We Build Apps That Grow Businesses

LaunchPad Lab is a web development firm. We build and grow businesses through web and mobile. Our clients include startups, non profits and Fortune 500 companies. We focus on using our technology expertise to help our clients exceed their business goals. To do that, we design and build innovative solutions with close attention to user experience. Let us help you build and grow your business! 

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2012
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • LaunchPad Lab
    220 W Huron St
    Chicago, IL 60657
    United States
    (312) 767-2211

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Whirlpool, MD Anderson Hospital, Outcome Health (formerlly Context Media), Chesapeake Energy, Algofast (High Speed Trading Platform), Content Web, Chicago Line Cruises, Francis Lofts & Bunks, Liquideed, Prevent Blindness, Dispute Bills.

Catharsis Productions

Copperline

Dispute Bills

Liquideed

Prevent Blindness

Francis Lofts and Bunks

Chicago Line Cruises

Reviews

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Web Redesign For Nonprofit

"They’re easygoing, and it’s pleasant to work with them. They give us great advice."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
4.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Jan. - July 2015
Project summary: 

LaunchPad Lab built a new website to meet expectations for responsive design. The key focus was to filter programming options to provide users the best track for their needs.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Director of Marketing, Nonprofit
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Although LaunchPad Labs’ project management declined after the initial project launch, they provided personable service at an affordable rate. The new site boosted traffic by 225% in the first few months.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of marketing at a nonprofit that does sexual assault prevention through live and online programming.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with LaunchPad Lab?

We needed a new website. We had rebranded and our old site wasn’t mobile-friendly. Also, our previous site was all built on Flash, which means you can’t measure or track anything. It was chaotic, and we didn’t really understand what was being communicated on the site, so it was time for a change.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

LaunchPad Lab created the framework and the look and feel using branding we provided. We gave them information about what we wanted on the site, and they restructured the entire setup. They built it from scratch using the Locomotive CMS. We do the SEO and content marketing ourselves, but they built the site to allow everything to be tracked.

We wanted a clear and fresh look. We have different sexual assault prevention programs for military, college, and corporate audiences, so we wanted a clear message about the programs that are good for each group. LaunchPad built a way to see all programs together, but also filter the programs for a specific audience. It’s an easy way for a user to see programs based on individual needs, instead of browsing through the entire website.

We already had a blog page, but it was very chaotic, so LaunchPad put an emphasis on being able to find all blogs within a certain topic.

How did you come to work with LaunchPad Lab?

I checked out a couple companies at the time. I felt that LaunchPad really understood our ideas, and they were in the right price range for us.

How much have you invested with LaunchPad Lab?

I think it was $20,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started January 1st, 2015, and the site launched in July of that year. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I don’t have the stats available. As we couldn’t track anything on the old site, we didn’t have a clue about how many visitors we had. However, I believe there was a 225% increase in usage over the first couple months. I think people are staying longer on the site now.

How did LaunchPad Lab perform from a project management standpoint?

They were great for the first six months, but they’re not as fast in responding now. Sometimes it takes them a while to get back to us.

What did you find most impressive about LaunchPad Lab?

They’re easygoing, and it’s pleasant to work with them. They give us great advice. They have a lot of ideas on social media and how to track our numbers.

Are there any areas LaunchPad Lab could improve?

We chose Locomotive based on their advice, but I don’t think we would make that decision again. We’re not really excited about the system. Their response could be quicker. But I do think they’re a great company with super-nice people. They deliver nice work.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    The first six months were absolutely a 5, but they haven’t kept up with that more recently.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design for Eye Health Nonprofit

"They have a proactive approach to making recommendations they think will support our goal."

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

LaunchPad Lab created an attractive site to revitalize a nonprofit’s web presence and designed various apps and products for affiliates. The team now offers ongoing SEO and platform updates. 

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Greater Chicago Area
Ken West
Marketing Director, Prevent Blindness America
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The launched site met all branding objectives and offers superb accessibility for individuals with low vision. The interactive guides produced by LaunchPad Lab continue to attract new constituents and donors, increasing web traffic for both national and affiliate entities. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Prevent Blindness is a nonprofit founded in 1908. We’re the leading eye health and safety advocate for patients and consumers. We focus on eye disease, eye health education and awareness, vision screening for children, and policy advocacy issues relating to eye and vision health. I’m a senior director of marketing and interactive communications. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with LaunchPad Lab?

As a nonprofit, we don’t have a lot of money for marketing, but we wanted to create an appealing consumer- and patient-oriented site with our available funds. LaunchPad Lab seemed excited about our mission and was willing to help us revitalize our web presence and update our online technology. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They’ve helped us with multiple projects, including our main website redesign and a number of interactive tools. We’re now working on the third project with them, and it’s been very rewarding.

We have a large website presence that includes hundreds of pages on eye health and safety issues and promotes our news and events. We’re a national and affiliate organization: the national organization runs websites for a number of affiliates in different states. We had a fairly large CRM challenge to make the site available to our affiliates, allowing them to do independent updates and administer edits on their own. Creating a site that can accommodate that CRM need was a challenge, but LaunchPad Lab found a good solution at a decent price.

It’s a Drupal site, and they updated that platform for us. They used a number of plugins and some custom tools. They really did it from start to finish. We had a logo, basic branding guidelines, and some requirements to ensure accessibility for people with low vision. LaunchPad Lab did everything from there—all the site design and concepts. They also helped us with SEO.

How did you come to work with LaunchPad Lab?

I was looking for vendors for a potential app targeting people with age-related macular degeneration. I found them and got some good recommendations for their work. We did that project and asked them to give us a quote for the website redevelopment. Since then, we’ve expanded on that initial project. We’re now working on a guide for people with diabetic retinopathy. LaunchPad has also worked with us on a number of interactive eye disease guides plus the national website.

How much have you invested with LaunchPad Lab?

The investment is in the $50,000 range for all of that work.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working together in 2015, and the relationship is ongoing. The current project is almost complete, and we’ll probably ask them to do another project within the next three to six months. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

LaunchPad Lab produces excellent results. We get a lot of good feedback from our constituents, partners, donors, and sponsors. The interactive guides they created helped us connect with new constituents. Their work has helped us with donor and constituent acquisition. We’ve definitely seen an uptick in web traffic on the national site and most of the affiliate websites since launching. It’s a good marketing tool for potential sponsors, partners, and donors.

How did LaunchPad Lab perform from a project management standpoint?

The projects were delivered on time. We had some flexibility in the first project, but the website redevelopment was on a strict timeline. They’ve been good about getting the projects done within the timeframe we created. The current project is ahead of schedule.

What did you find most impressive about LaunchPad Lab?

They have a proactive approach to making recommendations they think will support our goal. Their quality control and review is very strong, and I like their design work. It’s been a pleasure working with them.

Are there any areas LaunchPad Lab could improve?

They’re a small organization, but they give us a lot of personal attention. I never felt that they were struggling to find time for our project. I assume they’re still growing, and they have all the challenges of being a small organization. They’re trying to grow at the right pace; so far, I think they’ve done a very good job managing their resources among their different clients. 

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

Custom Development for Cloud-Based HR Solution

"LaunchPad Lab uses the most modern technology prevalent in the industry today, instead of leveraging on platforms they’ve been using for a long time."

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

The client hired LaunchPad Lab to act as their development team which involves work on graphical user interfaces and front-end development.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Neil Morgan
Founder, Cobalt Solutions
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

LaunchPad Lab consistently delivers high-quality work. The client praises the agency for their communication and project management. There was no criticism for LaunchPad Lab and the agency is highly recommended to others.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Cobalt Solutions designs, develops, and delivers mirror-processing cloud applications for the human resources market.

What is your position?

I am the founder and president of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with LaunchPad Lab?

We had begun working with a different development team that was not performing well. I wanted a fresh start.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

LaunchPad Lab jumped in, put a team on our project, and did a phenomenal job. They not only organized content and understood the problems we were trying to solve, but they also saw our vision in terms of design, which they carried over into a holistic product.

How did you come to work with LaunchPad Lab?

I knew one of their founders and contacted him directly regarding the current opportunity. I had seen the previous products built by LaunchPad Lab, understood their process, and knew that they could get the work done. I didn’t go through a rigorous selection process but rather gave them a chance to jump in and fix the work done by the previous team.

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

The total project cost is anticipated to be around $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with LaunchPad Lab in November of 2015. The project is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The quality offered by the development teams has been top-notch. The graphical user interface and frontend portions have been completed. The software is very responsive; it works quickly and delivers on the vision of creating a simple-to-use application for the average end user, unlike many other software applications.

How did LaunchPad Lab perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re very good at communicating to the client what it is that they need to work on. Any changes to scope have been documented, and the work product is outstanding.

What distinguishes LaunchPad Lab from other providers?

Having a diverse team has made a difference. Their project manager has made sure that the work is on track, they have a very good graphic designer who has delivered a clean user interface, and their developers are very good at getting things done quickly. LaunchPad Lab uses the most modern technology prevalent in the industry today, instead of leveraging on platforms they’ve been using for a long time.

Is there anything LaunchPad Lab could have improved or done differently?

They’ve been solid in terms of what they’ve delivered. We sit at the top-end of the estimates in terms of what it would take to build a 1.0 product. The project has required more than we initially thought, but we’ve also taken the product further than we had ever envisioned for an initial release.

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

Web Design for Book Marketing Campaign

"They were truly great. It's my pleasure to talk about these guys. They're awesome."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

LaunchPad Lad provided Web development and training services. Training focused on website analytics, design elements, and using MailChimp to compose email marketing messages.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Michael Golden
Author, "Unlock Congress"
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

LaunchPad Lab delivered a site that receives positive feedback from its visitors, especially on its aesthetics. The site attracted press coverage which increased book sales. LaunchPad Lab excels by providing customer-specific services. The agency is responsive and friendly.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

It's a book and a reform movement effort called "Unlock Congress." I wrote the book and created a website for it. It's centered on marketing the book and getting folks to sign up and learn more about the reforms I propose and how they can be involved. That's the overall goal.

What is your position?

I am the author and head this movement.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with LaunchPad Lab?

I wanted to sell copies of my book but, more importantly, get people involved by having them participate and interact with me and others online.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

It was for website development. LaunchPad Lab trained me on how to do various things on the site and helped me learn about analytics and how to compose email marketing messages on MailChimp and send out newsletters and create and design elements. They've been terrific all the way around on those tasks.

How did you come to work with LaunchPad Lab?

I know one of the principals of the company. I met with him and he actually connected me to a developer separate from LaunchPad Lab to work with, and then that developer actually ended up partnering and becoming part of LaunchPad Lab. I was glad to work with them because the principal, Scott Weisman, and I are friends. I knew I could trust him, and he's been great.

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

It was $10,000 to $50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

It's mostly completed. They help me now and again when I need assistance or have a question related to my website.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I'd rather not share the statistics. It's a practice that I maintain to be confidential. The anecdotal evidence I hear mostly from people who see the site person to person is the site looks clean and beautiful and they love it. I've also had media coverage and producers on television and radio and also print journalists that have come and covered "Unlock Congress" and the website was a portal for a lot of them. My strong website has built credibility in "Unlock Congress" so that I can attract media coverage and, hopefully, sell more books, this is attributed to LaunchPad Lab's work.

How did LaunchPad Lab perform from a project management standpoint?

I'm more than satisfied. The design of the website is beautiful, and they worked with me on changes I wanted to make to optimize it. The accessibility of it for users and the ease with which I can post items and improve it is fantastic. They've been responsive when there are things that I need them to do whether it's a small change or something that's larger. LaunchPad Lab is extremely fair and patient with my needs. I'm a specific detail-oriented person, and they haven't let me down once. I love the site.

What distinguishes LaunchPad Lab from other providers?

I would just say their whole team is really friendly and easy to work with. LaunchPad Lab works with you in a way where you identify designs that you like, and then they pare it down and create choices for you and that's exactly what I wanted. For me, one of the biggest parts was developing the design and getting the feel and look of it right and then the functionality also. If I chose a web developer again, I would choose LaunchPad Lab in a heartbeat and have sent them to other people, too.

Is there anything LaunchPad Lab could have improved or done differently?

Not that I can think of. They were truly great. It's my pleasure to talk about these guys. They're awesome.

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

Shopify Design for Bed Manufacturer

"Nothing was going to prevent them from making the site awesome."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

LaunchPad Lab provides Web Design and SEO services. The agency built a custom theme with the goal of making a Shopify template more mobile-friendly.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Co-Founder & President, Bunk Bed & Loft Bed Manufacturer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

LaunchPad Lab’s work had a positive effect on all relevant metrics including time spent on site, sales, and retention and conversion rates. The agency quickly developed an understanding of the business model and its target market. LaunchPad Lab excels when given freedom to be creative.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We're an aluminum bunk bed and loft bed manufacturer. We built loft beds and bunk beds out of aluminum for adults. Loft beds usually go to larger cities that have tiny living spaces. The bunk beds go to lake houses and resort-style homes. They're great for when you have a lot of adults in a house. We sell all of our beds online. 

What is your role and responsibilities?

I am the co-founder and president.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with LaunchPad Lab?

We started with a Shopify template. Our website was not mobile friendly. We need to make the user experience better. I hired them to make a custom theme for us that was mobile friendly for Shopify.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

They designed our website, coded it, and incorporated SEO [search engine optimization]. They ran the whole gamut.

What was your process for selecting LaunchPad Lab?

I hired them because of their user experience and design abilities. They had a good focus on being mobile friendly. I looked at other shops. I was familiar with them, and I looked at cost and quality. I looked at their portfolio on what they've done for marketing sites, and I felt their design was closer to what I was looking for. It was more modern than other firms. 

Can you give a sense of the size of the initiative?

It was from $10,000 to $50,000

When was the work completed?

We started in 2012. It's ongoing work. It's live now, but there are some things that we're still working on.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Do you have any statistics or metrics on the project?

I saw an increase in conversion rate for the first month after it was launched. We saw a 15 to 20 percent increase in the first month. That's important for an e-commerce site. We saw a much larger retention of mobile visitors, which was what I was hoping for. 

We saw a 20 percent increase in average time spent on the site. All the stats were good. We saw an uptick in sales. People have reached out to me and asked about where we got our site built, and I'm happy to refer them to LaunchPad. 

Are you satisfied with their performance?

Their quality was so good, so I'm satisfied.

Is there anything unique or special about LaunchPad Lab that really makes them stand out?

What I was mostly surprised at was how quickly they grasped our business. I was concerned that the design would fall short, and they took on the whole thing as if it was their own company. They understood our target market and built a whole design that centered on that kind of person. Nothing was going to prevent them from making the site awesome. They Photoshopped pictures if they needed to.

What advice would you give to future clients of theirs?

Trust their professional input. I think they really did well with design freedom. Don't try to direct too much of the design. Let them ask the questions and figure out what's best. They work well with an ambiguous starting point. They had a good strategy to figure out the best branding.

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 made a Shopify theme. Since we customized it so much, I think I would have spent more and just had them customize the whole thing instead of using a Shopify site. That was more my fault. I would reevaluate that. I know they had to fight with some things with Shopify because of what we customized.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    From what I could tell, they were the most affordable. I haven't done a lot of projects, but that's from my experience.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Ongoing Web Development for Startup Financial Trading Platform

"They’ve got a perspective that’s much wider than most Web development companies."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
n/a
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Oct. 2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Their first project was a simple website overhaul, but LaunchPad Lab went on to build several web applications to enhance business functions such as a video blog, a cloud database, and analytics tools.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, IL
CEO, Event Trading Software Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The key descriptor for LaunchPad Lab is “flexibility”. They are proficient with many technologies, and if they aren’t, they’ll learn it. The team has a broad professional background outside of web development, so they bring diverse perspectives to their work. Their creativity was evident throughout.

BACKGROUND

Please give a brief description of your company and your role.

We make event trading software for the average investor. We take in outside news sources that may trigger events that you can trade off of, such as an economic number or an earnings reports or lawsuit.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Did you have any specific goals for the project when you started?

When we started, the main goal was just to build a better marketing website. Somewhere along the lines, we’ve changed directions a few times, and they’ve gotten more involved in the business. So, there hasn’t always been one clear-cut goal. They’ve been flexible in meeting our needs. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of the project?

CSS/ SCSS, CMS, blog and video blog, SSL/ DNS, Webserver, Cloud database, FAQ, and various analytical tools. The scope also included teaching our own programmers about Ruby on Rails, and other front end web development skills.    

Why did you hire LaunchPad Lab to begin with?

We met at a networking event called BuiltInChicago. I found out that one of the partners had a background in trading, and they also specialize in a language that we were interested in – Ruby on Rails. It’s a very flexible language that allows us to innovate faster.

How long have you been working together?

A year and a half to two years.

Can you give us a sense of the size of the initiative, either in a cost range or personnel work hour figure?

Usually, we’ll schedule one to two programmers to spend several weeks on a project. So, we stick to an hourly rate and give a general guideline for the project. We leave room for that timeframe to grow if we change our needs along the way, which we often do.

Total man hours [so far] would be probably more than 1,000.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Are there any metrics or feedback that you can share that indicates the effectiveness of their work?

No. I don’t have any specific metrics.

How would you describe their performance?

Versatile. If I tell them I have a software need, even if they don’t have prior experience doing that specific thing, they can go out and learn how to do that very quickly.   

Is there anything else unique or special about them compared to other vendors or companies that you may have worked with in the past?

Yes, their backgrounds. The three first founders – one was a lawyer, one was an engineer, one was a trader. They’ve got a perspective that’s much wider than most Web development companies. They understand my perspective better because of that, and it takes less time to explain my goals and needs to them.

Looking back on the work that they’ve done so far, is there any area that you think they could improve on or that you would do differently?

No.

If you have to sum up your experience with them briefly, how might you describe it?

Professional and creative.

 

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • N/A Cost
    Value / within estimates
    [The reviewer chose to abstain from this category.]
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have before.

Custom iPhone Social Media Application Development

"I really appreciated their honesty and their discipline around deadlines and responsibilities."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Feb. - Nov. 2013
Project summary: 

LaunchPad Lab designed and developed an iOS app that combined photo and video sharing with geolocation technologies in a new social media platform. The build took about 10 months.

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

Users recognize that the app offers something different from other social media platforms. Although LaunchPad didn’t have much experience developing social functions like sharing and commenting, they were honest and hard-working. They considered the business model, not just the functionality.

BACKGROUND

Could you give a bit of background on your company and your role?

I am the founder of a mobile app called LandID. In that capacity, I was looking for a local Chicago developer to work with me. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

When you approached LaunchPad Lab, what in particular were you trying to do?

I was trying to take the idea from my head and put it into a mobile app. I didn’t know at that time whether that would be an iPhone app or an Android app. I would describe myself as very tech enabled, but pretty ignorant with respect to app development at that time. I was looking for someone to help me bring it to life.

Did you have any specific business goals for the project or metrics that you were trying to achieve?

There was never a desire to monetize the app, which sounds a little strange. That would have been fine if it happened, but it was more something that I felt very strongly about that I wanted to see created. I was the only investor in it, so I wasn’t taking outside money. The goal was really to bring something to life that I think a market has a need for in the social media space. I had goals about subscriber growth and all of those things. But the ultimate goal was to develop a high-quality app that people would enjoy.     

SOLUTION

Can you tell me about the scope of the project? What did it include?

There was nothing at the start but an idea. The total development time for the launch of the first version was probably four months. It started with a good month of light board work, where we sat down and talked about how the frames would work and how best to structure it, and what to include, what not to include, so a lot of good conceptual work before we ever put a hand to coding.

The second phase was that we rolled into using Flinto and other simulation pieces of software, so that before we began the actual coding, we could see it in a visual form in a demo.

When we were comfortable with that, we rolled into phase three, the coding. It went pretty quickly after all that conceptual work. So, four months from zero to version one in the iStore.

Did you also launch additional versions of this product?

We launched a second version and maybe a third, just within the following two months. But, they were rather minor bug fixes. We had worked out a number of the bugs before the first launch because we had allowed friends and family to use the app before it was ever in the iStore. [The second version] wasn’t materially different.

How long have you worked with them?

I continue to work with them. At this point, it’s probably been 10 months, because there was probably a couple of months’ process of getting to know them before we ever launched. I continue to have a relationship with them, advising on the next step for the app. I’ve just come to like them a lot. I bounce ideas off them, and they bounce ideas off me.

One of the things that really set them apart to me was that they’re technology guys, but they actually come out of the real-world business environment. They come out of the securities trading environment, and have also clearly worked on some pretty demanding applications in the past. I like that because they’re very responsive.

Why did you decide to use the iPhone platform?

We perceive the iStore to be the benchmark of app loyalty. While there has certainly been substantial growth in non-Apple platforms, [such as] Android, the App Store and the loyalty of iPhone users is still the hallmark of where to start. Then, to the extent that it thrives there, we would bring it into Android.

When you selected LaunchPad Lab to work with, were there other candidates that you were considering? Why did you choose to work with them?

I had [to consider whether] to get the guy in his basement or hire a real development firm. I quickly went to a real firm because if you hired a guy in his basement, and he’s not able to get it all the way there or can’t support you post launch, and you bring it to a real developer at that time, then they’re not going to tweak what he did. They’re going to rebuild it from scratch. I didn’t want to take that risk.

In the real developer space, I talked with other firms. There are lots of people that are capable. At the end of the day, I wanted someone local. I talked to people who had more mobile app experience than LaunchPad, but I really liked [LaunchPad’s] approach, and their ability to think about the business model, not just the app. I liked the fact that they came out of the real world, and I perceived that they would be very responsive. That’s turned out to be absolutely correct.

I’m very pleased with their work, very pleased with the app, just enjoy working with the guys, and wouldn’t have made a different decision.

Can you give us a sense of the size of this initiative either in dollar terms or personnel work hours estimate?

Between the developer, a local PR firm, and some legal work, I’d probably spent somewhere in the range of $70,000 or $80,000 on the app, all my own funding. The developer piece was probably 80 percent of that, I would say.

When was the initial project completed?

We launched it in the iStore in the second week of November of last year [2013].

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What were the results of the project? Are there any metrics or qualitative feedback you can share?

I’ve had some great press. The biggest thing to me is I probably have 1,500 users at the moment, three or four months in. I have a lot of content creation on this app. Again, given that my goal was never to monetize it, the cool thing for me is just seeing how people use it. I’ve seen hundreds of examples of people using this app to document important moments in their life in a way that I think social media cries out for more of today. I’ve been really pleased with the growth, and with watching the content from behind the scenes.

How would you describe LaunchPad Lab’s performance? Was there anything unique or special about them compared to other companies with which you may have worked?

I can’t really say in the development space because it’s not as though I have done this before. But, they have a pretty good discipline about not starting the coding until we’re absolutely sure exactly what we’re doing, so a very client-focused approach to being efficient with resources and time. Even in the simulation software, making sure that we get through a whiteboard discussion of what everything’s going to look like beforehand, so a very businesslike approach to technology.

The other thing is every two weeks, there’s a very rigid structure where it’s here’s what we’re going to do, then we go do it, then we come back to show you what we did, and talk about what we’re going to do the next two weeks. So, it’s a very businesslike approach to accountability and also holding me accountable, the fact that they can only do things as they receive feedback from me on a real-time basis.

I just really appreciated their honesty and their discipline around deadlines and responsibilities. Again, that was one of the primary things that I hoped to get from them given their backgrounds, and that proved to be true.

Looking back on the project, is there any area that you think that they could improve on or that you would do differently?

[At the time], they were still a relatively small developer, and while they were growing, they were outsourcing. In my instance, they outsourced some of the visual design features. I know that now they’ve insourced that. Actually, I was quite pleased with their outsourced design partner. But I think the more that you use outside, the more legal risk of other people taking a client’s idea or sharing it with other people. That was not my experience, but I’m glad to see that they’re insourcing more of their capabilities as they grow.

The only other thing, and I knew this going in, they hadn’t done a lot of work in the social media space in particular. They hadn’t developed a lot of apps that create new mechanisms for people to follow and share and like what’s going on. I could tell, in the process, they were learning some of that along with me. But, again, I knew that going in, and it was not an impediment. In fact, I think we were able to do some things that were maybe outside the box because they came at it from a different lens.        

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    That’s their strength.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I think relative to other large-scale developers. Their value is compelling.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone with other folks that are considering using their services. That’s something that I wouldn’t spend my time on if I didn’t believe in it.