Software design and development for web and mobile

Kohactive is a software design and development consultancy that builds web and mobile products for our clients. We work with startups, innovative brands, and enterprises to build custom products. We've been working with clients of all sizes for almost a decade.

We're passionate designers, developers, and strategists with an insatiable thirst for building amazing products. We work with clients to develop new products, rebuild older applications, and create MVPs and prototypes. Our primary proficiencies are in Ruby on Rails, Node.js, Ember.js, user experience design and mobile development.

 
$25,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2008
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 800 W. Huron St., Suite 3E
    Chicago, IL 60642
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Northwestern University, Raise, Groupon, Edwards Lifesciences, Brunswick, Unyson, Vitality Group, Winix, Outcome Health, CBIZ

Slurv Sports Messaging Platform

Slurv is a messaging app for the fantasy sports industry. With Slurv, online communities can easily add real-time messaging features. Users can interact in public threads or privately in private threads or direct messages. Share gifs, videos, and links through rich-media attachments.

Tiny House Listings Real Estate Platform

Client

Tiny House Listings is a popular listing site for discovering tiny homes. They approached kohactive to completely rebuild their platform.

Our Solution

We rebuilt the entire platform using modern technologies. To handle the large volume of traffic, we used advanced caching, auto-scaling infrastructure, and performance improvements. The search is robust and quickly returns matching homes. Listers and buyers can communicate via in-app messaging and we capture and bill listers for the leads generated through our pay-per-lead system.

Deliverables

Product Design Workshop, User Research & Interviews, Wireframes, Usability Testing, UI Design, Responsive Design, Ruby on Rails API, Ember.js front-end, Analytics Microservice, Elasticsearch.

NextLot Auction Platform

Client

NextLot offers a robust auction software for auctioneers, organizations, and nonprofits. They have thousands of customers across the world.

Our Solution

We performed a rescue mission and took over this project from an offshore company. Over the course of 5 years, we redesign the bidding interface, rebuilt core functionality, and began a rebuild of the backend admistrative dashboard. We performed a complete rebuild of the real-time auction software that powers live auctions.

Deliverables

Product Design Workshop, User Research & Interviews, Wireframes, Usability Testing, UI Design, Responsive Design, Ruby on Rails API, Ember.js, Amazon Web Services and more.

Candoo

Candoo is an app that enables college students to help each other. If you need a tutor or help moving or technical help, you can find a Candooer that can provide the support you need. 

Props in a Box

Samantha Martin and her team created a physical product called Props in a Box, which is designed for families to create stories through their whimsical props, costumes, and backdrops. They approached us to build a custom mobile application that would allow families to record, edit and publish their movies.

Reviews

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CRM Dev for Home Warranty Company

“All the projects they have done for us have been a success.”

 

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

kohactive revamped a platform’s custom CRM by implementing automation and modifications. They updated user permissions, redesigned the billing and dispatch portals, and integrated a Redash reporting tool.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York, New York
Joseph Shrem
Owner, Select Home Warranty
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

kohactive enhanced the CRM’s security, made the platform mobile responsive and more user-friendly, and revamped several landing pages. The redesign they completed increased sales and revenue. Responsive and communicative, they react quickly to resolve critical issues and maintain a smooth dynamic.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the owner of Select Home Warranty.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with kohactive?

kohactive has done many projects for us over the last few years. They took over as our developers to revamp a poorly built custom CRM that had been previously developed and got it under control. Our goals for the engagement were to update our CRM and add more automation to the system. They've made a lot of updates to expand it.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

kohactive has provided everything from web design, development, and minor updates to our system to support significant projects. Recently, they integrated our system with Velocify, which is a lead distribution system. The team redid the dispatch portal in our system we use to dispatch technicians and revamped the billing portal that bills customers and charges for recurring billing. They helped us integrate a Redash reporting tool that reports metrics from the database. 

Throughout our engagement, they've completed many small updates and changes to the fields and automation. They recreated our permissions system based on which users should have access to different areas. They've also helped us significantly with our program to manage our affiliates. 

What is the team composition? 

kohactive assigned us a project manager and two developers. John (Founder and Managing Director, kohactive) also worked on our project. 

How did you come to work with kohactive?

We posted online that we were looking for a development company and Kohactive responded. After speaking to a few different companies, they sounded the most trustworthy and reliable. Based on our initial few conversations, we felt comfortable giving them a try with a few small projects. It worked out well. 

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent over $100,000 on kohactive’s services. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working together for probably three years now. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

kohactive’s services have had a positive impact on our business. All the projects they have done for us have been a success. They've made the CRM more secure and helped us in emergency situations when things have gone wrong.

Improving our mobile site’s responsivity markedly improved our sales. Beforehand, our site hadn't been very mobile friendly. The team helped redesign a few landing pages, which also notably increased sales. Updating permissions and the CRM has made our website much more secure. 

How did kohactive perform from a project management standpoint?

The workflow between our teams was very effective. Our communication is great. kohactive uses a system called Trello for major projects. They respond quickly to any urgent issues we experience. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

kohactive is very easy to work with. John (Founder and Managing Director, kohactive) is a great person, and we trust his team.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They could estimate the price of our projects more accurately.

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

Dev for E-Learning Platform

"Kohactive has become an invaluable arm of our company and had a very positive impact thus far."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Nov. 2017 - Mar. 2018
Project summary: 

Kohactive is developing an e-learning web-based platform on Microsoft Azure, using JavaScript and Ruby on Rails.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, IL
Kevin Jones
Co-Founder, Jones Software Corp
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Kohactive built a high-quality platform that's helped significantly improve the company's IBIDA and ability to meet client needs. In addition to their organized, transparent, and proactive approach to client management, their team also genuinely cares about project success and viability.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the co-founder of Jones Software Corp, a company that provides an intervention math software tool for grades K–12th.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with kohactive?

We engaged kohactive to help us develop our e-learning web-based platform.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Kohactive built our e-learning math platform on Microsoft Azure, using JavaScript and Ruby on Rails to create the cloud-based web application. They collaborated with our team on the overall design and incorporated Google APIs that allow us to bring other schools onto the platform.

What is the team composition?

We work with a project manager and about five developers.

How did you come to work with kohactive?

We came across kohactive through a co-working space we're both apart of in Chicago. We interviewed a handful of developers, but kohactive stood out for their ability to understand our project and vision. They also helped us understand various elements of the process we were previously unfamiliar with, which we found extremely helpful.

How much have you invested with them?

We've invested a little under $80,000 thus far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in November 2017 and had a prototype ready by around April 2018, but the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Kohactive has become an invaluable arm of our company and had a very positive impact thus far. We're very happy with the quality of the platform they've built and their efforts have helped significantly boost our IBIDA, which we anticipate to continue growing. They've taken the time to understand our client needs and are quick to support us through any bug fixes or issues that come up.

How did kohactive perform from a project management standpoint?

They're great at managing projects overall and maintaining an open line of communication at all times.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Kohactive was one of the few firms willing to work with our unique business plan. Compared to others, we got the sense that they actually cared about building a platform with a high chance of success, so their input has been invaluable throughout the engagement. They'll be honest if they see something isn't going to work, which ends up saving a lot of capital, resources, time, and money in the long run.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No.

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

Website Redesign for Real Estate Platform

“We felt very comfortable with them.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Aug. 2017 - Mar. 2018
Project summary: 

Using Ruby on Rails, kohactive developed a new website from scratch for buying and selling tiny homes. They established a messaging system and a pay per lead system. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
North Carolina
CEO, Real Estate E-Commerce
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

kohactive’s work resulted in a massive increase in users on the site. The new system enables better communication with users and improved analytics. The team excels in understanding the work and executing it quickly. They deliver clear and frequent communications.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of a global marketplace for buying and selling of tiny houses, which are homes that are 500 square feet or smaller.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with kohactive?

The website was antiquated and on a limited platform. It ran on WordPress. It was time to take things to the next level. I also wanted to establish a pay per lead system so each time a new lead is generated on the site, we would be compensated for it.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We had quite a few things we wanted to change. Communication with our users wasn’t centralized before but was email based. We wanted to bring that all in-house so we could have more analytics. We developed an internal messaging system through the site where all the messages that are exchanged daily were done internally, in-house, and kept on Amazon Web Services. They integrated a messaging tool called Intercom into the site.

They produced everything from scratch. Our website platform runs on Ruby on Rails. They provided several mock-ups and wireframes. We picked one and kept making iterations until everyone was happy with it. They also established the pay per lead system.

What is the team composition?

At any given time, we had 4–6 designers, one project manager, and the owner/creative director.

How did you come to work with kohactive?

We found them through Glassdoor.com. We did a lot of research and interviewed about 10 companies. kohactive didn’t have the best price, but they had the best communication. We were impressed with their interpretation of our vision and the timeline. We felt very comfortable with them.

How much have you invested with them?

It cost close to $200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from August 2017–March 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The number of users we have coming to the site has increased exponentially. Now that we have so many more users, we can communicate with them via Intercom on the site. There’s much clearer communication with our users and much better analytics to determine how we can better serve them.

How did kohactive perform from a project management standpoint?

We used the agile approach and we used InVision. They’re very good communicators whether it be through Trello or Slack. On any given day, we did daily stand-ups. We had very clear communication daily, multiple times per day.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The owner is willing to get involved in the process. He has the ability to delegate to the team. The team has the ability to understand what needs to be done and they do it quickly.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Before the project starts, schedule an appointment with some of the people that you’re working with to familiarize yourself with how agile will work on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. You’ll then have a better understanding of how to communicate to them within that framework. Also, have a clear understanding of how things will work post-launch.

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

Wordpress Redesign for Wealth Management Firm

"They’re great to work with in general, very helpful, and just a really good team."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Aug. 2016 - Nov. 2016
Project summary: 

Kohactive redesigned a website to match a modernized brand identity. During a three-month period, they provided two options for creative, unique WordPress sites.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
New York City Metro Area
Marketing and Investor Relations Associate, Wealth Management Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Kohactive delivered a successful platform and remain engaged as necessary. When the first design wasn’t ideal, the team gamely produced a better, more accurate version. They were helpful and responsive, and they took responsibility for staying on time and on budget.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work for a private equity firm focused on investing in middle-market companies. I am an associate in the marketing an investor relations role. I am in charge our engagement with our investors. We raise outside capital and then invest it in public pension funds, private wealth managers, and things like that. We invest, on behalf of them, into relatively large, private companies to help improve them operationally, and then ideally sell it at a profit, then return the capital back to the investors.

I engage with investors on a pretty regular basis. I’m in charge of giving them the information they need on the portfolio companies and giving them updates periodically. We wanted the information we gave our investors to match how we showed ourselves externally, so we decided to update our website. That’s how that digital marketing aspect came in.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Kohactive?

We’re a middle-market firm focused on investing in sustainability and wellness companies. We hadn’t updated our website in at least 10 years, and it really needed a facelift and an update to coincide with our brand, how we wanted to be perceived in the world, and who we thought we were. We wanted to give it a fresher look to match how we perceived ourselves and how we wanted others to perceive us as well.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They just did the website redesign, and they did a really great job. We were very happy with how it worked with them. They were very engaged, very responsive to our emails. They came up with a lot of really creative ideas and really listened to what we were getting at. When things didn’t go how we envisioned the first time, they took a second crack at it. They were really great in that regard. It’s an information site built on WordPress.

How did you come to work with Kohactive?

I talked to a few different website developers. We decided to go with Kohactive for a number of reasons. A co-worker at the firm has a friend who had previously worked with Kohactive and highly recommended them. They were reasonably priced compared to their competitors. Looking at their work, they were doing exactly what we wanted for our own website.

How much have you invested with Kohactive?

I don’t know off the top of my head.

What is the status of this engagement?

We had a pretty short, three-month timeline from start to finish. We launched it in October or November of 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I am definitely satisfied with their performance. They’re still very helpful when something isn’t working right or we have questions. They’re very responsive to our emails. I think it was a very successful project. They’re great to work with in general, very helpful, and just a really good team.

We have annual meetings when all the investors come, and we present to them about annual updates on our portfolio companies. We launched prior to our annual meeting, and we got a lot of positive feedback from our investors. We’re not a consumer-oriented company, so we don’t expect a lot of traffic to our site outside of potential investors or portfolio companies that might be interested in partnering with us. So, we have a limited number of people who look at our website. The website has been operating smoothly since the launch.

How did Kohactive perform from a project management standpoint?

They were very responsive, and they made sure we stayed on task and on budget, which was very important to us.

What did you find most impressive about Kohactive?

I think they’re very creative. They sat down with us and listened to how we viewed ourselves, in order to put a pen to paper and put it on a screen. I think that was very helpful. They put together something I don’t think I could have done myself in terms of vision. I think they were really great in that regard.

Are there any areas Kohactive could improve?

No. I think they were really great.

Do you have any advice or suggestions to help other clients be successful when they work with Kohactive?

It’s important to have a clear and concise vision of what you’d like to see on your website and how you view yourself, then communicating that to them very clearly. This will help to avoid confusion and assist them in taking a great first crack at it. In our case, they did a really great job, but if you’re not clear and communicative, there could be issues.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I think we were originally planning on launching a little earlier. There were a number of vacations through the summer, including mine, and we could have been a little better about that.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were really great in that regard.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They had great quality.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would definitely recommend them.

MVP Website Launch for Sports Fantasy Startup

"They responded to emails quickly and did everything they could to make me happy."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Sept. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Kohactive created a fantasy sports website from scratch, developing and expanding the design of the MVP to attract an initial audience base. They now manage updates and feature additions. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Founder, Fantasy Sports Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Since launching several weeks ago, the platform has successfully supported testing with 50–60 users. Kohactive’s strong coding skills and cost-effective price point allowed the site to meet all original requirements and accommodate an evolving product vision.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

FanMatchup.com is a startup gaming site that combines daily fantasy sports with confidence pool rules. I have arranged it like DraftKings and FanDuel where users can create contests, and the site makes money by taking a percentage of the entry fees. That's the long-term goal. Right now, I'm doing free contests to try to increase interest.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Kohactive?

I'm trying to break into the industry. I have an original intellectual property concept that I designed over the last few years. I chose Kohactive to build the site. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

I spent a lot of time putting the design together in Photoshop and other programs. Kohactive took my design and built it exactly the way I wanted. They're always adding and changing things. They had to create a home landing page. Kohactive used Ruby on Rails and Ember to build the app and deployed it on Heroku. We do Facebook and Twitter, but they're not really doing much of the marketing.

They built the platform for football. After football season ended, we wanted to continue, so they added baseball. Right now, we're doing baseball contests, but the main goal is having the site primed for football season this upcoming year. In the daily fantasy sports world, football is the dominant participation. Eventually, I would like to do football, baseball, hockey, basketball, and golf, but getting the stats for all of those is pricey, and I really want to have clients first.

How did you come to work with Kohactive?

I interviewed a number of companies when we were deciding how to build the site. Kohactive came up through my searches for firms in Chicago. I met with 5 or 6 people in the area, and they seemed to be the most reasonable. Other companies said they couldn't take on a project like this, and 2 others asked for higher prices. Kohactive had a whole startup section targeted at building a minimal viable product (MVP) within my price range.

How much have you invested with Kohactive?

The original MVP was $30,000. Since then, we've added close to $6,000–$10,000, so I could be at $40,000 pretty soon.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started the work in last September. It took few months to get everything running the way I wanted. The site is currently live. I post new contests every day to get people interested. It really is going to be an evolving process. Right now, the startup is just me. Hopefully, Kohactive will maintain responsibility for changing and adding to the existing site until I can hire a CTO or bring in some coders.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The website looks the way I wanted it to look, and it's working the way I wanted it to work. Kohactive did a great job with the coding. Their MVP met my goals and can accommodate add-ons. I want to add 5 new things to the site already, as well as continual adjustments.

We've been testing the site with about 50–60 people. During the last 4 weeks of football season, we had about 20 people enter. Since we went live 2 weeks ago, we're pushing it on Facebook and Twitter and trying to get more users. 

How did Kohactive perform from a project management standpoint?

They responded to emails quickly and did everything they could to make me happy.

What did you find most impressive about Kohactive?

Overall, I'm happy with Kohactive; they did what I needed. This was their first time doing a daily fantasy sports site, and they have been helpful when something needed to be changed.

Are there any areas Kohactive could improve?

A minor negative is their design abilities. if you want to build a totally original design or concept, more preparation really expedites the process. When Kohactive had to design something like my homepage, it took too many hours. Besides that, I think they're bright coders, and the owner, John, is receptive to ideas.

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

Try to be totally prepared with your design. The more prepared you are up front, the faster Kohactive can work. If you leave the design to them, the hours could add up.

5.0
Overall Score They've done everything. Although the homepage wasn’t exactly what I envisioned, it can be fixed, and it's going to be constantly changing anyway.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I think my site was more complicated than a lot of others. We thought the MVP would take 2 months, and it did go a little bit longer because of add-ons, but that’s to be expected. It wasn't a real downfall.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We came to an agreement for the MVP, and they got it working for that price. Kohactive never tried to squeeze more money out of me for add-ons, which I appreciated.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The quality of their work is exactly what I wanted.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would definitely recommend them for new websites.

Prototype Development for Social Startup

"kohactive hit the nail on the head with every task we gave them."

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

kohactive developed a social networking app prototype for college students to share services. The project was on the iOS platform and included limited creative design.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Co-founder, Social Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The prototype has gotten high satisfaction rates in testing. kohactive came up with solutions to various design challenges and demonstrated good project management. The team was communicative of their own accord, although there was sometimes a few days gap between project updates.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are called Can Do Inc. We have designed and created a mobile application that connects a college student with a problem to another student within the same campus who can solve that problem.

Whether they have broken their phone screen or need to put together some IKEA furniture, they can log on to the app, create a job and, from that, seek someone on the campus who is able to fix it. We receive a 15 percent commission from each job provider, after its completion. Transactions are done entirely through the app, and it is a free download.

What is your position?

I am the president, chief financial officer, and one of the founders of the company. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with kohactive?

We needed help in developing our application. 

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

They've facilitated the development of the app for iOS, working with our creative designer to implement a prototype. They've worked on the creative design of the app to a limited extent. We're also working with kohactive on website design for our company.

[Editor's Note: The project also involved UX/UI work and was completed using Ruby on Rails and Heroku.]

How did you come to work with kohactive?

We reached out to five different development companies in the city of Chicago. We met with each one, going through a discussion process around the application, seeing if they had any ideas for it and what their level of interest was.

After that, each company submitted a proposal. Our team assessed which of them had the best input as a whole, and kohactive were chosen as a result. We liked them and thought that they understood our idea. They were eager to work with us on the project. 

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

The total development cost so far has been between $50,000 and $200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Work on the application is almost finished. At this moment, we're in the middle of developing our website. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

They were helpful and accommodating with everything that we needed, and worked with us in coming up with solutions to initial design issues we had with the application.

We sent out 250 to 300 different renderings of our app to kids on college campuses as well as having an initial think tank about the idea itself. The satisfaction rate has been around 80 to 85 percent.

How did kohactive perform from a project management standpoint?

kohactive hit the nail on the head with every task we gave them, taking our initial renderings and functional specifications producing the final product we were looking for. They reached out to us, sending constant updates of different variations that they proposed.

What distinguishes kohactive from other providers?

They were very helpful and committed to each project. They never treated any task as if it was inferior to another. As a small startup company, we felt that kohactive, being a small company themselves, would be more inclined to understand our motivation. They understood that we function within a competitive market and have pushed us to the next level.

Is there anything kohactive could have improved or done differently?

At times, there was a bit of a lack in communication, from my standpoint. There could be periods of two days without talking, in the midst of the project. I would have preferred to stay ahead of these things. Otherwise, they were great.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were outstanding.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I was very pleased with their work and have recommended them to a couple of my colleagues.

Software Development for Intellectual Property Startup

"kohactive knows much more about the technology side and ensures that I achieve my outcome."

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

kohactive created an MVP for crowdsourcing intellectual property between various governmental agencies. The team used existing software and architecture to develop the backend and UI/UX. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Cofounder, Intellectual Property Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The MVP has won several awards at the national level and has been very successful in meeting targets. kohactive successfully turned a tedious aspect of research into a fun one. The team has good project management, regular communication, and allows access to the codebase upon request.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

My idea started a few years ago: collecting and crowdsourcing the content that is generated in federal labs around their intellectual property. I thought this information had tremendous commercial potential so I decided to start a business around the idea.

What is your position?

I am a cofounder with one other main person.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with kohactive?

We hired kohactive to build a platform for collecting and aggregating intellectual property, which we ultimately push out and move to the private market.

We wanted to make things more efficient and provide access. We do a lot of work with the Department of Defense and the Air Force. They are seen by their national and local communities as a kind of black box. As taxpayers, we spend billions of dollars in R&D [research and development]. There's been a lot of research that has been deployed to our military to serve war-fighting needs, but there's also a lot of economic value in those inventions. kohactive has helped us take that information, shed light on it, and use local incubators, accelerators, universities, serial entrepreneurs, and investors to add valuable knowledge to the markets where those inventions can be repurposed.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

I brought the architecture of the software to them. I had an idea of how I wanted it to operate, and they started building it in sprints, which we'd deploy to our customers and users. kohactive did some design work, and a lot of back-end work. It's a very complex piece of software with many user roles and permissions. We have many stakeholders in our user base that have different reasons for using it. They helped design the best UI [user interface] and UX [user experience] for our needs at the time.

They did some front-end design as we rolled it out to more users. It had to look a little bit friendlier than a minimum viable product. They didn't do any training for the software. I handled that myself.

[Editor's Note: The project also involved UX/UI work and was completed using Ruby on Rails, Anjular, and Heroku.]

How did you come to work with kohactive?

I had been working with a few freelance developers. They were terrible. I had project requirements that I delegated to a few people and, typically, things didn't work correctly, if at all. It wasn't up to my standard. I had one freelancer who was basically a fake. We kept spending money, and I never received updates. That was the last straw.

My business partner also suggested we should hire a development shop as this was going to be a bigger project than we'd thought. In March 2015, I started looking up web development firms on Google. I saw that kohactive had been rated best in the previous year. I spent a couple of hours on their site, looking through their testimonials and previous work. They worked with startups and built minimum viable products, which they actually called minimum lovable products. That term really stuck out. I would be having people using it, so it shouldn't look crude. I wanted it to be loved and to be able to log in and play with things.

I sent them a message on Sunday afternoon. I didn't expect to hear back, but I got a note that night, and we had a meeting the next morning.

I looked up John [Koht, principal and creative director of kohactive] online, and saw that he was a whiskey lover. I picked up a bottle of Chicago Whiskey, and brought it to the meeting, saying I was in desperate need of their help and wondering if they could work with me. We worked it out and signed a contract the next day.

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

To date, we've invested $70,000 to 80,000 into the project.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in April 2015. The work is ongoing. We have kohactive on a monthly retainer.

We have a minimum viable product and people are using it, but we've had a lot of notoriety within the federal lab system because of kohactive's fine work. We've won many awards for our platform on a national level and more people want it. kohactive continues to enhance the existing features, and also add new things.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

The Air Force Research Lab is our biggest client. They have an unusual legal structure for doing business. You have to go through the right channels to transact with the federal government. We work with many partnership intermediaries across the country. Last year, one of the labs that we were working with won a few awards for the process that we deployed with them. That was the basis for a lot of the software that we built.

This year, the executive director of the entire Air Force Research Lab [Doug Ebersole], who has around $8 billion to $9 billion for R&D available to him, has endorsed our platform and will be using it in 2016 across multiple labs. We're also getting a lot of traction with multiple Department of Defense labs for deploying it within the universities and the various communities with which they work.

This isn't the most glamorous field. We're inputting intellectual property and dissecting inventions, and doing this with Excel spreadsheets can be tedious. kohactive made that fun. I have a few administrators for the platform, who add inventions, labs, and edit features of those inventions. They love it. We're making something that was tedious before seem fun. The labs we work with didn't actually want to do any of this before.

How did kohactive perform from a project management standpoint?

We use Trello for project management. I have access to the codebase, too. I can change and edit things, so I manage the project with John and his team in parallel. That gives me a greater feeling of control. This is our software, we've invested much into it, so I don't want to hand it to someone and not get what I expect. I appreciate the processes and tools that they use, which allow me to achieve the outcomes that I want.

What distinguishes kohactive from other providers?

They spend much time with me and have the right tools and processes in place. I want things deployed very quickly, and there's a necessary process for each step. I talk to John on a weekly basis and meet him face to face. He gives me plenty of time for expressing my concerns, not about the team, but about what I'm trying to get done and making sure that I'm meeting objectives within my timeline and budget. His team has always been able to resolve this. Communication is always good.

I appreciate what John and his team do. This kind of business is very people focused and many engineers and developers tend to have their heads down and build things without trying to understand what you're trying to achieve. John has spent an extraordinary amount of time with me, making sure that they're building exactly what I need. He even challenges me.

There are things that will cost a lot of money – features that I get enamored with. We sometimes have to take a step back and ask if we really need a particular feature and if there isn't something more important to the user base that we can roll out. kohactive knows much more about the technology side and ensures that I achieve my outcome. I've come to appreciate that.

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
    This is a difficult question. I want them all to myself. I would recommend them if the project would not be in a competing area.

Website Development for Restaurant Group

"They gave us the proper guidance, and the end-result was fantastic, exceeding our expectations.."

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

kohactive modernized and updated a restaurant group’s website. The team ensured that all social media links and information were active and up to date.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Social Media Manager, Restaurant Group
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team did a great job on the website and gave good advice during the redesigning process. kohactive has deep technical expertise and exceptional customer service. They have a great design team and communicate well. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I work for a restaurant group in the Chicago area.

What is your position?

I provide social media management support.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with kohactive?

Our goal was making sure that our webpage is current and relevant, and has the appropriate social media links.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

We've worked with the kohactive team to enhance our website. We had an older website but it badly needed an update of the content, design, with a focus on social media and retail links.

They created the website for us, made sure it had the appropriate links for retail purposes, and worked with social media.

[Editor's Note: The project also involved UX/UI work and was completed using Wordpress and WooCommerce.]

How did you come to work with kohactive?

We were referred to them. We'd done research between kohactive and another company. When we priced out the work, kohactive was much more cost effective. Also, we preferred the look of the sites that John [Creative Director] and his team had created.

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

This is confidential. I don’t want to share financial information.

What is the status of this engagement?

The work was completed in the middle of 2015. I don’t remember the exact month.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I am completely satisfied. kohactive was very easy to work with, and are very savvy in their technical field. They gave us the proper guidance, and the end-result was fantastic, exceeding our expectations.

I haven’t received much feedback for the site yet.

How did kohactive perform from a project management standpoint?

They did a great job and gave strong advice throughout the project.

What distinguishes kohactive from other providers?

Their level of customer service and care is exceptional. They spend a great amount of time with us, in person and via email, in order to accommodate all of our needs. The service was phenomenal.

Is there anything kohactive could have improved or done differently?

No, not at all. No big things to note.

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

Web Development for Educational Software Firm

"They’ve been very accommodating to our needs, especially around budget."  

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

kohactive migrated an educational software website from WordPress to a custom app. The project included wireframe design and app development and now continues in an ongoing maintenance role. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Austin, Texas
Project Manager, Educational Management Organization
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The website’s aesthetics improved significantly and received much more positive feedback. kohactive was very personable and accommodating throughout the project, making sure to stay within the tight budget. The team will work on site updates in the future.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I work at an educational software firm.

What is your role and responsibilities?

I'm a content developer and was the project manager when we rebuilt our website with kohactive.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with kohactive?

Our old website was on WordPress, and it was just taped together and not professional. In terms of growth, we needed more of a custom solution to fit our needs so we could grow and create engaging content. We wanted to move off WordPress and have a custom app built for us.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

Their work was mostly development. We hired another company to do UI/UX [user interface/user experience]. kohactive got the final wireframes from all the designs. They changed the layout a bit during the process, but they were more focused on the development side.

[Editor's Note: The project was completed using Ruby on Rails and Amazon.]

What was your process for selecting kohactive with which to work?

We did a lot of research upfront. We looked at their profile on Folio and we talked with friends in the industry who had Web projects similar to ours. We did a lot of Google searches. They weren’t found through a referral, so it must have been through a Google search or an online portfolio.

I did a lot of the initial conversations and kohactive seemed like they had a good understanding of what our needs would be up front. They seemed excited about the project and the work. It seemed like a good fit.

Is this ongoing work, or is everything completed?

The initial project that we contracted them for is completed, but we still work with them on a monthly retainer. We're talking about doing some changes to the site. We don’t have any plans to stop working with them.

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

It was several hundred hours, perhaps around 300 to 400 hours. It was a significant project, and it took a few months of them working with us. They had two people who were devoted to it, and who I would talk with once or twice a week, if not more. Toward the end of the project, they pulled in one or two other part-time people as the need arose.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Are you satisfied with kohactive’s work?

From an aesthetic standpoint, the website is a lot better. The user experience is a lot better, and people seem to enjoy it more. I don’t have growth numbers offhand because I'm on the content side. We've seen growth in traffic since the site launched. We've been pretty happy with it. There were some lingering bugs that took a little longer than we would have liked once we launched, but that was the only issue during the transition period. Overall, we're satisfied.

Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other agencies?

They are very personable. They’ve been very accommodating to our needs, especially around budget. We didn’t have as much money as we probably should have had to launch this project. They were fairly flexible in that regard. Overall, they’ve been good partners.

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

We probably wouldn’t have split design and development between two different shops. We would have stuck with one vendor, and that would have been kohactive. If we had to do it again, we would have stuck with them from the beginning and run all the way through to the project’s conclusion.

In terms of things they could do, because they are growing and taking on more clients, week to week it's not always clear what their availability is. Sometimes, they’ll be out for two or three days, and I won't know that until they get back or until an issue comes up, and we can't reach them. That can be a little stressful, but that only happened once or twice. Frontloading that communication if they're going to be busy is something they do, but not always.

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

Web and e-Commerce Development for Winix

"They’ve gone above and beyond what was necessary to aid anything that we had an issue with." 

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Nov. 2013 - May 2014
Project summary: 

kohactive developed a new home appliance e-commerce website. The project’s goals were to be more user-friendly and modern. The team worked mostly on backend development.

The Reviewer
 
1001-10,000 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Marketing and Communications Manager, Winix America
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The final website has received many positive responses from users. kohactive has a good, knowledgeable team with fast turn around times. The team was open to project changes regardless of time commitment and cost. They were able to heavily automate the e-commerce platform upon request. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

We manufacture appliances for the home. The company is based in South Korea, but with a large U.S. presence. The goal of our company is to help people make their homes healthier by providing cleaner air and water through our devices.

What is your role and responsibilities?

I’m the marketing and communications manager. I handle all marketing and advertising for the company as well as the website, social media, and trade shows. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with kohactive?

Our old website was dated and was not functioning as a website should in the current market and with the internet being such a strong medium. We contacted kohactive to help us develop a new website that was more user friendly and more based on consumer purchases. 

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

They did all our development. They set up an e-commerce platform that is specific to us and our website as well as doing design work. They did a lot of backend development for our website.

The initial setup, design, and launching of the website is done, but it is an ongoing process. We’re currently on version 1.1, tightening up loose ends, adding additional content to the website, and ironing out the e-commerce issues.

[Editor's Note: The project was completed using Ruby on Rails, Spree Commerce, and Amazon.]

What was your process for selecting kohactive with which to work?

The president wanted to work with a local Chicago-based company. We went through a lot of ad agencies and Web development companies. We conducted a few different meetings.

We chose kohactive because their website was a good example of the work that they could do. They had a good team that seemed knowledgeable. Their response times and turnaround times with any issues are fairly fast.

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

We started developing in late November and the first version was launched in late April or early May. There were several revisions that took place before the current launch. We changed our minds multiple times throughout and they’ve been responsive about these requests. If we ever need their help or need something changed, they’ll hop right on regardless of the cost or the time commitment. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What were the results of the project?

There’s a better response from users than before and the information is presented more clearly. Our content is more accessible.

Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?

We haven’t gotten into this yet. We did use Google Analytics, but with the new website it changed and there’s no side-by-side comparison we can currently do. The e-commerce development is one step away from being completely automated, where we as an office wouldn’t need any involvement whatsoever. This was our choice, but it’s that good.

Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?

They’re more down to earth. They take the time and care about all their clients, and we’re satisfied with the work they’ve done. They’ve gone above and beyond what was necessary to aid anything that we had an issue with.

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

No.

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