed and really impressed. It is elegant and a level above other apps; it speaks for itself. It is so smooth, and the graphics are really well done. They went the extra mile all the time and made the look-and-feel really nice.

How did Appstem perform from a project management standpoint?

It was perfect, and there were no problems at all. Everything moved smoothly, and they were very responsive. We mostly used email and phone to communicate and Asana to track bugs.

What did you find most impressive about them?

After sitting down with the whole team and explaining my vision to them, they got it right away, which was nice. Every step was explained thoroughly, and they were totally accommodating. It’s my first app, which was scary for me, but they took care of everything and the communication was clear. They were very interactive, and there was never resistance when I gave them feedback.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Everyone would like things done a little faster, but I’m not sure how realistic that is.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

The more preparation you can do, the better. Make sure your vision is clear. Draw it out on a piece of paper or in a design program because it helps if everyone is on the same page.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their price was much better than anyone else’s.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have already recommended them.

iOS and Android Development for Hospital Education Application

“They were super efficient, reliable, and easy to communicate with.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Mar. 2015 - Apr. 2015
Project summary: 

Appstem developed an iOS and Android application to display and provide information. Working from documentation, basic functionalities, and technical requirements, they built out the apps.

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
San Francisco, US
Rachelle Avila
Informatics Analyst, University of San Francisco
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The finished applications were extremely well received by their user base, who appreciated the ease of use, clear design, and good functionality. The team communicated effectively and ensured that the project was completed on time, and within the budget.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I’m an Informatics Analyst that works for UCSF at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital for the Department of Anesthesia. The hospital also serves as a teaching hospital for UCSF medical students.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Appstem?

We needed them to build an iOS and Android app for the Resident physicians that rotate through our department.

What were your goals for this project?

Since we’re a teaching hospital, many of the new Residents aren't familiar with our specific protocols and procedures. We wanted a quick, easy, and reliable way for them to be able to access all the important information.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

After doing research on different application development firms, we chose them based on their healthcare experience and extensive knowledge around all the associated rules and regulations. Appstem was the best fit for what we were looking for.

Describe the project in detail.

The project was fairly straightforward. We had some initial meetings to discuss in detail what we wanted and from there, they did all the heavy lifting. We sent them over all the documentation, basic functionalities, and technical requirements. They were then able to offer their expertise on the layout and design features which we ended up using.

What was the team composition?

We worked closely with their project manager, developer, and designer. They were very responsive and were able to address all of our questions and concerns in a timely manner.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

After launching the iOS and androids apps, there has been nothing but positive feedback from the users. They no longer have to spend time searching for protocols and procedures and can spend more time focusing on their clinical duties.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

We used Basecamp as our main source of communication. The team did an excellent job of managing expectations, keeping this project on time and on budget.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

After working in healthcare for many years, it was very refreshing to work with a company like Appstem. They were super efficient, reliable, and easy to communicate with. They always responded to our questions in a timely manner and we always felt like they were engaged in our project.

Are there any areas for improvement?

Nothing on their end.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

iOS & Android Development for SaaS Startup

"They operated in the true spirit of partnership and were committed to our success."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Dec. 2015 - July 2017
Project summary: 

Appstem built native iOS and Android apps within a tight deadline for a product release. They also developed some features for the web app, provided UX expertise, and handled QA.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Mark Oney
SVP of Product Operations, EmployeeChannel
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

They delivered the apps both within the required budget and aggressive timeline, proving exceptional flexibility with change requests along the way. Appstem truly felt like part of the team rather than a one-off vendor and stood out with their expertise, commitment to quality, and professionalism.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am EmployeeChannel's SVP of product operations, responsible for technology research, engineering, hosted operations, and customer service for this mobile-first, venture-backed software as a service (SaaS) startup. We’re the leading provider of award-winning mobile apps for employee engagement and communication, enabling C-suite, HR, and internal communications teams to boost the impact and effectiveness of employee communication, to create a positive employee experience, and to drive cultural and business outcomes.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Appstem?

We enlisted their support in building our native iOS and Android apps for our initial product release. They also supported some feature development for our web app.

What were your goals for this project?

We needed to release our product to the market quickly while we recruited our own mobile development team.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We researched the market for mobile development shops and evaluated what we determined to be the top three players in the San Francisco area. We evaluated cost, relevant experience, technical acumen, and project proposals which included a response to our time-to-market goals. Appstem clearly stood out as the best partner in each category.

Describe the project in detail.

They worked on developing the initial product releases for both our native iOS and Android mobile apps. The budget was relatively fixed and the timeline was very aggressive.

What was the team composition?

We treated Appstem as an extension of our SaaS development team, leveraging them for mobile development, QA, project management, and a bit of mobile UX expertise.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

Appstem met both our cost goals and the rapid delivery of our initial product offering. They were very flexible, easy to work with, and accommodating with our change request. They operated in the true spirit of partnership and were committed to our success.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

We followed an agile development methodology. Working together with their team was fairly seamless.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

It didn't feel like an outsourced project, nor did we struggle with "client/vendor" type issues. Appstem is professional, experienced, and delivers quality work on time and within budget.

Are there any areas for improvement?

There’s nothing to suggest.

5.0
Overall Score It was an outstanding partnership and we were very satisfied with the result.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They worked aggressively against key milestones and accommodated our requested changes.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their offer was much more attractive than the competing bids.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They delivered high-quality code.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Their offer was much more attractive than the competing bids.

IoT Android App Dev for Home Automation Company

"They were responsive and we worked well together."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Apr. - July 2015
Project summary: 

Appstem developed an Android app from scratch for managing IoT home automation devices. They focused on making it both scalable an easy to maintain.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Isaac Martin
Former CTO, Dwelo
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The resulting app met all specifications and was delivered on time. While Appstem may be a bit more expensive than other vendors, their ability to deliver high-quality products quickly, without bugs, and per requirements make the investment worth it.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I was the CTO at Dwelo, a home automation integration company focusing on the multifamily space.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Appstem?

We needed an app that could remotely control home automation hardware. The interface needed to present sensor information such as thermostat settings, whether the lights are on or off, whether the locks are open or closed, and more, as well as send commands to those systems via a REST interface.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted to build a native app that met our business objectives according to best practices and which would be maintainable by our internal team after its development.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We spent time researching app developers and focused on the companies with experience in working closely with their clients during the development process. We also wanted a development team that was capable of building scalable and maintainable code rather than simply building something quickly.

Describe the project in detail.

We provided API documentation and wireframe specifications. Appstem built the app to our expectations while reaching out along the way whenever our specifications didn't seem to align exactly with our vision or documentation.

What was the team composition?

We were assigned a native Android app developer.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

The project was delivered on time and met all requirements.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

They were quite good in this aspect. The developer would reach out directly whenever questions arose. They were responsive and we worked well together.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

It’s challenging to build applications quickly, cleanly, and per specifications. Usually, only two out of three of those conditions are met, but in our case, all three were accomplished.

Are there any areas for improvement?

None that I can recall.

5.0
Overall Score Appstem is strongly recommended.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Meetings were easy to set up and were always attended by all stakeholders on time.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re moderately more expensive than other vendors, but we felt that our chances of receiving high quality were best with Appstem and we were right.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The product met specifications and was easy to maintain going forward.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I already have.

Website Re-design for Small Aviation Company

"Their design work is great, but the biggest thing for us is their effective communication."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
May 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

AppStem overhauled the frontend and backend systems of a small airline’s website. They built a custom CMS, with special attention paid to mobile optimization.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Los Angeles Metro Area
Amir Bahadoran
IT Manager, JetSuite
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new site is a dramatic improvement, especially in terms of mobile viewing. The improved functionality led to a decrease in support tickets. Appstem sticks to deadlines and effective communication made them superior to a previous vendor.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the IT Manager of a small airline and private jet charter company based in Los Angeles.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with AppStem?

We needed a complete overhaul of our website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We wanted to update our backend reservation system and modernize the design to better reflect our company’s messaging. AppStem created a custom CMS that allows us to make edits and upload new content. They also focused on mobile optimization so we could discontinue a mobile app we were unhappy with.

What is the team composition?

There were four or five people on our team, but we interfaced with everyone at AppStem, from their CEO and CTO down to their project managers. We also had direct access to their developers to ensure our technical requirements were met.

How did you come to work with AppStem?

Our previous site was built by a Swedish vendor and we had difficulties overcoming time zone differences and language barriers. My former boss came across AppStem and we were especially drawn to the fact that they’re based in San Francisco.

How much have you invested with them?

Around $75,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in May 2017 and our relationship is ongoing. The website is complete, but they continue to do other development projects for us.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our new site is beautiful, especially on a mobile phone. Our IT department also receives significantly fewer support tickets now that the site functions more smoothly. The project has definitely proven beneficial and we are very happy with what they have produced.

How did AppStem perform from a project management standpoint?

We typically communicated through email and used Basecamp to coordinate any issues or requests. They’re incredibly responsive, answering any questions within a reasonable amount of time.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their design work is great, but the biggest thing for us is their effective communication. They always responded promptly to our concerns, which was a major improvement over our previous vendor.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Their QA testing could use slight improvements. We found a few bugs in the deliverables they handed us for testing. Nothing dramatic, but I feel they could have caught the errors themselves with more robust internal tests.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Have a clear plan when you start the project. We were a little unprepared and found we had to make minor adjustments to the scope as we went along. If you want to get the most out of AppStem, have everything laid out clearly.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They stick to deadlines, a few unforeseen tech issues aside.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Web development is an inherently expensive process, but they're a good value.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Anyone working with them is in good hands.

Custom iOS Development For Tripext

"[T]hey’re able to execute in a fairly complex project environment."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
Project summary: 

Appstem built an iOS app that allows users to share travel information. The project included wireframing, back-end development, interface design, custom algorithm development, testing and updates. 

The Reviewer
 
1-11 Employees
 
San Francisco Bay Area
Lois Shim
Co-Founder, Tripext
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Every milestones was delivered before the deadline and met initial expectations. Appstem was able to execute complex projects despite an aggressive timeline. Their seamless communication and outstanding project management made the development process run smoothly.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are going to offer a mobile app developed on the iOS platform allowing peer-to-peer sharing of travel related information.

What is your position?

I am one of the co-founders.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Appstem?

The challenge that we were having as we became a business entity was the fact that we didn't have any technical staff on hand to develop the functional app for us. We did our research on our end and found Appstem. After a little bit of going back and forth and collaborating, we felt that they were a good fit for us. We felt confident that they could take our idea and bring it to fruition ultimately giving us the ability to launch on the Apple Store.

This is currently an iOS-only application. We do have thoughts of developing our solution for other platforms, but it's a bit early for us to make that decision now. The ultimate goal is to expand it out, but as of right now we really want to focus on growing our iOS user base providing the best user experience possible before deciding what other platforms to offer.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in more detail.

They are taking on the entirety of the development portion of the application. The whole process has been helpful since they have an in-house design team. The process has been very fluid. They helped us create the wireframes basically mapping out the flow of the app, how people are going to be utilizing the application, and detailing all of the designs for each screenshot.

As far as other involvements, they are building the background algorithm that's going to be used to optimize and efficiently match people interested in sharing their information. In other words, there's a level of sophistication involved with the algorithm that will prove to be instrumental in ensuring the app produces quality user matches for information sharing. It's not something that the users will be seeing on the front-end, but there's quite a lot of work on the backend that they've been helping out with, and guiding us through to figure out what is the best way to build the algorithm to better serve the end-users.

The application will not require significant amounts of data from the users. One of the attractive features of the app is the algorithm that matches people based on the very limited amount of data that we have to collect from the users. I feel like one of the biggest challenges right now, or one of the things that users have to deal with, is that a lot of websites and applications require a lot of user information. We are trying to minimize, as much as possible, the information that we take from them. The only required information is their names and email addresses. If they choose to do so, they can put in additional information, but none of that information is required to match the users.

We adopted an agile methodology in the development process. We are going through the alpha testing, and then we will be doing a brief beta testing session offered to a limited audience before we place the product on the market for public use. The beta testing that's involved is going to be fairly straightforward and using some of our closest stakeholders just to ensure that the application is running smoothly. The process of stress-testing the application will not be extensive. Once it is offered to the public, we will allow the users to dictate what changes need to be made and adjustments will be strategically made along the way.

How did you come to work with Appstem?

Obviously, one of the bigger drivers for different startups is the cost associated with development. We felt that they were very competitively priced against the other industry players. Speaking with them, an important aspect for us, too, was the chemistry and rapport  we established, and the clear communication abilities of the development firm to convey and understand concepts. Being that we were taking an idea and bringing it to life, we felt that it was pretty important to work with a company that was flexible, available, and also willing to brainstorm with us at times. So after cost, company personality and characteristics were priority in choosing Appstem.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

We're in the range of $51,000 to $200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

It's an ongoing relationship, and we're shooting for a launch date in November. We don't have a specific date in mind, but we do intend on launching in November.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics, metrics or user feedback from this engagement?

As far as benchmarks go, the only thing that I can think of is at the beginning of the development process we had certain milestones in place. We needed basic wireframes, designing of the wireframes, and mapping of our backend algorithm. Then it went straight into the development phase, and currently we're in alpha testing. We've had no issues meeting any of the milestones set at the beginning of the development process.

The design portion of the milestone got extended, but that was only after a mutual agreement from both parties that there were some significant changes that needed to be made. It wasn't at fault of either party, it just happened organically. The idea was evolving as we were building it, so it was just a timing issue of it that we decided to extend that portion out. The quality of them delivering everything that they said and promised that they would, for each of the milestones, has been excellent.

They are willing to go at the speed that you’re willing to go. One of the attractive traits is the speed that they’re able to execute in a fairly complex project environment. It was relatively quick, and there were times where I felt I was kind of scrambling on my end to get material and decisions to them. The calendar was there from day one, so I knew when the deadlines were for the material they needed from me. I think it’s important to be prepared to provide all that information in as much detail as possible to ensure there isn’t a lot of going back and forth in communication.

How did Appstem perform from a project management standpoint?

We've been assigned a dedicated project manager, but it's just more of a case-by-case, where we are interacting a little bit more with the developers as well. There's a lot of brainstorming that's occurring in the background, especially when it comes to the algorithm portion of the application. Building that, we've been in contact with the engineers themselves and, of course, the entire time, the project manager has been involved and it's been a very smooth process. We're using Basecamp for primary communication and milestone and task tracking.

What distinguishes Appstem from other providers?

That's kind of hard to say, only because I don't have any other development firms to compare them against. The only thing that I can say is that they’ve met all of our expectations, and that’s probably somewhat unique when it comes to 3rd party providers, especially in app development. 

In hindsight, is there anything Appstem could have improved or done differently?

With customer service, everything's been good; delivery was also great. It's kind of hard to say, because we're still in the middle of the whole process. It might be a little bit different when we see the final product, but so far, at the point of alpha testing, they've been very accommodating. We've met with them several times and they've showed us the product across multiple iterations. As of right now, everything looks great and is running smoothly along schedule.

I don't know if I would change anything. I highly doubt it. I have confidence that they're going to be able to deliver, based off of our past experience with them and their performance.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Not necessarily for meeting the deadlines, but just clear expectations on what the deadlines were and why they were given those specific deadlines.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Website Redesign & Migration for Ad Monetization Platform

"We don't just work with Appstem, we build with Appstem."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Chosen from a previous positive experience with them, Appstem migrated and redesigned a help site and will likely handle the future redesign of the marketing site.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Amir Friedlander
Marketing Specialist, Chartboost
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Appstem’s knowledgeable team that has made a great impact on not only the product offering but also its brand and web presence. They’re also outgoing though they’re often spread thin due to their large amount of clients.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I’m a marketing specialist at Chartboost.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Appstem?

We needed to redesign and migrate our help site.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We originally hired them to help us build our software development kit.

Describe the project in detail.

Appstem successfully migrated and redesigned our help site. We’re currently discussing a redesign of our marketing site as well.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

Their expertise has helped us shape our product, our web presence, and our brand. We don't just work with Appstem, we build with Appstem.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

We mostly communicate through phone calls and one-on-one meetings. Projects are managed through communal Asana boards.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Their friendly and professional team make them unique.

Are there any areas for improvement?

Because they are a vendor with a vast array of clients, Appstem cannot fully devote their bandwidth to Chartboost projects.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer