A digital product agency

Crema is a digital product agency creating web and mobile apps for disruptive companies and industry leaders.

 

We partner with funded startups and existing brands to create technology solutions and new digital ventures. Our iterative approach and small focused teams work with our clients to validate their ideas and launch them to market.

 

We work collaboratively to solve problems that better lives.We identify market viability, risk tolerance, and a clear path to industry domination.

Expertise:

  • Multisite and On-demand Marketplaces Solutions
  • Real-time enterprise applications
  • SAAS Platforms
  • Community and communication networks
  • Analytics and infographics

Our Lead services:

  • Innovation Consulting
  • Creative Strategy
  • Design Services
  • Prototyping and Testing
  • Web Application Development
  • Mobile Application Development
  • Digital Product Design 

Core Technologies:

  • Node.js
  • React.js
  • ReactivNative
  • Angular.js
  • Swift
  • Java
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Python
  • Bots

 

 
$50,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2009
Show all +
Kansas City, MO
headquarters

Portfolio

Key clients: 

See more of our work on our site https://www.crema.us/work Adidas Tilr Space Center Houston Kauffman Foundation Accuweather HipHire Ruby LaborChart Select Quote Black & Veatch Kudelski  

tilr | Skills meets jobs

tilr fully automates the recruitment process by matching worker skills to company requirements. They differentiate themselves by vetting and providing on-demand workers based on skills, not job titles.

A founding team with a vision to change hiring forever.

By working closely with the founding tilr team, Crema partnered to refine the brand and create a product experience for both

workers and companies. We built an API that drives matching skills to opportunities, work shifts, and payments. Eventually, Crema built the web, iOS, and Android builds for the platform we iterated through releases toward market validation. Crema served as the product team for tilr for the first two years the platform existed, and worked hand-in-hand with the founding team as an extension of their team.

Algorithmic-based hiring on skills, not resumes.

tilr entered into a market dominated by traditional hiring processes involving resumé bias, long wait times between job postings and fulfillment, along with other challenges that prohibited connecting job seekers and employers. Up front, tilr knew the solution had to involve algorithmic-based hiring on skills, not resumes, for effective and efficient job placement. Creating an accessible platform that efficiently onboarded and connected job seekers with employers was the core challenge that needed to be solved.

"Crema is great at pushing me to do the right thing for my company, as opposed to doing the right thing for them."— Luke Vigeant, Former CTO, tilrtech is a tool, we're building ventures.


Kudelski | MSS Portal | One central experience for a suite of security services

The Challenge of MSSIn a time of increasing threats and a proliferation of technologies promising answers, Kudelski’s Managed Security Services (MSS) Portal needed to demonstrate key offerings:Beautiful: Is it finely crafted and presented?

  • Functional: does it seamlessly connect different offerings?
  • Robust: is it able to handle heavy customer usage?
  • Flexible: can it meet different consumer
  • needs?
  • Quick: can it respond to customer inputs rapidly?

  • Crema was asked to design, prototype, test, build and deploy a new service called MSS Portal, which took all the different tools their clients had to use and pulled them into one, easy to use centralized tool - with the end goal to make security more effective and remove complexity for the end user. We created a design system that was consistent and clear across every view in the solution, providing valuable insight and depth into their MSS services and security posture across a global client base.



    In Q3 of 2018, Forester Reports reviewed 10 emerging MSSP's in the market ranking Kudelski among the top two


    A platform that's positive, not fear based.


    Kudelski Security received its highest scores in the following criteria:

    • business and technical value
    • reporting capabilities (including dashboard and user interface)
    • artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, automation
    • user experience road map and talent management.

    Crema continues to support the product with a maintenance and design retainer.

    PhysEmp | The leading platform for physicians to find jobs

    The leading platform transforming how physicians find jobs gets a needed transformation.

    PhysEmp (short for Physicians Employment) has been connecting physicians with employers since 1991. Originally starting out as a print magazine, founder Bob Truog evolved his offering to the early days of the Internet with great success. Since then,

    PhysEmp has been the industry-leading platform connecting talented physicians with employers and recruiters across the nation.


    Today, the platform allows physicians to search over 24,000 jobs in more than 200 specialties and subspecialties in all 50 states.


    What sets PhysEmp apart

    • Other job aggregators aren’t built to support the needs of physicians or the recruiters looking to place them in jobs. PhysEmp was created to uniquely support this population.
    • PhysEmp has been around for decades, and has built meaningful connections & trust with physicians, hospitals, practices, and recruiters every step of the way.
    • They meet physicians and recruiters where they are – offering an efficient and relevant job board available across devices.
    • There are no placement fees that other competitors require.

    Reviews

    Sort by

    Web Application Portal for Global Information Security Provider

    Drawing out exactly what the product needs to be is something they’re fantastic at.

     
    Quality: 
    5.0
    Schedule: 
    5.0
    Cost: 
    4.0
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    $50,000 to $199,999
     
    2016 - 2017
    Project summary: 

    Crema improved the design of an online security portal for existing clients to help communicate the value of the service to customers and make the interface more user friendly.

     
    The Reviewer
     
    11-50 Employees
     
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Lead Architect, Global Information Security Provider
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    Client satisfaction has increased due to Crema’s efforts to improve the security portal. Their team took the time to truly understand the needs and challenges of the project, allowing them to draw out the best solutions. The process even helped the company make other unexpected internal improvements.

     

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    We are a global information services provider with headquarters in Switzerland and the U.S. I lead the managed services architecture team in order to design, architect, and deliver services to our clients.

     
    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Crema?

    We needed to provide our existing clients a valuable portal that allows them to access an overview of their security posture and quickly respond to security alerts or incidents.

    While our development team was able to create the portal, we had difficulty communicating to our clients the value that we were bringing them and making sure it was easy to use. We were seeking a development team for help with user experience, UI design, consulting, and engagement.

     
    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    Crema’s team worked closely with our development team, who oversaw the backend, to speed up the development of the platform. Crema used standard javascript libraries, including AngularJS. Their involvement helped our team build out the frontend of the solution quickly. Their UI developer was able to turn our design into a working user interface.

    What is the team composition?

    We worked with two UI developers, a project manager, and an UI developer.

    How did you come to work with Crema?

    An organization based in Kansas City, who we have a close relationship with, recommended Crema. We had only been looking at a few other options.

    How much have you invested with them?

    Over $100,000

    What is the status of this engagement?

    We’ve been working with Crema since mid-2016 to early 2017 and continue to work with their UI/UX team on retainer.

     
    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

    We're extremely satisfied with the design, usability, and overall look of the portal. Clients have commented that a key reason they chose our services is because we were able to clearly communicate the value of the portal and client’s overall security posture. That’s all thanks to the great effort from Crema and their team.

    How did Crema perform from a project management standpoint?

    They were fantastic. To be quite honest, the project manager that we worked with was probably the best project manager I've ever worked with. Despite having extremely tight and ambitious timelines, Crema was able to deliver on time. I couldn’t say enough good things about the team.

    What did you find most impressive about them?

    The entire team took a lot of time to understand our business, our core consumers, what we were trying to deliver to them, and how we needed to communicate our value. They asked questions that helped us visualize how we wanted to communicate to customers. The process helped identify other areas for improvement internally. Drawing out exactly what the product needs to be is something they’re fantastic at.

    Are there any areas they could improve?

    It’s difficult to think of anything. The costs are higher than some of their competitors, but it’s absolutely justified.

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

    Company response

     

     

    Software Development for On-Demand Staffing Platform

    "Crema is great at pushing me to do the right thing for my company as opposed to the right thing for them."

    Quality: 
    4.5
    Schedule: 
    5.0
    Cost: 
    4.0
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    Confidential
     
    Nov 2015 - Ongoing
    Project summary: 

    Crema refined MVP goals before transitioning into full-scale development for a staffing app, scaling resources as needed to manage sprints. They now subsidize the internal team’s iterations every 2 weeks. 

    The Reviewer
     
    11-50 Employees
     
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    CTO, On-Demand Staffing Platform
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    The high-quality product has maintained a perfect acceptance rate on app stores, prompting great user feedback and allowing rapid platform growth. Crema’s client-focused workflow, down-to-earth communication, and willingness to expand their skills continue to encourage success. 

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    I’m the CTO and founder of an on-demand marketplace application that matches workers with companies that need them. This can be for as short as a 4-hour bartending gig on a Friday or as long as a 4-month warehouse or HR professional gig. We’re like Uber but for other types of jobs. A company posts the job, our algorithm matches the appropriate user, and that user gets a push notification on their phone. When they hit “Accept,” they get that job—no interview needed.

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Crema?

    We were an idea-stage company. Our original interaction with Crema was to work on product definition for our MVP [minimum viable product]. That relationship subsequently transitioned into evaluating different ways of building that app, including either building a full team internally or hiring a different kind of technology company. We ultimately ended up hiring Crema to do the product build as well for our MVP. We built our relationship with them to the point where we both took a significant amount of ownership in the product. 

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    We did something with them called an ideation session. The goal was to get, from my perspective, additional engineers to estimate how difficult the product would be to build, figure out what type of product we should build, scale it back a bit, and get an external set of eyes on the features to figure out what our core MVP could be. Subsequently, post go-live, we transitioned quickly from that market-ready team to re-subsidizing our labor internally with employees that used to be handled by Crema. We went from them being our whole product team down to just having some resources for a couple days a week. There are very few full-time resources on the project now. They helped me with everything from new hires to transitioning the knowledge base from them to my new internal employees.

    There was a UX designer, a product strategist, a project manager, an iOS developer, an Android developer, a web developer, and a backend Ruby on Rails developer. At some point, we had an extra frontend React web developer and an extra backend Ruby developer. Our core team was a person per discipline—Ruby, React, iOS, and Android. We subsequently decided to rebuild our mobile platform on React Native, so we just have a React Native resource now building on Android and iOS.

    How did you come to work with Crema?

    I had a friend that sold a company to Facebook, and he’s now at Airbnb. He’s smarter than me, so I reached out to him asking which outsourced companies he’d recommend. He mentioned two firms—a Midwest company and Crema. I’m pretty upfront and like working with people who are humble. We chose Crema over rebuilding the product alone or outsourcing it to a different company because they were an established team that would allow me to get the product to market as quickly as possible, which was our main goal.

    How much have you invested with Crema?

    We’ve worked with them quite closely to establish a structure that works for both of us. I can provide their card rate, but I am uncomfortable disclosing our relationship with them.

    What is the status of this engagement?

    We started working with them in November of 2015. The first product launched in July of 2016. 

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

    The product has never been rejected from the App Store on any submissions. That first time you submit a product, it can be scary. There are these horror stories of companies having products stuck in limbo. It’s amazing that we always ship a product every 2 weeks. They’re very good at allowing me to iterate fast.

    From my perspective, the most beneficial thing for me, as the co-founder of the company, is that I rarely get to spend enough time on the product as I’d like to since I have to go fundraising for a week or work on a new partnership. Before, I had internal hires that could replace me during those early months where you can be pulled in many different directions. I knew that I could go away for a week and that the product would continue humming along and they’d execute what I wanted. In the event that my absence would have made a material difference for the product, they would find a way to get in touch with me and make sure that the right thing was delivered.

    Crema is great at pushing me to do the right thing for my company as opposed to the right thing for them. That React example showcases this: they originally had 2 resources on the project to build 2 different apps that did the same thing. Because they’re such a small agency, when React Native came out and started to gain traction, they were able to champion that the firm should use it, get approval from the owners of the company that it’s now framework-based supported, and then pitch a project to me that allowed me to reduce my monthly spend and ship a product that can be built faster.

    They’re uniquely small enough that if they see something beneficial pop-up, they’ll recommend it, as long as it’s right for me and regardless of their long-term billable hours. In a startup, cash is king.

    It’s a trust thing. Working with contractors can be stressful, especially some of my other products. When I make a requirements document, it’s literally built exactly how I write it. Crema, however, does a pretty good job of knowing when I’ve mistyped a requirement, knowing when to push back, and knowing when to ask me a question to make sure that what they’re building reflects what I want.

    How did Crema perform from a project management standpoint?

    There’s a specific resource on my team who’s our project manager, and he’s incredible. I wish I could poach him, but it’s quite clear that I can’t.

    They hit every deadline. We’re Agile, so there aren’t hard builds that we’re trying to release. I know when people are going to deliver during a week, and I’m made aware during every sprint if we’re going to hit it. If they’re under risk, I’ll get a yellow light. I always know what’s going to be shipped. If for any reason the product that’s about to be shipped isn’t exactly what I think it is, they’ll let me know up front and give a solid reason why (usually because I added scope).

    What did you find most impressive about Crema?

    They have a strong product team, as opposed to just developers. Often, a company is quite strong in development, branding, user flow, or UX, but they’ve been a delightful mix of all that. It’s a product team for hire as opposed to a development team or UX team for hire. Having everyone who built the product, especially in those early days, are all around the table at the same time is significantly better than trying to piecemeal a team together between a branding firm and a development shop offshore. That’s been the main difference. I’ve never had a full product team for any product I’ve worked on before.

    Are there any areas Crema could improve?

    When I first started, Crema’s QA wasn’t as solid as I was used to. I actually gave them that area of improvement, and they hired a new resource. They listened to my feedback and improved.

    The only thing that would be beneficial is spending more time on internal tools before a product goes live, but that would have pushed back my delay. They could emphasize internal tools for the company more, understanding that we’ll have users within our organization who should have tools before the product goes live.

    I really don’t have anything negative to say or big areas of improvement for them. They send me forms every month to see if there was anything they could do better. They’ve fixed everything I pointed out. 

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

    Web Development for Online Hiring Service

    "I can't say enough good things about their project management."

    Quality: 
    5.0
    Schedule: 
    5.0
    Cost: 
    4.5
    Willing to refer: 
    5.0
    The Project
     
    $50,000 to $199,999
     
    Dec. 2014 - June 2015
    Project summary: 

    Crema conducted full-stack development for a website with part-time job listings, allocating five resources to create, test, and deploy a functional MVP. 

    The Reviewer
     
    1-10 Employees
     
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Brian Kearns
    CEO, HipHire
     
    Verified
    The Review
    Feedback summary: 

    Since launching, the website has experienced no bugs or technical breaks, thanks to Crema’s forward-thinking design process. The team’s complete transparency and ability to focus on product longevity ensured a successful solution. 

    A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

    BACKGROUND

    Introduce your business and what you do there.

    I’m the CEO of HipHire. The best way to think about the company is as a Match.com for part-time blue- and white-collar jobs that tend to have high turnover in industries like restaurants, retail, and logistics. 

    OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

    What challenge were you trying to address with Crema?

    We wanted to find the right company that could interpret market research in order to focus and build the right product based on my 14 months of data. It wasn’t the traditional "I have a problem. I'm hoping you can help me solve this. Here's what I think the solution is." I had already derisked a lot of the typical things that a firm might be concerned about. 

    SOLUTION

    What was the scope of their involvement?

    Crema provided a frontend and a backend engineer, a product owner in charge of product design, and a project manager, so it was roughly five people over the course of this initial stage. In the early stages, the product architect helped deconstruct all of the research I had done and the validated concept I came up with and put together what we thought the initial solution would look like.

    To them, the most important thing was less about the tech and more about ensuring that we're building the right minimal viable product (MVP) out of the gate that will solve the problem and allow me to get traction. It wasn’t something to put out there with missing things and traction issues. They were really focused on making sure that I had a viable product that could start functioning from day one. It didn't have all the bells and whistles, and we didn't need all that; it just needed to be the MVP, and that was important.

    What they built originally for me was a web platform. It was mobile-responsive because I have a marketplace business with a side for businesses and another for job seekers, so it needed to respond to the technology that both of those types of groups tend to leverage when looking for part-time jobs. The technology was important because I wanted to make sure that we were leveraging not the latest and greatest but were using a core technology that we're going to be sitting on for the next five or six years, and that was their skill set and strength. It wasn't leading-edge, where 1% of developers were using the platform, nor was it an older technology that's been around for a while. I know it was built in JavaScript, Heroku, and a couple of other technologies.

    The solution was more about the vision and understanding user functionality. That's where I feel Crema is very strong. It's not just fixing the leaky pipe and then realizing there's another leak further down. They’re able to see the bigger picture and understand what you're trying to accomplish to make sure that it’s being incorporated into the design. That's also important because, as they see the bigger picture, they know how things are going to expand, change, and adjust, and we've accounted for that in the design. It's like we've looked at the five-year picture and shrunk it down to one year, but as you grow and build and add on, this is going to expand into that five-year vision. A lot of companies just fix for now. Then, as you push the rock down the road, you keep dealing with the problem.

    How did you come to work with Crema?

    For me, it's all about the people that I work with. I find the tech and design the easy part. I really focus on companies and people that I want to spend time with. Crema’s culture is something that's really important to me since my own background is naturally drawn to strong, culture-driven leaders and companies. That tells you a lot about a well-run, put-together organization versus just a team of people.

    I had met the owners of Crema through various social and entrepreneurial events here in Kansas City, so we already knew each other. I had touched base with several other design firms, but I knew the reputation of and the quality of work produced by Crema. I always had intentions to work with those folks, and there was never a reason not to.

    How much have you invested with Crema?

    We did things on a fixed cost, and then our support contracts were annual fixed cost. I know for our support costs, Crema was initially designed to be the tech company until you were able to build up your own tech firm, and then they're able to hand you off things and you can take it from there. They limit their support, at least at that time, to a set amount of hours a month. If you want more than that, it's probably time for you to build your own team and start taking things over. We had a contract that was probably $2,000 a month that included 15 or 20 hours of support that we spread out over a year.

    In terms of the bill, we just broke it down to one fee for the whole thing. 

    What is the status of this engagement?

    We signed the contract in December of 2014. There was about a four-month design process. We had to ramp up in January and then ramp down prior to launching. We pushed dates out, so they were done way before June of 2015. We deployed the web version in mid-June.

    RESULTS & FEEDBACK

    Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?

    The quality of the product is the most important thing, and we never had anything break on the website that kept people from doing stuff. All of the functionality was extremely well tested and deployed. We were never in bug-fix mode. We were always ahead doing feature enhancements and improvements as part of the support contract. In the support contract, for small features that were already there, we would make slight improvements based on analytics and user feedback. Then, we might build and budget in smaller projects when we realized a feature was missing, and Crema would work that into their Scrum process.

    The biggest comment I always got from our customers is how well it worked. Look and feel was not as important as making sure that it was reliable, did what it was supposed to do, and people didn't just get hung up anywhere inside of it.

    How did Crema perform from a project management standpoint?

    That is one thing they are the best at. They assign you a project manager, and we would talk at least three times a week. I always knew what was coming up in the next sprint because we would always talk about in advance. They always hit all of their deadlines. They were completely open and transparent. I can't say enough good things about their project management. That is something that's so missed, and I think they're just hitting it perfectly and are only going to get better at it.

    What did you find most impressive about Crema?

    I haven't worked with a lot of other vendors. But, the difference that I see, which comes down to the technology design, is that people are only able to fix one problem. There was a recent issue that came up that I worked with another company for. They deployed a fix, but then it took me two days to deconstruct it and say, "Here's the bigger vision. This is really how it needs to work." This other group is made up of surgeons in terms of programming, but the vision process falls more on my shoulders.. In look and feel and other things, I think we've reached a little bit of parity in today's web and app development. The way Crema approaches design—thinking about the bigger picture, project management, and culture—is really where they have an advantage over companies looking past that.

    Are there any areas Crema could improve?

    That's a hard one. It may be their level of expertise. I was working with some of the newer employees, so take that for what it's worth. They were probably not as efficient, but they had other experts inside the company to fall back on. It's like you might have a new guy out of college working on your car, but he always had the 20-year mechanic to ask questions. None of that ever revealed itself in terms of design or deployment. That was taken into consideration on the bid estimate because it was giving an opportunity for newer folks to work on new technology.

    I'm completely transparent. If I know there's a problem, I'm always happy to make other people aware of it. But, to be honest with you, it's hard to throw rocks at these guys. 

    5.0
    Overall Score
    • 5.0 Scheduling
      ON TIME / DEADLINES
      The project management and deadlines were stellar.
    • 4.5 Cost
      Value / within estimates
      Since we did fixed bids, everything was as agreed. I think they're a little more expensive than other firms, but the extra cost is worth paying. If you’re looking for someone to grind out something cheap, it's a completely different experience.
    • 5.0 Quality
      Service & deliverables
    • 5.0 NPS
      Willing to refer
      I do that quite often.