Startup development and custom web/mobile apps

Custom software for startups and big thinkers from all corners of commerce. We specialize in Lean Startup development, Ruby on Rails, product customization systems, back-end e-commerce systems and custom business apps.

Dolphin Micro’s custom technology solutions help you work smarter, not harder. Our clients count on us for scalable, seamlessly integrated business systems that reduce overhead and maximize profits through workflow automation, streamlined order management and real-time analytics.

 
Undisclosed
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2008
Show all +
Louisville, CO
headquarters
  • 357 S McCaslin Blvd, Suite 200
    Louisville, CO 80027
    United States

Reviews

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Web Development For May Designs

"[T]hey let me dream and explored ways to make those dreams come true."

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

Dolphin Micro rebuilt an e-commerce site for a small design firm. A majority of the project included front-end design, back-end system development, and bug fixes. 

The Reviewer
 
1-11 Employees
 
Dallas, Texas
Mica May
Founder & CEO, May Designs
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Users have responded positively to the website. Throughout the project, Dolphin Micro continually researched solutions and implemented complex ideas. The team was invested in understanding the brand's strategy and frequently adjusted the timetable to meet short deadlines.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

My company is called May Designs. We are an e-commerce stationery company. We offer personalized notebooks, stationery, greeting cards, photo books, invitations, and announcements online.

What is your role and responsibilities?

I am the CEO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with Dolphin Micro?

I needed a ton of web development work. I had gone through different stages, and I needed a much more robust system.

Please describe the scope of their work.

They acted as our entire Web development team. I didn't have anyone on staff that was doing that. I worked with their account rep, and they did anything from front-end stuff to cleaning up the back-end. They overhauled all of our discount systems, and they were fixing bugs, handling new product development. They also built the back-end for all the software that would allow us to connect to Instagram and upload images.

SOLUTION

What was your process for selecting Dolphin Micro?

I was referred to them by my previous Web developer because they had the team and the know-how to do all the things I needed to do. Instead of hiring internally, I wanted to outsource. They had the ability to ramp up lots of different team members through launching new products, which saved me from having to hire a full-time employee.

When was the work completed?

We started working with them in May 2012. We've been phasing them out as we have brought on a CTO and front-end developer here. We recently hired a back-end developer. We've been slowly taking it over.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Do you have any statistics or metrics on the project?

Our customers are happy. They did what we wanted them to do.

Are you satisfied with their performance?

Yes, I am very satisfied.

Is there anything unique or special about Dolphin Micro that really makes them stand out?

The caliber of people they had was fantastic. They were "yes" people. Instead of saying no to some of my outlandish ideas, they let me dream and explored ways to make those dreams come true. Cooper [McGoodwin, project manager at Dolphin Micro] was amazing. I only dealt with him. I don't like middlemen. I like to talk to the developer. Cooper had enough knowledge about our business that it felt like he was on staff here. I felt like he was thinking about us. It felt like they were endeared to the brand and the direction we were going. We've been on national shows and there were a lot of things that needed to happen around those times to get new products or a feature debugged. They would shift more development hours to us on a short notice. 

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or that you might do differently?

From the service perspective, Dolphin Micro did great. From a development and code perspective I think some of their code was not commented as well as it could have been. Now that I've brought everything in house, we've seen significant challenges trying to go back and figure out what they did. There's a lot of clean up that needs to be done to overhaul and set it up to move forward. I didn't realize this until we brought everything in house.

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

Custom RAILS Development For Private University

"They're always on time, they got back to us immediately, and they are very flexible."

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

Dolphin Micro built a custom educational application on the RAILS platform. The team managed integration with the existing portal, server acquisition, and back-end functionality. 

The Reviewer
 
1001-10,000 Employees
 
New York City Metro Area
Director of Information Technology & Resources, Private University
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The application is robust and successful among users. At the project's outset, Dolphin Micro provided accurate timelines and budget estimates. The team communicated about expectations and adapted to suit the project. They meticulously planned each stage, delivering milestones on schedule.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are a private university with roughly 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

What is your position?

I'm the director of the IT [information technology] department. I'm responsible for all technology-related solutions on campus.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenge that you were trying to address with Dolphin Micro?

We wanted a website that was specific to a humanities project that was thought of by one of our professors. Dolphin Micro was able to provide a solution that could be further developed in time. It originally started as a simple system, and then within a very short period of time, they were able to add a couple of modules that made the overall website very intriguing and much more complex.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

It's more than a website. It's really an excellent application. Dolphin Micro built the system using the Ruby on RAILS framework. We didn't have that skill set here, so our prevailing concern was to ensure that the system would be something we could maintain down the road. We wanted to ensure it was backed up and it was available, and we gave the full design responsibility to the faculty member who came up with the idea.

In this case, nothing needed to be customized to interface with our main institutional system. We worked something out with Dolphin Micro so students can log into the site using our standard portal, but other than that there was no custom functionality. They provided the back-end services in terms of working with Amazon and getting us the server we needed for this application. Even the transfer of ownership was done very well, right down to the registration of the name. It was really easy working with them because they really knew what they were doing. Obviously, they've done this before, and we could see that they were comfortable with the services they provide and the arena they work in.

How did you come to choose Dolphin Micro as your partner?

The faculty member who brought this to our attention decided to look at a number of vendors, one of them being Dolphin Micro. I called a couple of their references prior to us moving ahead with them. The references I spoke with all conveyed positive experiences. The people I talked to said that Dolphin Micro's responsiveness was outstanding and that they were a very capable bunch.

Do you maintain an ongoing relationship for maintenance and support, or have you taken that over in-house?

At this point, we left it in the hands of the faculty member who initiated the project. If he decides he wants to make any changes, we have a master agreement with Dolphin Micro that allows him to do that. Other than that, we didn't want to manage the system. We're very comfortable with the work Dolphin Micro did, so there's really no need to manage the site in-house.

When was the project concluded?

We finished the project over a year ago, probably in the late summer [of 2013].

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance or the success of the engagement?

I don't have any quantitative data at this point. Dolphin Micro was very responsive, though. They were on the ball throughout the whole process, both planning and building. From an administrative point of view, both the contracting and the billing process were spot on. They're always on time, they got back to us immediately, and they are very flexible. They were very responsive to any changes we needed to make on the contract, and that flexibility shows a lot about a company.

All critical milestones were always pointed out. They were on time in every respect. I was dealing directly with the billing, and the areas they had said they were going to target and complete, they did. In terms of being on time and on budget, they were right on. Only one or two modifications needed to be made that changed the budget, but those were agreed upon together. The commissioning faculty member has been very pleased with the site built and end-users don't seem to have any issues using it.

When working with Dolphin Micro, is there anything that you would consider unique about their practice that distinguishes them from other vendors?

They did not underestimate the work needed. They knew exactly how much time it would take to get the job done. I've worked with other vendors who have underestimated a project, and they usually go over in terms of the amount of hours of programming required to finish. Here, they didn't over or underestimate, they were pretty much spot on. That's a very rare occurrence as far as I'm concerned.

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

Custom RAILS Development For Golf Pipeline

"They're probably one of the most reliable and versatile technology companies out there."

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

Using RAILS and MySQL, Dolphin Micro built a scalable and transactional website. The team provided a range of services, from business strategy to database development and back-end API work.

The Reviewer
 
1-11 Employees
 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Brian Wroblewski
Founder & CEO, Golf Pipeline
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Dolphin Micro delivered a reliable, high-quality website despite an inflexible budget. The team developed a robust strategy from the project outset, yet adjusted the approach to address any concerns. This project later led to a long-term support relationship.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

My company is Golf Pipeline and, essentially, we do for the golf industry what OpenTable does for the restaurant industry. But, it's about more than tee times. We allow golfers to build their group by inviting specific golfers to join them, which makes it easier to get a full group out to the course. They can also manage their USGA [United States Golf Association] handicap through the application.

What is your position?

I'm the founder and chief executive officer. We're a startup so we do a lot of different things, but I'm the one who created the idea.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges that you were trying to address with Dolphin Micro?

We faced a number of challenges, but the first challenge was that we needed somebody that could build a scalable, transactional website. We needed to reach not only the individual golfer, but also software providers inside the golfing industry and social and membership-based sites.

We also needed to find somebody who could work with us on our own terms, which meant if we were ready to grow, they could grow with us, and if we needed to cut back, they could cut back as well. So, those were the two big challenges we were looking to solve. We basically needed a partner that had the low-level technical skills to actually build the functional parts, but also had the high-level, business sense that would allow them to think about the bigger picture when we were in the build phase.

SOLUTION

Could you describe the scope of their involvement in detail?

We have an interesting and solid relationship with Dolphin Micro. Within Golf Pipeline, we generate all the ideas and actually take a first pass at the graphical elements. Then, we hand all that over to Dolphin, and they take it from there. They'll spin up the servers for us, take care of all of the database development and configuration, take care of putting the wireframes into actual file sheets, and go ahead and code all of the back-end API [application programming interface] connections. They'll really create everything that goes into the actual system. We come up with the business logic and what the site should look like, and then turn it over to them. This arrangement has worked great for us since we started working with them back in late 2011.

The technology has been primarily Ruby on RAILS and MySQL. Beyond that, there's certainly been some scripting necessary to pull things together. So, it's really been a Ruby on RAILS project with some additional pieces that were hand coded in the process. 

How did you come to select Dolphin Micro?

It was a referral, which we were lucky to get. It turns out that a gentleman in our personal network is related to one of the founders of Dolphin. Now, I'm usually apprehensive with this kind of referral because only rarely do they lead to good things. But, in this particular case, even though we launched a RFP [request for proposal], we ultimately went with Dolphin Micro. They did a great job with that RFP and have been working well for us ever since.

Could you provide a general cost estimate for the amount you've invested in their services?

We came to them with a specific project and a specific budget and they nailed it – on time and under budget. The initial scope of work cost about $50,000. Since then, we've probably spent a total of $200,000 to $250,000 working with Dolphin Micro. It's only because they did so well on the first phase that we kept going back to them for additional support.

Is the relationship with them ongoing?

Absolutely. We're very happy with Dolphin Micro.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance or the success of the engagements?

That's difficult to answer. The industry we're in doesn't really have existing statistics and benchmarks. As I said, the first phase cost roughly $50,000, but we had estimates from other companies for that exact same phase that ranged anywhere from $75,000 to $350,000. Dolphin Micro came in and did high-quality work for far less than the others would have, which is a real testament to their value proposition.

It's tough to give a figure because I don't know what we would have done had we not gone with Dolphin. We knew what other options were out there, but they weren't very good options for us, given what we knew about the people we were dealing with. Even in 2011, there were two golf companies that spent upward of $100 million trying to accomplish what we've done on a shoestring budget, which is a testament to Dolphin's capabilities.

When working with Dolphin Micro, is there anything that you would consider unique about their practice that distinguishes them from other vendors?

Expectations change in time. When you see something come in under budget and ahead of schedule, you tend to assume that is the norm. So, you almost fail to give them enough credit. But, when that happens again and again, it is obvious you are working with an outstanding company. They're probably one of the most reliable and versatile technology companies out there.

In retrospect, are there areas in which you think they could improve as a service provider?

I think if there were any changes needed, we would have already made them. Maybe the one thing I'd say is that if Dolphin Micro had asked more questions up front on a couple things, maybe we would have gotten it right the first time instead of needing to go back and rework it. However, in all honesty, you can spend so much time up front, that you actually waste time in the process. So, I don't know if I actually would have preferred that up-front investment. I really think I'd rather have it just get built, and then fix what's not working. We'll test it, and we'll figure it out, rather than sitting there with paralysis by analysis, trying to figure out how to make everything perfect from the beginning. So, for me, that's always a tradeoff. But, I like how everything ended up, and I wouldn't change anything about our working relationship. 

What advice, if any, would you give a future client of theirs?

Go into the project with very specific goals and objectives of what you want out of each phase. Don't just say that you want to build a new website. Narrow it down as much as you can at the very beginning. Identify your pain points, the problem you are trying to solve and what the end goals are.

I guess my recommendation is to do what we did and have a clear idea of what you want, even down to what the screen might look like. If you don't have a graphic artist on your team, hire one or find somebody that can do that, just so you can go to Dolphin Micro and say, "Here's what we want."

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

Custom RAILS Development For Education Startup

"They would spring into action at three in the morning on a Saturday when necessary."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
2011 - 2015
Project summary: 

Dolphin Micro developed an adaptive, scalable application for a mobile education platform. The work mainly focused on functional development, custom coding, and information architecture. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
New York City Metro Area
Founder & CEO at E-Learning Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Feedback to the application has been positive. The stability provided by Dolphin Micro's architecture helped the application grow beyond one million users. The team was both responsive and dynamic, responding immediately to issues with the platform and offering suggestions about user experience.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

We have a Web and mobile education platform that helps students study more efficiently, using what we like to call "flashcards on steroids."

What is your position?

I'm the founder and chief executive officer.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges that you were trying to address when you first approached Dolphin Micro?

At first, we didn't have very strong technical leadership or capacity, so we needed help until we were able to staff up internally. Dolphin Micro was very patient with us and provided the right combination of being both proactive and cooperative. They would push back on things that I would suggest that were maybe not always the best ideas. They were good sports and took leadership to own certain things when necessary. They were really an excellent fit for us. 

SOLUTION

Could you describe in detail the actual scope of work delegated to them?

Dolphin Micro did all the back-end functional development. They suggested a couple of design ideas, but I would call them much stronger developers than designers. All of their work was custom coding and testing. We provided the strategic guidance throughout the planning and development phase. 

How did you come to choose Dolphin Micro as your partner?

I found them through Craigslist.

Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they've done for you?

We've spent around $300,000 working with Dolphin Micro.

Is the relationship ongoing?

We've been working with them for about four years. We've scaled back our work with them as we now have a strong internal tech team. Dolphin Micro is now in more of a support and advisory role.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance and/or the overall success of your engagement with them?

We've grown to more than a million users. Dolphin Micro helped create the architecture necessary to support the performance, scalability, and maintainability of such a large codebase used by so many people. They would spring into action at three in the morning on a Saturday when necessary, and they were able to deal with emergencies quickly. They have a keen sense of what users are experiencing, and they suggest ways to communicate with our users effectively and to manage any upcoming outages when we're doing maintenance. They have a lot of respect for the user.

When working with Dolphin Micro, is there anything that you would consider unique about their practice that distinguishes them from other vendors?

The fact that they're all together here in Denver is great, rather than being distributed everywhere and working remotely. They have a connection to middle America as well as to the tech world. They're very business-focused and client-oriented. They always try to remind the clients of ways that the technology can help them be a more successful business and focus on revenue generating opportunities.

In retrospect, are there areas in which you think they could improve as a service provider?

If anything, it would be in the area of design, although they have improved a lot in that area since I've known them. Other than that, I can't really think of anything specific.

What advice, if any, would you give a future client of theirs?

Have your own tech leadership in-house, if you can. If you don't have that, learn how to be a good software project manager, learn about technology, and how to work with engineers before you jump in. Be a good manager, and know how to set realistic expectations. You can't expect everything from them, so you need to come to the table prepared.

4.0
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