Build a business, not an app.

Vault Innovation Group is a development studio focused on growing businesses through mobile and web innovation.  We pride ourselves on delivering the entire software development cycle from beginning to end.  This includes research/consulting, user experience design, visual design, branding, development, and post launch services.  

 
$25,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2012
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 20 N. Upper Wacker, Suite 1200
    Chicago, IL 60606
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Entertainment: GamerzArena, Gig Scout, HeroKey, Chicago Tribune

Hospitality: NextMe, Kuma's Corner, National Restaurant Association

Digital Tools: Get20, Form.Work, TestMe DNA, WasteMaster

NextMe

NextMe is a mobile application for restaurants that helps hosts manage walk-in reservations. Once a table is ready, a diner is notified via text message to be seated. While waiting, diners can view their position in line via a web link found in their text message and also gain access to engaging content to help diners pass time.   https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nextme-wait-list-for-restaurants/id93508...

Get20

Kuma's Corner

Kuma's is the place to go for heavy metal and giant burgers! Already legendary in Chicago, they are looking to expand across the country so needed a site upgrade to fortify their brand and user engagement.

Flo Music

A streaming music application that lets you and your friends collaborate to make the perfect playlist.  Integration with Spotify , Soundcloud, and any local music on your phone makes it easy to use.  If you find yourself on the road or without access to a speaker, you can sync any devices in your proximity to play the same song in real time as well.

GamerzArena

An innovative twist on gaming that allows people to live stream and play their favorite video games for money. A user can play any game title and multiple game modes to fit their specific skill level. The Esports and video gaming industry is growing rapidly and this product will help lead the charge around monetization and compliance.

Leaf Trade

Reviews

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Web Dev for Inquiry-Based Learning Platform

"We get the most compliments on the solution's design and usability."

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

Vault Innovation iterated and built a custom pedagogical technology that includes a curriculum builder for inquiry-based learning. They continue to provide ongoing maintenance and support.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Davenport, Iowa
Shanti Elangovan
CEO, InquirED
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

User and provider feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Expertise and responsiveness are hallmarks of their work. Direct contact with Vault Innovation executives not only expedited completion and enhanced conflict resolution, but demonstrated a vested interest in long-term business outcomes.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the founder and CEO of InquirED, which supports schools in moving towards an inquiry-based approach by providing curricular resources for building teacher practice.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

We needed a firm to build our technology from scratch. We’d already done a few iterations of an early wireframe prototype. We'd also done several focus groups, interviews, and surveys with educators.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The first scope we did with Vault Innovation was a discovery phase. They reviewed the initial learnings of what we'd heard from our potential users. They helped us map out how the UX should flow for users. They pushed us to think about the best way to lay out our curriculum builder. At the end of the discovery phase, their team created a new set of wireframes. The second scope was a development phase, which is when they built the backend. Our third scope of work together was moving from an early beta version to a version 1.0 of the solution.

What is the team composition?

We work directly with six people from their team, though other engineers have worked on our project. The main point of contact is our project manager.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I was searching online for firms in the Chicago area. We also wanted to work with a smaller firm in order to get more personalized attention. I found their website and had a phone call with Jeff (CEO, Vault Innovation). It was a really interesting and engaging conversation. I interviewed around 8 companies but Jeff was the first person who didn't just jump to talking about the scope of the project. It felt like he would be a real partner in the work. I was upfront about being an early stage startup where funds are tight. Jeff said that he wanted to make the most of whatever we can spend.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent between $115,000–$120,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started work in November 2017. The big development phase was done in May 2018, and the second development phase was completed a couple of weeks ago. We’re currently in a maintenance contract with them as our key technology partner.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We get the most compliments on the solution's design and usability. People love how it looks. They want to be on the platform, or playing around with the app, because it's easy to use. They like the simplicity of it, and that they can find what they’re looking for.

While we had a clear idea of what functionality we wanted to offer, Vault Innovation helped us map out how to make simple for teachers to navigate. I’d assumed that the technology was going to be a barrier because it's a new way of building curriculum. They did an amazing job in building it out in a very user-friendly way. They really pushed us to not include a bunch of bells and whistles on our first development phase. They thought through every aspect to determine if we need to build it now or if it’s something to consider adding down the road.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

Our project manager is phenomenal. She's always on top of things and quick to respond. She’s excellent at defining what needs to happen during each phase. If she doesn't understand something, she doesn’t hesitate to get us on the phone with the engineers so we can speak directly. Having her serve as the liaison streamlines the process and makes it easy to work together.

The workflow is efficient and doesn't require a lot of check-ins. We’ll do quick talks to share progress reports and updates on when things are done. We had in-person meetings during the discovery phase, but generally we communicate over phone and email.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They make us feel like we have an internal technology team. It’s not just about creating the largest scope possible, which would cost a lot of money. Their whole team is interested in how their technology can help us meet our business goals. It's been an amazing experience, and I would highly recommend them.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There was some miscommunication and other issues at the beginning of the engagement. However, they’re incredibly responsive any time I've had an issue. Jeff will get on a call with me right away and try to fix it. Any problems are addressed immediately, and shifts are made to make sure they don't happen again.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Overall, they’re on top of everything.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Platform Dev for Wholesale Marketplace

"I can really tell that they don’t just want to make money off of us."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
July 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Vault Innovation has led discovery phases, created wireframes, and developed an e-commerce platform. They continue to provide design, technical, and leadership resources to fulfill needs around scalability.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
James Yi
CEO, Leaf Trade
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Vault Innovation’s discovery phase propelled the once-simple MVP towards a platform that users continue to praise for its functionality and design. Autonomous project management, communication, and adaptability are valuable attributes, while thorough resource vetting fosters confidence.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of Leaf Trade. Our platform is a wholesale, B2B marketplace for the licensed cannabis industry.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

We had limited resources as a startup and were trying to scale our tech and development resources in an optimized way. We needed to find a high-quality, full-time developer who we could leverage to meet our needs around scalability.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Vault has addressed many of our technical needs as a company. They’ve provided additional developers to supplement our CTO and also filled that role in a seamless way since they already had the in-house leadership resources. We brought in another product manager to handle the technical aspects, which gave us the flexibility to scale up or down. They’ve also provided designers for some intermittent needs.

They’ve used PHP to build the first version of the product on top of an open-source, Django-based e-commerce platform. They’ve also been great at assisting in discovery phases and creating wireframes. They help us evaluate what we want and what gaps we need to fill. They consult with us on what direction to take and provide guidance on what we need or don’t need. I truly appreciate that and it’s inspired me to pursue a long-term relationship with them. I can really tell that they don’t just want to make money off of us.

We have a lot of big integrations (e.g., accounting software) and features that we’re getting feedback from customers on, which is extremely valuable. We’re really excited about integrating automatic payment processing, which is something Vault has been incorporating and building into the platform. They’re also great at coordinating and planning with third parties in order to implement big-picture solutions.

What is the team composition?

Our team scales according to what phase we’re in, but I usually work with between 2–6 people: senior engineers, developers, frontend developers, and backend developers.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I met Vault through my brother’s company. I could tell they had high-level capabilities and work dynamics from their service with his company, so I decided to go with them.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent between $100,000–$200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in July 2017 and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our original interface was a simple, clean, and functional MVP, but our users were looking for a much more powerful marketplace regarding e-commerce functionalities. Vault, through a discovery phase, figured out the best way to move forward. We chose to revamp the platform with a powerful open-source, e-commerce platform.

There were a lot of design elements they were able to utilize, coordinate, and customize for our specific industry. We released the 2.0 version in January and the customers loved it. They think it’s a beautiful product compared to the simplicity in the first version. They love the aesthetics and the built-in functionality, as well as the power of the platform.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

I have an internal product/project manager, so it hasn’t been an issue. There have been periods where they’ve needed to take care of stuff during times of transition, but it’s been relatively painless. They’re great at self-management. They make sure that there’s good communication and a feedback loop so that nothing goes amiss.

They have two offices: one in Chicago and one in Springfield, Missouri. I work with people from both offices and they make themselves available for our daily scrum meetings. We use video to share screens during those meetings. They’re comfortable with using your internal tools as well, whether it’s Jira, Trello, or something similar. They have the capacity to adapt to your workflow, which I’ve always thought was pretty cool.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Another reason I chose them is because their developers are onshore. Many agencies utilize foreign resources because of cost, but I’ve personally had issues with language barriers and work dynamic in those situations. The price ultimately doesn’t justify the loss of communication. Vault sources their team in the U.S. and everyone has great communication skills. They use a comprehensive process to onboard people, sometimes requiring months of vetting. They want to ensure someone is a good fit for the team before hiring them.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There have been periods of rapid growth within their company, so it may be beneficial to grow their internal team appropriately. They do a good job of that, but sometimes rapid growth puts a strain on their resources. However, it hasn’t negatively impacted our business.

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

Survey Platform Dev for Consulting Firm

“What they produced is better on every dimension than any comparable product I’ve seen.”

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

Vault Innovation developed multiple products—including a meeting tracking app and a complex survey administration platform—to achieve both core and new business objectives.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
California
Founder, Consulting Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Taking a design-focused approach, Vault delivered sophisticated final products that met both complex requirements and aggressive deadlines. The survey platform helped the client successfully redirect its value proposition towards a new business focus.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of a small leadership consulting firm. We have three principles as well as a network of consultants that we deploy on projects.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault?

We work with Chief Human Resource Officers and CEOs on talent issues such as executive assessment, team effectiveness, succession planning and leadership development. Historically we've tailored our approach to individual clients. We originally needed to develop a tool to support this core, legacy business.

Over time, given how laborious that kind of custom work can be, we decided to move to providing scalable services for clients and other firms like ours. This required further tool development. In particular, we wanted to be able to administer surveys based on our proprietary IP.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The initial scope of work was to develop an iPad app that would allow us, while we were observing a team meeting, to code and track what's happening in the meeting. We wanted to analytically code and compile the interactions to share with the client at the end of the meeting.

Over the last year, they’ve been developing a new project—a bespoke platform for survey administration that is available via web and mobile, and that can be customized for new clients and teams. We needed a polished, simple user interface as well as data storage, analysis and report automation on the backend. There was a tremendous amount of conditional logic and analytical thinking that needed to go into how to deal with special cases. We also needed to scale to support multiple profiles and an infinite number of users.

We’ve been testing and using the platform for months with clients. We’re in the next phase now, continuing to add features and new capabilities.

What is the team dynamic?

Eddie Camacho is the day-to-day project manager. I’ve also worked with a developer and, to a lesser extent, with their CTO.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I heard about them from a respected colleague who is an organizational development consultant and CEO coach. He had developed an app with Vault and recommended them. After our first project together, when we decided to pivot our business to this more scalable, tools-based approach. We selected them to be our innovation partner for that based on the quality of that initial work.

How much have you invested with them?

 

We’ve spent about $70,000 so far with them, which is a lot for a small firm like us. About 80% of the spend has been on the platform development.

What is the status of this engagement?

The first project ran from around July 2015 to March 2016. We went back to them in January 2017 for the platform development, which is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We work with senior executives in high-profile companies. Minimum viable products were not an option for us. The products had to be polished and functional at the outset, which they achieved.

What they produced is better on every dimension than any comparable product I’ve seen. We have a competitor that contracted a software provider to build them a similar tool. They’ve had all sorts of problems, for example, with automating a specific part of the tool. They hadn’t achieved this after nine months whereas, with Vault, we had developed the very same capabilities in one week.

The clients really like it. Anecdotally, I was in an off-site client meeting at which I administered a survey to the team with the platform. The CEO hadn’t taken it yet when he arrived. When he asked his CTO if he could do it on his phone, the CTO responded yes, it works very well on mobile. I couldn't call the Vault team fast enough to tell them about that little bit of client feedback. Everybody was really happy to hear that.

How did Vault perform from a project management standpoint?

Much of our communication has been virtual and phone based. At key milestones when the work is particularly complex, we have alignment meetings to talk through the needs and approach so they can translate that into code. We had 3-4 of those meetings. We also recently set up a private Slack channel to communicate with them.

They have systems to track all of the details of the builds, and they input updates into our tracking software. They definitely exceeded my expectations in terms of how fast they were able to localize problems and fix them. They've been extremely responsive when there were bugs once we went live. Eddie stays on top of things. I don't feel like I have to micromanage or track their delivery. They deliver on time, on budget.

They are very accurate in their budget estimates. They employ a very simple pricing approach that makes things easy for me to estimate on my end as well. There haven’t been any surprises in terms of scope creep or ballooning budgets, which is really important to us as it can have a big impact on our operations.

What did you find most impressive about them?

One of the things I think is really distinctive about Vault is their emphasis on the design aspects. I think a lot of software shops are good at the coding, but they may not have a sense for the design aesthetic or the judgments about what will work with different kinds of users. For Vault, I think this comes largely from Jeffrey [CEO and Founder], who brings that sensibility and embeds it into everything they do. They focus on design while being reliable and solid on the coding. Working with Vault, I know I will get something that’s designed well and works.

They have been very reasonable in terms of their costs given the quality that I've receive. My co-founder worked in India for seven years and always pushes me to offshore work for lower rates. Vault is priced so competitively that I don’t feel a need to even think about that. They run a lean operation and I respect that.

I definitely intend to continue to partner with them. They’re nice people and I like working with them.

5.0
Overall Score To a non-tech person, the world of app and software development is a scary, ambiguous world. It's very hard to figure out who actually is good—and they are really good.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They've met some very aggressive deadlines, sequencing work accordingly. We were on an extremely tight timeline and they really moved heaven and earth to deliver.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They have very reasonable rates. As mentioned, we have an easy ability to offshore to India but, because of their cost structure, we don't feel a need to do that.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They have consistently exceeded my expectations of quality at every step of the way. They do a lot of testing on their end before we go live. They exhibit a high degree of professionalism and the software worked like we want it to work.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

CMS Dev & Design for Media Group

"Their resources are at the top of their game."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
July 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Vault Innovation built an e-commerce web environment based on incomplete UX wireframes. They provided a turnkey CMS and troubleshot PayPal purchasing. They currently host the site and add new features.

The Reviewer
 
10,001+ Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Andrew Ladd
VP Consumer Marketing, The Chicago Tribune Media Group
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The beautiful UX is garnering positive feedback, and the intuitive, flexible CMS makes tweaks easy. Vault’s entrepreneurial savvy differentiates them from other design firms and enables them to deliver on business goals. They’re diligent, fast, and responsive and proactively incorporate suggestions.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re a media company that owns newspapers and associated websites across nine markets throughout the U.S., including Chicago and Los Angeles. My team is a consumer marketing group.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

We were looking to build a web environment from scratch that would host a lot of content and e-commerce elements. It was a departure from the work that we've traditionally done in-house. We needed someone to help us build a CMS that was a little closer to a turnkey model and could help facilitate the backend.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

For the frontend, we had a set of UX wireframes that were built but not fully functional. Vault took those conceptual drawings and went to work. They added elements that were missing from the wireframes to fill out the site.

The scope of their work didn't involve as much frontend as might be expected for a full site build, since we had some of the work completed already. They took our work in progress and turned it into a functional web environment over the span of about two-and-a-half to three weeks.

They built out the entire CMS to support what we needed from start to finish. They made sure we were integrating different systems and software well. They troubleshot and managed our implementation of PayPal fulfillment so our cash register worked on the site and could accept transactions. They also worked to ensure that we had a very visual site without hindering the load speed.

What is the team dynamic?

We worked primarily through Eddie, our project manager. We also had great conversations with Jeff [Founder/CEO, Vault Innovations] about onboarding the project and making sure we had the right team in place. I don't know the total team size.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I’ve known their principal for several years now; we met through networking in the industry. I was talking with him about what they were doing both from a business and entrepreneurship point of view. I felt like they were a good match for our project, in part because they understood not only the web design component, but also the business rationale.

They offered a bit more than straight UX, design, or coding. In our project scope conversation, they weren’t just looking at a spec sheet, but really trying to think through proactive approaches to getting our desired business outcomes.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent about $25,000–30,000 with them.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in July 2017. They're hosting the site for us now and doing incremental work as we add features. We've had them scope an RFP for a couple other products as well.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’ve gotten good feedback via email. I think that everyone we're talking to is really impressed with the functionality. I’ve been working with some developers on the organization in order to migrate the site to our servers. Even they told us it’s a beautiful site.

As far as the backend, Vault understood what we needed and built it in. It wasn't enough for us to have a site that looked really good. It needed to be very intuitive, and they delivered. The CMS is simple and well-crafted, with some variability that allows us to make tweaks as we go.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

Project management was really sharp. I would hire the project manager for my own team in a second. We did a lot of Google Hangouts for face time, even though we were virtual and could communicate via phone and email.

They’re easy to get a hold of, quick to respond, open to our ideas, and diligent with the lists of outputs our meetings generated. They did a lot of follow-up in terms of next steps, even for mere conversations. They’d always incorporate a couple of bullet points into whatever deliverable they were pursuing.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They are great at thinking through their role within the broader context of our business goals, rather than just designing what we have on paper. They ask whether their design will truly lead to successful business outcomes, and then proactively translate them into the final product. That helps us work through things and prioritize.

For example, in our initial scoping of the project, we had expected that a lot of the content would be hard-coded. But they were right to move us toward the CMS because we had so much variable content.

Another reason they stand out is that they aren't solely a design company. They often act as partners in an equity capacity or look for ways that they themselves can drive entrepreneurial ventures.

Lastly, the turnaround on the frontend was pretty impressive, given the scope of content we were working through. They saved us a lot of time and headaches by delivering what they’d promised.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I don't have much to say as far as ways to improve, based on our relationship. We're really happy with what they provided, and I think they have a really strong framework for their business. Their resources are at the top of their game.

5.0
Overall Score It’s been a great experience with a really good company. They’re one of the better development organizations we've worked with.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They're consistently on or ahead of deadline. They are clear on timing, hours, and scope of work issues. They get a lot of work done in a very short time.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The confidence that they’ll deliver what we need without us paying a premium price is a huge benefit. I’ve definitely paid much more for work that fell short of theirs.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They were extremely conscientious about delivering the highest quality work based on our needs. They often went beyond what we asked.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would absolutely recommend them.

Web App Dev for Waste & Recycling Disposal Company

"They did a great job understanding my business from the beginning."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Nov. 2016 - Jan. 2017
Project summary: 

In order to replace a manual system and reduce admin times, Vault developed a web app that handles facilitated vendor bid solicitation and customer communication.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Mark Lestina
President, Wastemaster, Corp.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

After implementation, the platform greatly improved the efficiency of the company's bidding process and reduced admin times by half. Vault communicated regularly about the project's status, immediately attended to any issues, and delivered an exceptionally valuable resource. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the President and Owner of Wastemaster, an independent 3rd party waste and recycling broker. We operate our business in a manner similar to an insurance broker or mortgage broker.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

Vault helped us automate our waste hauler bidding process by developing a web application that allows us to quickly solicit bids from our vendor network and respond back to our potential customers quickly.  Prior to Vault’s web app, we handled all of this manually and now their product has significantly reduced our admin time.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

I contacted Vault and met with their owner on a few occasions to go over our business model, and after a few meetings, we determined that this automated database application would make sense for internal use. However, we also determined that although this application is for internal use in the near term, we built it with the future in mind. Specifically, we want to make this application “customer-facing” at some point and Vault was able to make sure the app is able to do this.

What is the team dynamic?

I worked with two people, Jeff [CEO, Vault Innovation] at the beginning and then Andy [Project Manager, Vault Innovation] during the build-out.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

They did a great job understanding my business from the beginning. Jeff, in particular, asked me a bunch of questions to get an idea of how I want to scale my business and how their product would help me accomplish this goal. It was Jeff’s desire to understand my struggles and my goals that made me choose Vault.

How much have you invested with them?

Between $10,000 and $50,000. 

What is the status of this engagement?

It began in November 2016 and was completed in January 2017. We use the web app on a daily basis now.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The results have been very positive. I would guess that the time of our bidding process was cut in half as a result.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

I think they were very communicative, and we had scheduled “catch-up” meetings where the Vault project manager would provide updates and allow me to start using the app to work out any bugs. In addition, we have found a few issues since going “live,” and the Vault team quickly looked into the problems and corrected them in a very short time.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Ideally, I would have liked to know exactly how much I needed to budget, but I understand that as we got started, I asked for a few changes and it was probably impossible for Vault to be able to provide an exact estimate.

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

Web Dev for Children's Activities Marketplace

"The team was really strong, the tech came out great, the budget was on point."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. 2015 - Oct. 2016
Project summary: 

Using PHP, Vault Innovation built a website that lists children's activities. The site included a complex search filter, location services, calendar integration, and direct payment processing.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Marylynne Schwartz
CEO, ClassCrasher
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The site's user-friendly layout and creative design earned it widely positive reactions from users. Vault Innovation did their research, communicated frequently about progress, and showed their investment in the project's success. They excelled at translating visions into technical solutions.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the founder of ClassCrasher, an online children’s activities marketplace.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

I needed a developer to build a website for my company.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The ClassCrasher website was built to be like a marketplace where businesses that cater to children’s activities are listed in a way where parents could search through and find the best class that fits their family’s needs.

Jeff [CEO, Vault Innovation] and the team took care of everything from the ground-up. Initially, I had put together a PowerPoint of the way I wanted it to look and the way in which things interact with one another. I don’t have any technical skills to speak of, so he designed the wireframes and hired the graphic designers to do the design as well as the logo. The website was built on PHP.

The website listed all the classes in the database with a filter, so that parents could sort through by using a keyword search for activities based on age, time of day, day of the week, and proximity to their location. Once they clicked on an option, more information would be displayed about that particular class, and they then had the option to register and pay directly via our site. There was also a calendar integration where the information could be added into a user’s personal calendar upon registration.

What is the team dynamic?

I interacted with Jeff as well as the two project managers. However, there were a number of people they worked with to complete the project that I didn’t necessarily interact with.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I found Vault through an internet search. I had interviewed approximately 10 different developers, and felt that Vault, and Jeff in particular, had a really good feel for what my vision was. He has kids of his own and he understood the space. He was very honest with me and was a good advisor in general, and not just on the technical specifications of what needed to be built and how, but also on why we should build certain components and not build others.

I didn’t pick Vault because they were the cheapest, it was more that Jeff understood my vision more than other developers. He was very willing to let me know where I should spend money, and pushed back on a lot of the business decisions, which was a very healthy debate. I really appreciated that. I feel the price was a good value for what they could build, and the cost came in much lower than a lot of the other bids that we had.

How much have you invested in them?

I spent around $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in October 2015, and the project was complete in October 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I was really happy with the way the site turned out. I think our users were really happy. Vault built out a really robust partner portal that was very user-friendly, so the businesses could add their own activity in there. I had unanimously positive interactions from our partners.

Ultimately, I ended up selling the business to a different company in the United States and they have since rebranded it, but the site is still in use. I think they were very happy with the way the site worked. Their developers have taken over the maintenance of the site, but they felt that everything was well-documented and well-designed.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

I think they did a great job. Jeff was very involved at all stages. We met in person once a week, and we would exchange emails throughout the week as well. We had two other project managers that were under Jeff, and both of them were great and very responsive. They did a good job of understanding what my vision was and bringing that into the tech.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I feel as though Jeff was really invested in the business, and wanted it to succeed. He went out of his way to introduce me to other entrepreneurs, and was willing to give his advice on all that he had seen throughout the project, not necessarily just on the tech aspect. Jeff and the team were a great partner to have, and they had a lot of insight for me. This was my first business, and I was just getting started; he did a great job of being a good advisor.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I was very happy with my experience with Vault, and I don’t have any complaints. The team was really strong, the tech came out great, the budget was on point, and things were on time. All in all, it was a very positive experience

5.0
Overall Score Vault did a great job on the site, and they did a good job in helping me figure out the direction the business should head in.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

iOS Dev for Lead Generation App

“There is no functionality that we wanted that Vault was not able to do.”

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

Vault Innovation built an iOS app for lead generation software. They mainly assisted in feature ideation, project scoping, and back-end development.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
CEO, Lead Generation App
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Users appreciate the app's intuitive, usable design. Vault Innovation earned praise for their flexible management, impressive technical skills, and personalized approach to each project. They became a valuable business partner by finding innovative solutions and making money-saving suggestions.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the CEO of an on-demand lead generation software company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

We were looking to build out the mobile app of our software.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Vault Innovation was with us every step of the way from planning, helping to be soft partners in the development, as well as actually doing the development work itself. The app is more of a tool and was built for iOS. I had a vision of what I wanted, and there were aspects that required someone to think through the whole process of how it would work within an application. We are always enhancing and creating new details.

What is the team dynamic?

There were around three members of their team assigned specifically to our project.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I was referred to Vault Innovation by a friend of mine who had worked with them previously. I considered a few proposals from other firms, but Vault approached it from a partner perspective. This manifested itself in so many ways as the project progressed. Jeff, the CEO, has been very flexible in working with us and the Vault team members became members of our team. Other developers I have met gave the impression that they didn’t really care about the project once it was sold, and this is definitely not the case with Vault.

How much have you invested in them?

We have invested around $150,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in August 2015, and the work is still ongoing. I would like to stay with them as long as I can.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The business users of our app love it. They love the simplicity and design. Vault really executed my vision. The app works smoothly and seamlessly, and users have only had positive feedback. It does exactly what we designed it to do, which is the best compliment I could give. Vault has never been completely stumped or unable to figure out an alternative work-around.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

The project management has gotten a lot better. Initially, it was a little rough, but that project manager isn’t working for them anymore. We try to meet weekly with the CEO directly because we have built a good relationship, and we speak with the team as well. Jeff is amazing in terms of making sure the right things get done and focusing on the right problems. This has been something I really appreciate about them. There was a level of personal ownership in projects that they took on right from the beginning.

They are a U.S. based company, and there are huge advantages to that in terms of saving time and energy. When working with Vault, you are working with a company that understands the consumer level, perhaps better than foreign companies can.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The most impressive thing is that their goal isn’t to become a 500-person dev shop or just to scale for the sake of scaling and gaining more business. They are very selective of what they want to take on, and they turn down clients that don’t fit their criteria.

There is no functionality that we wanted that Vault was not able to do. Their team was able to handle everything I threw at them and more. As we went through our iterations, they are there with us along the way. They were part of the team, and it didn’t feel as though they were vendors that were looking to just make money. They gave us options that would save us money and get the same results we wanted to achieve. They are advocates of not spending money on tech before you need to. They think like entrepreneurs versus someone who is just trying to grow to be a bigger and bigger business.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I could have improved by scoping the project and driving higher expectations for the initial project managers. This could have gone out of scope, even more, had they not helped tear things back. With anyone building a business or an app for the first time, it is so important to scope it properly. Any business should really understand their consumers and test things out before building. We all want to jump into the tech build to see our vision in action, but in hindsight, there are a lot more things to be done before building out tech.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    It started off a little slow due to project management, but now it is really good.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    This project could have been way more expensive had we gone with another firm.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They are definitely there for you. If we had an urgent need, they would take care of things immediately.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

PHP Platform Development for Gaming Site

“Vault works to optimize the technical aspects so we can put together the best product.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Vault Innovation developed a web platform that allowed users to stream video games and participate in competitions. The project involved work in PHP, Python, JavaScript2, and CSS.

The Reviewer
 
Chicago, Illinois
Founder, GamerzArena
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Users showed enthusiasm for the site's polished layout and distinctive features, especially its streaming function. Vault Innovation made a great impression with their fluid management and strong communication skills. Their approach combined business strategy and technical innovation. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the founder and CEO of GamerzArena. We are a daily video game competition platform.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

I am a non-technical founder. I'd envisioned a project, and needed developmental resources to help bring it to life.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Vault Innovation developed the product from the ground up. I came up with the idea and scope, but we worked together daily on every step as we went through what may or may not work. We used PHP, Python, as well as JavaScript2, and there’s also some Bootstrap framework, along with CSS. The primary is PHP, and it’s web-based. We are now partners.

We went through a discovery phase that lasted 5 weeks after we kicked off our project in June. We discussed what we were going to do, and how we were going to make it work, then decided to incorporate streaming aspects into the app.

Vault allows me to not worry about the technical aspects at all. I’m able to relay my ideas in simpler terms, while working with product managers who then take this information to the developers. Vault works to optimize the technical aspects so we can put together the best product.

What is the team dynamic?

There are usually six team members. They’re able to bring people in if a project calls for additional or specific resources. 

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I was introduced to Vault through a friend. I went through an extensive, 5-6 month vetting process with 8 different development shops in the Chicagoland area, and Vault was one of them.

Vault shared the vision that I had for my business. They’d done something similar in the past, and had a passion for the space we were looking to work in. I needed a team who could work with me to make my vision a reality, and could also figure out the best path to success for our product.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in June 2016, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our users love the interface and its ease of use, which is tremendous for us. Our platform is unique, and we’re doing something nobody else is doing right now, which gives our user base a sense of excitement.

There’s a streaming app that allows users to simultaneously play video games while competing on our site. The steps beyond initial use are minimal, and the setup is also simple. The core of our business centers around wanting to create the most positive and inviting experience for our users. We’ve accomplished this, and we continue to improve upon it constantly. We also continue to improve upon the physical appearance of the site due to great feedback from our users.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

They do a great job. There is a product manager specifically assigned to my company, and I also regularly communicate with Jeff [CEO, Vault Innovation]. Terry [CTO, Vault Innovation] is also available to me. We communicate through Slack.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Vault is looking to help build businesses that will succeed rather than simply finishing a product and moving on. They are there to communicate through a business perspective as well as a technical one.

We didn’t engage as partners at first because we had a contract, but then there was excitement on both sides. We were extremely pleased with their work, so a partnership made sense to us.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They’ve addressed some of the concerns I had before. When I first started engaging with them, their website was not clear concerning their focus on building businesses outside of tech. Their website made them appear to be purely mobile-based, which isn’t the case. They do work with mobile development, but they are very involved with web as well. After I talked to Jeff, they updated their website to reflect their services more accurately.

5.0
Overall Score It’s been a pleasure.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I haven’t had any issues with scheduling. We’ve been very transparent in terms of what we look at, so we can properly adjust our schedules and expectations to what they’re working on.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I’m not sure I can give a fair rating in terms of the overall scope, because my engagement has changed since we entered into a partnership. I would give them a 5 because of where we stand today. The cost is very appropriate.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The communication is always there. The team is friendly, and I never feel like I’m bothering anyone.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    They do great work.