Strategic software development for startups

We believe the next wave of transformative technology companies will not come from Silicon Valley, but instead from unexpected ecosystems like the Southeast. 

Our mission is to minimize risk and increase the chances of success for startups in this region through strategic software development. This means building products with customer acquisition and user engagement in mind and collecting user feedback early and often. Innovation comes through iteration.

We understand that innovative tech products are born out of a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives. We believe that the Southern startup community is stronger when we work together, so we work to build bridges between entrepreneurs, investors, and other supporters of the startup ecosystem.

We created the Southern Startup Report to connect these communities, and we created the Ada Lovelace Awards to celebrate diversity and support women in tech.

 
$10,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2014
Show all +
New Orleans, LA
headquarters
  • LookFar
    2831 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70117
    New Orleans, LA 70130
    United States

Focus

Service lines
  • Custom Software Development
  • Mobile App Development
  • UX/UI Design
Client focus
  • Small business (<$10M)
  • Midmarket ($10M - $1B)
Industry focus
  • Business services
  • Consumer products & services
  • Health Care & Medical
Branding focus
Public relations
Direct marketing
Ecommerce systems
BI & big data focus
BI & big data solutions
CRM functions
CRM solutions
Productivity & collaboration
Managed services
Cybersecurity focus
Voice/Call Center Services

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Acrew - resumeless job marketplace that connects job seekers and employers through brief, first-impression interviews.

NOEW - major annual entrepreneurial festival in New Orleans

LC&I - worker's comp provider to small/mid-sized businesses in Louisiana

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Reviews

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Web Dev for Business Service Technology Startup

"The application itself performs really well."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Nov. 2016 - Aug. 2017
Project summary: 

LookFar provided web development services, building an application using Angular and Amazon Web Services.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New Orleans, Louisiana
Anthony Bodin
Founder, Kitaro
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

With the prototype released, the application is being tested and is well built, performing excellently. They communicated well and managed the project effectively, adhering to the timeline and cost estimates. They collaborated smoothly throughout the project, providing suggestions and assistance.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the CEO and founder of Kitaro which is a web application that allows companies to find the best city for their expansion project. It does so by scoring each city based on their specific needs for their expansion project and connects the company with the economic development organizations (EDO) that represent those cities.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with LookFar?

We needed someone to build the application.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The app allows the user to select a couple of characteristics of their project, such as the type of industry and type of product they want to build. It allows them to see different cities or states and adjusts according to specific criteria. The scores for each criterion are adjusted accordingly. We built the application on Angular on top of AWS (Amazon Web Services) and AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

What is the team composition?

I worked with a project manager, a front- and backend developer, as well as a designer and a QA person. I interacted with all of them when necessary, but mostly with the project manager. They were flexible to meet whenever I wanted.

How did you come to work with LookFar?

I was referred to them through recommendations via my personal network in New Orleans. There are four or five firms who do that type of work in New Orleans. I reached out to all of them and LookFar came back with the best proposal in terms of the approach, detail, and understanding of the general concept.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them on this project from November 2016 to August 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We released an MVP on time, which I have been testing ever since, looking at what features to add or remove and how to change the business model. The application itself performs really well. We haven’t had a bug or system failure since it launched which is pretty amazing. It's a well-built application.

How did LookFar perform from a project management standpoint?

We most often communicated through email, as well as a couple of phone calls. The advantage of being local is the opportunity to meet face to face as it makes it much easier—we met at least once every two weeks during the project development.

We used Jira as a project management tool to track the work and they performed brilliantly. The estimate in terms of cost and timing was right on target.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The biggest thing that stands out to me is that they were true partners. It wasn’t just about the product that we built, but it was also about sending me articles that we should read in terms of how we should improve the business as well as things we had not thought about. They educated me on the entire process, both in developing an online product and working with a development firm, as well as connecting me with investors, accelerators, and incubators. I call them my product champions because they really push me to do the right things when developing a web product.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We took a bit longer than expected to work on the design, but once we got started, we had a clear process for contributions and feedback.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Follow their processes because there is experience and thought behind them. In the end, going through the documents and exercises that they suggest is really beneficial and you end up with a better product at a better price.

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 Dev & Branding for Employment Screening Startup

"LookFar is dedicated to seeing startups in New Orleans succeed."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Feb. - Jul. 2016
Project summary: 

LookFar provided rebranding guidance and messaging refinement for a video-based job-screening platform. They team also conducted full-stack development for customizable postings and multi-device functionality. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New Orleans, Louisiana
Crystal McDonald
CEO, Acrew
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The two-sided solution has secured outstanding feedback from both job seekers and employers due to its intuitive navigation and easy functionality. LookFar’s reliable suggestions, diverse perspectives, and results-focused approach demonstrated their commitment to success. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the president and CEO of Acrew, a screening platform that connects employers and job seekers using brief, first-impression videos. We focus primarily on the hourly wage job market in high-turnover industries like construction, hospitality, retail, quick service restaurants, and healthcare. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with LookFar?

I needed an adequate and reliable development partner and technical team. We are not in a place where we can hire full-time dev staff, so we needed to outsource that talent. We wanted the partner we chose to be high-quality and local. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our company was founded about 3 1/2 years ago under a brand called GoToInterview. We’ve had a few versions of the platform. We decided to rebrand as Acrew using the high-level features of our past platform, but really we started from scratch with LookFar.

With our platform, employers can post a job opportunity online with corresponding interview questions. The questions are customizable based on a couple of factors. If you're looking for a specific skill level, culture, or personality, you can ask relevant questions that are specific to the job posting. Once the posting is published, a job seeker can answer the questions using a smartphone, webcam, or computer. Then, the employer receives a notification that says something like, “Crystal has applied for the barista position at Starbucks. View her interview now.” Within just a few minutes, that employer gets a sense of the candidate’s motivation, fit, and performance.

How did you come to work with LookFar?

New Orleans is a relatively small community, and LookFar is an actively engaged participant in the local entrepreneurial community and tech startup space. They’re hard to miss. They branded themselves as the development shop that attracted the best talent in the city.

How much have you invested with LookFar?

We’ve invested $50,000–$200,000 with LookFar.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started the engagement in February 2016, and the first launch of the product was in July 2016. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The user feedback is amazing. We’re a 2-sided market, and we had the challenge of creating a product that was easy to use for both job seekers and employers. More of our time is spent on the employer side because they’re the paying traffic. We have a whole sales process to get the employers on board, but numbers-wise they’re the smaller side of the 2-sided market. The job seeker side is much grander in scope, but we’ve almost completely eliminated the friction on that end in terms of their ability to use the tools and ease of access.

Our user feedback is consistently high. The platform is easy to use. People like it and feel good about it, which is starkly different from my previous platform.

How did LookFar perform from a project management standpoint?

The main collaboration tools we use are Vox and JIRA. LookFar has a team-based approach, which I enjoyed. We worked with a project manager, at least 2 or 3 engineers, and a UX/UI designer. Outside of development, LookFar supported us holistically with a complete rebrand of our company. They had us think about who we are, what message we want to communicate, and which color patterns and logo would convey our image clearly. They even helped us think through some of the content on our site and took us through an exercise to refine our messaging and branding. They brought a variety of perspectives.

Generally, they perform well from a project management standpoint. They have an Agile process, which requires quick feedback from us. They deliver when they say they will and communicate any issues immediately. They’re also precise with the budget.

What did you find most impressive about LookFar?

LookFar put together a helpful assessment that addressed our marketing and customer acquisition plan. We went through a half-day workshop, which was a great addition. In general, LookFar is dedicated to seeing startups in New Orleans succeed. They’re forward-thinking in referring customers, creating partnerships, and refining clients’ messages.

Every week, they’re sending me something to elevate or move our business forward. Even though they have a portfolio of customers, I feel like a partner, and I really appreciate that.

Are there any areas LookFar could improve?

I don’t have any suggestions.

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
    I’ve done it before.

Web Dev & Design for New Orleans Nonprofit

"[W]e never encountered a problem that LookFar didn’t have the expertise to solve."

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

LookFar conducted a redesign of an event website to polish the UX/UI and achieve a user-friendly backend. Other tasks included directory management, multi-platform integration, and post-launch maintenance. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New Orleans, Louisiana
Victoria Phipps
Executive Producer, Idea Village
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Through LookFar’s critical infrastructure work and digestible content, attendee numbers increased by over 2,000 between 2016 and 2017. The team’s seamless organization, prompt turnaround time, and ability to offer multiple solutions contributed to a productive partnership.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

The Idea Village is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that seeks to create positive change in the city of New Orleans via entrepreneurship. I specifically manage New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, a large annual festival that engages thousands of people through a week of dynamic content, keynote speakers, networking events, and happy hours, infusing the community with critical resources for supporting the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with LookFar?

We needed to revamp the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week website completely. It had an older UX and was not user-friendly on the backend. We were also implementing a change with a key tech vendor. We had built a triangle connection between 3 different platforms—Salesforce CRM, the NOEW website, and a platform for managing attendee data. We needed a vendor to manage this update seamlessly. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

LookFar proposed a complete revamp of our UX, in addition to extracting the previous event-attendee platform, replacing it, and improving the overall UX for our team, which would primarily be using the backend of the website in order to extract data. They leveraged much of the existing custom backend but revamped it to improve its value for our current purposes.

The site serves as an information source, outlining the full scheduled events (we had 125 in 2017). It also allows people to register for the festival and RSVP for each event. We use the site to collect donations as a nonprofit. On the backend, we have built a few different tools that can be leveraged by partners. Half of the programs within the festival are produced by partner organizations, and we let them log in and access robust data about their own events, including attendee lists with demographic and psychographic information. Much of this content had been accessed on the frontend by the partners and manipulated on the backend by our team.

How did you come to work with LookFar?

They were a long-term partner of our group before becoming a vendor. We host a series of accelerator programs for early stage startup companies. LookFar has been a critical mentoring resource for several of those companies, as well as an eventual vendor.

We did consider a few other options, but, since we had some familiarity with LookFar’s products and working style, we felt comfortable with them.

How much have you invested with LookFar?

The cost of their work was between $150,000 and $200,000 for the website and directory.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started discussions with LookFar in early fall of 2016. The website was launched in January 2017 before the start of the festival in March. LookFar was critical in managing the large influx of traffic we were getting at that point in time and continued to provide maintenance along the road. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We saw an overall increase in our audience for the New Orleans Entrepreneurial Week. In 2016, we engaged around 12,000 people, and we had over 14,000 in 2017. This spoke to both the quality of the marketing we were able to do around the site as well as the better data overall. We implemented a new tech vendor, and LookFar was critical in making sure that the infrastructure worked properly. We were able to communicate our offerings more clearly, which contributed to the uptick.

People loved the site, and we received nothing but positive feedback. Repeat visitors appreciated the simplicity of finding information and the ease of RSVP’ing to events. Building a custom schedule can be challenging to do in a digestible way. Many people appreciated the decisions we made, which were primarily driven by LookFar.

How did LookFar perform from a project management standpoint?

Our project manager got to the core of what we needed and managed the teams appropriately, making sure the work finished on time. Like all tech projects, we had a few twists and turns, but we never encountered a problem that LookFar didn’t have the expertise to solve, even if that meant leaning on other members.

We were impressed with their UX expertise. They did a great job of revamping the branding on our core website and presented multiple solutions to problems. In the past, when dealing with other tech vendors, we were usually given only 1 route. LookFar made multiple recommendations but left decisions up to us.

They were timely with deliverables. We met on a weekly basis for sprints and refining the monthly scopes of work to keep the project on track. This included an assessment of the work to be done, the price tag, a breakdown of the tasks, and expectations of us as the client.

The communication was clear. We used a tool called Asana to keep the project moving, coordinate approvals for key elements, and determine the acceptance criteria for functionalities.

Our project manager was always available. I could shoot her a text even at 9 p.m. and figure out what needed to happen the next day. Overall, it was a seamless process.

What did you find most impressive about LookFar?

They are willing to go the extra mile, which isn’t true for everyone. Because we are a nonprofit, working with us may be a little different than building test platforms for high-gross startups. LookFar has many clients who fall into the second category, but they were willing to be flexible and research topics that were outside the realm of their existing expertise. Having worked with a lot of tech firms, I can say that we don’t always get this level of service.

Are there any areas LookFar could improve?

The biggest area of improvement, which is on us as much as it is on them, is making sure that we’re adhering to the monthly scopes of work, particularly on the budget side. As a nonprofit, we track items to the dime, and we went slightly over for a few months. This didn’t impact us terribly, but it should be avoided if possible.  

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