Business clarity. Software craft.

Distillery is a full-service software design and development company. We've built iOS mobile apps featured by Apple, Android apps with millions of downloads and have taken startups to large successful exits. Distillery is a certified partner of Microsoft, IBM, PubNub and Oracle.

 

We offer a range of services for companies of every scale, from startups to enterprises. For startups, we can create a prototype to validate your idea, build a technical roadmap so you know how your product can be built, and put together everything you need to get funding or take your next step. When you’re ready, we can take your product from idea to launch and support you in every step of building your product and your company.

For enterprises, we can help you develop custom line-of-business apps or internal applications, either as outsourced efforts or by contributing talented engineers to your own efforts.

For companies of all sizes, we can stay with you post-launch, providing a wide array of support and resources to ensure your product and business gain traction. Whatever you need, we’re here for you, whether that’s the occasional check-up, feature expansion, or a brand new version.

Our mission is to assist companies in building outstanding applications that serve their customers. We believe that the best way to create successful products is to create successful companies.

 
$50,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
2012
Show all +
Santa Monica, CA
headquarters
  • Distillery
    301 Arizona Ave, Suite #250
    Santa Monica, CA 90401
    United States
    310-776-6234
other locations
  • Distillery

Portfolio

Key clients: 

DELL EMC, Syncplicity, ScoreBig, Cizo, Spinlister, MarketBridge, Tala, Altpoint Ventures, Intelematics.

Nedl

Using speech recognition and the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, the nēdl app will help listeners search more than 100,000 live news, sports, talk, and music broadcast streams to quickly find the things they’re most interested in listening to. (Ultimately, nēdl will also let users create their own live stations so that they can inject themselves into the mix.) For internet-search-like abilities across live streams worldwide, you’ll simply be able to ask Alexa.

Distillery worked with nēdl to build the MVP (minimum viable product) for nēdl’s Amazon Echo application.

After Distillery helped nēdl set up the infrastructure needed, they worked on setting up the backend on their own server using Node.JS Alexa Skills Kit SDK hosted with Amazon AWS. They then worked on creating appropriate intents for handling users’ speech and configuring the intents’ handlers for the application. Next came integration with the Audials API.

Netvest

Netvest approached the Distillery team with a remarkable opportunity to develop a pioneering application for both iOS and Android. The goal was to create an over-the-shoulder perspective on the investment strategies of some of the most successful personal investors across the country. All in real-time. The team quickly identified the primary challenge: simplify a vast array of complex data into scannable information accessible to any level of investor, including non-professionals. Profiles would allow complete access to the portfolios of the investors, enabling users to gain trust in the service and confidence in their investment choices.

Tapture

Tapture brought in the Distillery Product Team to help research, design, and build a new entry in the growing field of location-based mobile gaming. The initial vision imagined a geolocation game requiring game players to capture different areas or territories indicated on a map screen. Successful gameplay would hinge on a seamless melding of the digital and real worlds with a playful and highly responsive UX that rewarded gamers for frequent interactions and check-ins. A team structure would further reinforce Tapture’s appeal to young social gamers, helping to integrate the game into their daily lives.

Soapbox

Recent studies estimate the average person spends over five hours a day on their smart phone. For many of us, a significant portion of that time is spent on social media. The Soapbox team envisioned a revolutionary social networking platform where users could post and sell items directly on their feed. The key challenge for our Product Team was to develop a seamless functionality that would enable users to easily monetize their social media presence.

CIZO

CIZO came to Distillery after another agency failed to deliver a successful product. With a poor understanding of the target demographic, they produced a prototype that underperformed during usability testing. Distillery’s task was to build a video platform running a continuous feed of official, bleeding-edge content in a pleasing and accessible format. Integral to the challenge was the utilization of a back-end empowering a small staff to upload content in anticipation of user demand.

Reviews

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MVP for Live Stream Audio Platform

“Unlike other agencies, Distillery takes responsibility for their work, which makes it easy to problem solve.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Jan. 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Distillery developed a voice-activated software solution for Amazon Alexa and iOS that enables listeners to search through a live radio database using key terms. They currently continue to support development.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Los Angeles Metro Area
CEO, Audio Platform
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Despite only recently going live, Distillery’s apps boast an incredible number of downloads with no reported crashes. The team outshines the competition with their responsiveness, technical ability, and exceptional service, overcoming time constraints to expedite the product launch.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of an audio platform that allows radio listeners to search for any live broadcasts, including news, sports talks, informational podcasts, music, or user-generated content. Our system indexes all spoken word in real time, which enables users to discover broadcasts with keywords.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Distillery?

Initially, we were trying to create a speech recognition software on Amazon Alexa. Although we had some in-house technical expertise, Alexa was still a relatively new platform at the time. We faced the complex challenge of building intent and creating a logic for our system. As a result, we needed resources to develop a voice operated search engine solution for live audio, which also involved an accompanying iOS app.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They worked on the Alexa voice-recognition skill, developing the software from scratch. In order to allow seamless voice-operated search, they connected about three different APIs that we had acquired through licensing. The Amazon Echo app responds to specific vocal commands; after giving an introductory tutorial, the app allows users to search over 120,000 live radio stations in real time with keywords. As for the iOS app, they used our provided wireframes and documentation to develop the mobile platform, which has the same capabilities as its Echo counterpart.

They’ve recently delivered full minimum viable products (MVP) for both apps, and we’re currently live on Alexa and the App Store. We’re planning to engage them a few more times for ongoing development work.

What is the team composition?

We worked with a project manager for the Alexa software, an assistant project manager for the iOS app, and about four developers throughout the process.

How did you come to work with Distillery?

We met their CEO when we joined a local media startup accelerator. He was a mentor in the program.

What is the status of this engagement?

Their work began in January 2018 and is currently ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Although we’ve only just launched both apps, we’ve seen a thousand percent increase in downloads. According to our Apple statistics, we haven’t had any crashes so far, which is a testament to Distillery’s technical skill. We’re excited about how clean and simple the iOS app looks. They’ve done a great job of keeping the interface accurate to our original designs.

How did Distillery perform from a project management standpoint?

They’ve managed the project well. While there have occasionally been conflicting project deadlines, their team did everything they could to help us figure out what was necessary for the release. Even if they couldn’t deliver on everything in our wish list, we appreciated how they pushed things live in the App Store. Their great relationship with Apple allowed them to get our apps lie on the same day. In terms of communication, we talked mostly through email, Zoom, and in person. We used Jira and Google Sheets to track our work.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their professionalism separates them from the competition. I’ve previously worked with a lot of development teams where I’ve had to be upset to get the desired results. There are a lot of little things that an inexperienced team won’t do or don’t think to do, and I have to explicitly instruct them through the process.

Unlike other agencies, Distillery takes responsibility for their work, which makes it easy to problem solve. They take care of any little details to smooth the process without batting an eye, responding promptly to fix any bugs. The team is just so matter-of-fact. Without a doubt, they’re the best team I’ve ever worked with.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, nothing comes to mind.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Make sure to reach out and speak to their CEO because he’s easy to work with.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were the most valuable.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They were exemplary.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

iOS Prototype Dev for Consumer App Startup

“They’re good at responding to problems.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. - Aug. 2017
Project summary: 

Distillery participated in a thorough MVP phase and developed a custom iOS application which allows users to browse, communicate, and make appointments with employers.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Qatar
Founder, Staffing Platform
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Feedback from beta testing was positive and merited display on the company’s landing page. Distillery was responsive and quick to remedy problems, and the team formation remained consistent. The CEO’s availability was also significant in regards to their overall proactive approach.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re providing a platform for college and university students to seek employment opportunities, mostly part-time and internships.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Distillery?

I had an idea, and looked at a few outsourced development companies.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Before the kickoff call, we had a two-hour meeting during which we discussed what I wanted, and then built out the idea. We continued the process afterwards with the intention of creating a MVP [minimum viable product]. The brainstorming lasted for three months after that call in January. By mid-April, we had a clear understanding of what we wanted to do.

The product is a custom-built iOS application with six categories: business and finance, homes, services, education, media and tech, and shopping delivery. Users can choose whichever they like, browse through job posts created by employers, and then apply for jobs. They will then have access to a communication section within the app through which they can speak, set up times/dates, and meet with employers in order to complete the task.

What is the team composition?

The team stayed largely the same, with only one or two alterations. I’ve been in constant contact with the development team in Russia, as well as with a couple of people in California who handle marketing. They assigned a project lead, too.

How did you come to work with Distillery?

I shortlisted 5–6 candidates, including Distillery. They sounded as if they could deliver my idea, so I chose them. Some of the research was online, but I also found a couple of groups through a friend’s recommendation. None of them were local—most were based in the U.S., while one was from India, and the other, Australia.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent close to $150,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in mid-January 2017, and the development is complete. We will launch some time in mid-January 2018. I plan on releasing an Android version, but I’m unsure if Distillery will be involved.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’ve begun beta testing, and the website is online. We’re inviting people for early access and collecting reviews. The social media pages are also ready, and we have a lot of content there.

We’ve had positive reviews, some of which we’ve posted on the landing page of the website. We come from a nontechnical background, so Distillery handled anything that went wrong.

How did Distillery perform from a project management standpoint?

Whenever there was a problem, I could send them an email and have them handle it. They’re good at responding to problems.

We used Basecamp for project tracking, and communicated via email, GoToMeeting, and Zoom.

What did you find most impressive about them?

This is my first development startup, so Distillery is the first company I’ve used. I’ve worked with others, but only for marketing purposes. Distillery is quite similar in comparison.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They’ve been sufficient so far. Every time I raised a query, they dealt with is quickly. There have been a couple delays due to the development team being in Russia, and the other resources being in California. There are huge time differences, which can lead to a lag in responses from both sides.

They could’ve reduced development time. There were instances when I might have been late in approving decisions, but I would’ve wanted the timeframe to be smaller.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

Clients have to do their research and talk to the development team. Someone only willing to visit websites and go with the first software house they find is basically planning to fail. I liked that I was able to regularly talk with Distillery’s, because other development companies were shy about facilitating this. People in my position should research thoroughly, especially if they are on a tight budget, if they want to find a partner who has the optimal proactive approach.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They are on the costly side.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I would like to have seen some minor improvements.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Staffing Arrangement for Financial Services Startup

"They’re very responsive to our project leads and embedded into our process."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Aug. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Distillery augments a quickly growing fintech team on both the frontend and backend of their main product, a data-driven Android app.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Santa Monica, California
CTO, Finance Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Distillery is responsive and reliable. Their developers can closely collaborate with internal teams to speed up timelines and help stabilize mission-critical projects. They’re a valuable addition, and their work contributed to successes like meeting funding goals and doubling number of app users.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re a startup that provides credit to people in emerging markets, specifically people who don’t have access to credit (typically underserved users), and we do that through various technologies. We determine people’s credit ratings or credit scores via information from their phones. Today, we’re in a couple of countries including Kenya, Tanzania, and the Philippines. My role here is the CTO. I’m responsible for a couple of teams, specifically engineering, data science, data analytics, and product.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Distillery?

There’s been a big crunch in getting engineering hires. Our company has been growing rather quickly, and we couldn’t meet our hiring demands. We decided to get some additional support from contract engineering jobs. That’s how we decided to go with Distillery.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We have Distillery team members on both the frontend and backend of the product. Our frontend is an Android application, and it talks to our backend for various features, such as how we send the data across the phone and what kind of treatment to give the user once they’re within the app.

We employ a model where we have their team members embedded within our team’s development cycle. We had one or two of their developers work collaboratively with our developers, so they would work on projects together. It wasn’t secondary tasks—it was very important, all mission-critical engineering development efforts that the Distillery team members helped us with.

The developers working on it from the Distillery side have been a stable team. The size of the team working with us today is about four developers. There’s no project lead on their end. The way we run our projects is we have our own internal project leads, either from engineering or product, and those leads would lead the entire squads.

How did you come to work with Distillery?

It was a referral. One of the biggest deciding factors for choosing Distillery over the competitors was one of our engineering leaders here had previously worked with Distillery and vouched for their work. Cost was not a huge factor. It really came down to quality.

How much have you invested with Distillery?

Somewhere between $150,000–$200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together about a year ago.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

In terms of our business growth, if you want to use a milestone, our company successfully raised its next round of funding during our engagement with Distillery. That was a big milestone. In terms of user growth, we’ve doubled since working with Distillery. Those were the two big ones.

In terms of productivity and ease of supervision, unfortunately, I don’t have a point of reference there to other vendors.

How did Distillery perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re pretty reliable. They’re very responsive to our project leads and embedded into our process. I’m generally pretty satisfied.

We use project management tools such as JIRA, and Slack for communication. We do video conferences as well. We’re in contact pretty regularly.

What did you find most impressive about Distillery?

What I like about their model is that the developers initially come on-site and work with us for three to four weeks to learn our process and system before going back to their home country. I like that part because it really helps with the onboarding process and getting them ramped-up.

Are there any areas Distillery could improve?

In terms of improvement, it’s due to our own capacity. Sometimes, if we need more developers, they just don’t have enough. I guess it’s because they have a lot of other clients as well. I would like a more formal feedback group. If we can provide it to them or they can provide it to us, I think that would be helpful, but it hasn’t really been a major issue.

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

Custom iOS Dev for Consumer Product Startup

"I’m impressed with their ability to identify and adapt to possible issues."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Jan. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Distillery created a family scheduling app (iOS and web) from scratch, designing and developing an MVP with calendar, shared lists, and messaging capabilities. They’ll start work on an Android version shortly.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Roanoke, Texas
CEO, Consumer Product Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The initial product finished ahead of the launch schedule, thanks to Distillery’s flexible reactions to different delays and changes. The team’s high-quality deliverables, attention to detail, and family atmosphere continue to promote success.  

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of a company that offers an iOS and web-based family scheduling app. The product is a shared family calendar organizer for both scheduling and sharing events. The app also offers shared grocery and to-do lists. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Distillery?

When we formed the company, 2 of my family members came up with the product idea. They asked me to partner with them to get the product developed. None of us are programmers or engineers, so we needed a third-party to build the first version of our platform.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We were a brand-new startup and just had an idea. We met with Distillery to outline what we were trying to achieve as far as functionality. After that in-person session, they spent a couple of weeks laying out an MVP. We started working on the design, and they gave us a full series of different design choices. We tweaked our selection until we got the right look and feel. After finalizing our approach, we started the building process.

The product needed to have full calendar capabilities, with scheduling functionality for a family as well as shared grocery and to-do lists. Distillery shared their insight as far as which functions would add value to the calendar and scheduling platform. The app also allows a family to share scheduled events with others, such as a grandparent or babysitter. A key part of the platform is that we could keep the family up-to-date with regards to the details of upcoming events.

The app also includes a messaging function. Users can message inside an event, and that message streams live with the event. We didn’t integrate with other social media networks or payment services. We’re about to begin developing the Android version.

We had a 9-person team from Distillery and interacted with probably 5 of the team members—2 or 3 of them on a daily basis, and 5 on a regular basis. We’ve interacted with all the team members at some point. We have a steady project manager who handles all the high-level stuff.

How did you come to work with Distillery?

We did online searches for development companies and requested pitches. We interviewed about 7 different firms around the country to see if they’d be a good fit for the project, ultimately settling on Distillery. Since our idea was for a family-based product, we were looking for a firm that had a smaller, family atmosphere. We wanted to get to know the people involved in the project and work closely with them on our overall vision. Several of the groups we met with were really big firms with lots of people. Distillery is a mid-sized firm and has a lot of expertise in all the right pieces.

We’ve been working with Distillery every day for about 18 months, and they’ve become part of our family atmosphere. We talk every day and are involved in all the planning. It’s been a great relationship.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our partnership began in January of 2016, and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We don’t share the specific statistics, but we’re ahead of schedule and have performed better than expected.

How did Distillery perform from a project management standpoint?

They’ve really stayed on schedule. As with any project, hurdles came up that either delayed the work or changed our direction. I’m impressed with their ability to identify and adapt to possible issues. They always communicate the reason for a delay or potential future issue.  

We had full access to JIRA, where we could monitor their daily activity. We were involved in the development team’s Slack channel. We also had weekly Skype calls and daily email and telephone conversations. We visited them in Santa Monica for meetings probably a dozen time over 18 months.

What did you find most impressive about Distillery?

I was impressed by their ability to respond to hurdles. They have a strong team atmosphere. I felt they really took our feedback, advice, and input seriously. They caught on to our vision and did a great job in fulfilling it. Distillery is the only firm I’ve dealt with, so I don’t have anything to compare, but I’ve been happy with their work.

Are there any areas Distillery could improve?

Nothing comes to mind. We’ll continue to work with them for the foreseeable future. Any problems and issues that arose were corrected, so I don’t have specific feedback about improvements. They’re fairly priced relative to the other groups we interviewed. They were timely in their output, and the product has performed as described.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for potential clients?

Don’t hire the first group you meet; instead, really invest in speaking to several different firms. They all have advantages and disadvantages, but it’s important to get to know a provider well before making a big commitment that could determine your success or failure. 

5.0
Overall Score It’s been an enjoyable partnership.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We met deadlines most of the time. When we didn’t, I was notified in advance. They always had a plan to handle the delay.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’ve spent a lot of money, but I think we have a fine product.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Minor bugs and changes pop up in every project, but the overall product has performed as expected.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve had a very good experience and would recommend them to friends.

Platform Development for Entertainment Company

"It all comes down to how talented their people are."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Nov. 2015 - Sep. 2016
Project summary: 

Distillery developed an on-demand video streaming solution for web/iOS. They also performed QA testing and resolved all discovered bugs. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Los Angeles, California
Founder & CEO, Entertainment Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

One key highlight includes access to exceptional design/technical talent but streamlining communications was one area for possible improvement. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We offer a video-on-demand platform specializing in film and video game trailers, as well as videos about lifestyle and tech product launches, and live events such as concerts. We offer a video-only experience for previews. I am the founder of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Distillery?

Each developer has different types of incentives and agendas in terms of nudging the client towards certain packages and development approaches. One firm may have a focus on HTML5, so they will steer towards hybrid development, while others may have good iOS or Java developers, and so on. I had done a smaller-scale project using a competitor of Distillery, who wanted to nudge me in a direction that I didn't care for. I searched for a better fit and found Distillery.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We worked with Distillery to build our platform on iOS and the web, and they also provide occasional bug fixes. We don't have any in-house developers, so all the work is done by Distillery. Although they're not cheap, the advantage of choosing a premium development shop is the guarantee of working with good talent, instead of bringing in mediocre in-house resources. This is a good solution, depending on the circumstances. We've had an overall professional experience with Distillery.

I brought some work done through my previous engagement with another firm, thinking that it could help save time, but Distillery pretty much started from scratch, redoing everything. The final product was much better, especially given that the previous engagement was much smaller in scope and had to be rushed. Distillery has a very high in-house standard.

I worked with 2 product managers, one product owner, one UX [user experience] and one UI [user interface] designer, a full-stack developer, and a number of backend developers who were probably offshore. In terms of senior, decision-making personnel, Distillery assigned 6-7 people to my project, on top of the main resources writing the code. I met with Distillery's team every 2 weeks, which is how long our sprints were. We would set milestones, have reviews (usually at their office), write detailed critiques, and go from there. Everything went through Distillery's project manager and product owner, but I also interacted with the UI and UX designers.

How did you come to work with Distillery?

I looked up some of the best firms in LA through Google, looked at portfolios, and spoke with them, talking about budgets and types of development. Reputation was a factor. Some firms are known to outsource much of their work to certain countries with a less-than-great reputation, while others made promises which they couldn't likely keep. Since I couldn't just use places like Yelp, much of the process consisted of going to meetings, feeling them out, and moving on from there.

How much have you invested with Distillery?

The cost of Distillery's services has been around $250,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Distillery in November 2015. Our main engagement ended in April 2016, but we had another minor project in the fall of this year, for a couple of weeks.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Distillery has an emphasis on hiring talented people, who aren't afraid to suggest things that push back against the client's wishes. Many of these turned out to be much wiser decisions, mainly because, as a client, I lacked industry insight. I was often pleasantly surprised by the deliverables.

How did Distillery perform from a project management standpoint?

There was a bit of a communication issue with our first project manager. Distillery nipped this in the bud, terminating that person. He was probably a recent hire being tested out, and Distillery let him go when it was discovered that he wasn't communicating properly. From there, everything was smooth.

Distillery isn't the right firm for people with a tendency to micromanage. Other shops encourage active daily client involvement for every step of the process. In the case of Distillery, I trusted that they have talented people, and only gave broad strokes, empowering them to fill in the rest. Critique can be done afterward, changing things in the next sprint, but the overall experience isn't as hands-on as some clients would want.

What did you find most impressive about Distillery?

I can't think of anything in particular for Distillery. Many shops have gimmicky marketing products, but it all comes down to how talented their people are.

Are there any areas Distillery could improve?

In terms of communication, there could be more expedient processes than email. Distillery could use Slack or something else which could prompt immediate responses. It's understandable wanting to favor using email, given that there will always be times when they won't want to get back to the client right away.

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
    Much of this stems from the top-down approach that Distillery's owner has. He's an honorable businessman and his management style is seen at every level, applying to the entire development process. I would highly recommend Distillery.

Long-term Resource Arrangement for Computer Software Company

"They offer uniform quality across the board."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Jan. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Distillery was first hired to supply ad hoc dev resources and their superior performance led to ongoing project involvement. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Los Angeles, California
Phil Ressler
Founder & CEO, Sixgill
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Pros include access to a wide range of creative, strategic, and technical resources, with no adverse effect on deliverable quality or project completion.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Sixgill provides proximity data services to enterprises operating mobile applications on their employees' phones and other devices. We also allow clients to track assets in their IoT [Internet of Things] infrastructures, detecting when proximity conditions exist and triggering a response. We're based in Santa Monica, California. I am the chief executive officer of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Distillery?

After acquiring the company and rebranding it, I came to act as the founder of the business that exists today. We were getting started on a redirection of our business from consumer end-play to enterprise B2B [business-to-business] and had to create all-new digital assets. I needed an app-building partner to provide initial and ongoing code development for our website, given that we only have back-end expertise. Out of all companies within our time zone, Distillery had the best combination of software development, data science, design, and product management skills.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We've used Distillery on multiple projects, and have had 4–6 open ones at any given time. Our open-ended projects have been the most challenging, given that we never know when they're done.

Distillery provided crash development for a website with a mixed codebase, migrating the old version to WordPress, optimizing its SEO [search engine optimization], and performing graphic design. We continue with monthly evolution projects for it on an open-ended basis.

We had a large repository of migration data collected from 4 million people during the course of 5 months. From a software standpoint, we have a process-oriented and transactional approach. In the long run, the work will have strong analytical implications, and provide a revenue opportunity in this sense. To get started on understanding on what we could offer analytically, I needed to have a data science view of the information that we collect. Distillery has a highly qualified and affordable data science team that has provided the analytic possibilities for the data that we've collected on the migratory patterns of a population as well as their proximity instances.

Our data science project involves 5 people at any given time. The ongoing development project has had a fluctuating team of graphics, UX [user experience] and UI [user interface] designers, coders, a project manager, and a product manager from Distillery. It ranged from 3 to 10 people. We use the project manager on our side to interact with the one from Distillery. Most firms like theirs don't have product managers, but Distillery has a primary software vendor-grade resource onboard.

How did you come to work with Distillery?

I met one of the senior staff members at a networking dinner in Los Angeles three years ago.

How much have you invested with Distillery?

The total cost of Distillery's services has been more than $200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

I began referring people to Distillery 2 years ago [2014], but our own engagement with them only started in January 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our involvement with Distillery is somewhat different than their projects with more traditional customers. There is no measure of whether or not our website is successful because we're still a startup. Distillery did a great job of packaging our use cases, brand marketing, and product marketing, giving us a coherent design language, packaging our offering in a website that showcases our digital assets to potential customers.

On the data science aspect, Distillery was tasked with telling me what I didn't already know. I can't say what that entails, prior to receiving Distillery's reports.

One of the business offerings from Distillery is a rent-a-developer service with a staff of engineers in the United States and Russia, available to companies on a monthly basis. They're high-quality coders that are affordable and readily available. They can be secured for either long- or short-term engagements for companies having trouble finding or can't afford local talent. Distillery's other offering is referred to as app-enabled business services. A founder can have an idea for a mobile or web app-based business, but they don't have the engineering team to build it. Distillery can take that person's idea and work with them in order to develop a product spec, engineering schedule, and full agile development sequencing. They manage those and go from an idea to a post-beta deployed product, typically in around 13 weeks, unless the project is larger, and needs more development cycles. Distillery offers full product-managed projects, with the same engineering resources and project management available from a primary software vendor, at a price that someone with seed funding can afford.

I haven't used Distillery for this, but I've seen the results that it can bring, and they are outstanding. We partner with clients who don't have the means to build a solution themselves. We supervise the process and use Distillery as a development partner. I've seen the quality of work that Distillery can give to people I've referred to them, and this tells me that I can use them for Fortune 10 companies that need an application for connecting to our proximity services back-end. This work will be fully credible and accepted.

How did Distillery perform from a project management standpoint?

I am a bit removed from the project management process, but I know that Distillery uses JIRA and GitHub. They also use Flowdock for light project communication.

What did you find most impressive about Distillery?

I appreciate the scope and combination of services provided by Distillery. They offer uniform quality across the board. Vendors like Distillery will usually be mediocre in terms of coding if they're great at design, and vice versa. The project management may also be a little loose. Most agency businesses like Distillery also don't have the same level of quality and conduct management. Distillery's work is not sharply differentiated with respect to individual components, but the combination that they offer, with a uniform quality level and accountability, makes them especially recommended.

Are there any areas Distillery could improve?

From what I know about Distillery's business and market, I would say that they could make further progress on recruiting a broader scope of engineering skills. If someone wanted to develop a project using the Go technology, Distillery would need to find those developers before taking the job. It can be done, but it takes a bit of time. For what Distillery's business is, and how they define it, the opportunity for growth would come from expanding the capacity for the same work and keeping the quality level at the same degree. Small companies can offer a uniform level of quality but, as they get bigger and need to expand the talent pool, the quality of individuals available starts to decline. Distillery has to demonstrate that they can navigate that challenge.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Distillery?

Nothing comes to mind, but Distillery has the ability to make these recommendations through their sales pipeline.

5.0
Overall Score Distillery is very responsive.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Distillery has occasionally missed deadlines, but it was almost always for quality reasons, wanting more time to deliver something correctly. This is fine with me.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I have no issue whatsoever with the value for money. Distillery is more expensive than other companies, but I am interested in the value of the result and can pay more for better.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I haven't seen any practical deficiencies relative to what Distillery promised.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have no reservations about recommending Distillery.