We help founders realize their full potential

We’re a venture studio designed for companies wanting to build high-impact software. We’ve successfully helped launch 50+ tech companies. We explore markets where deep subject matter expertise is required to produce the purpose-driven products and software we build. We’ve been honing our approach to tackle such challenges since 2012. Our services include 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
Mobile App Development for NextMe Image

Mobile App Development for 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. Vault Innovation developed a clean and seamless app resulting in 35% more customers served for
Website Development for Kuma's Corner Image

Website Development for Kuma's Corner

Kuma's is the place to go for heavy metal and giant burgers! Already legendary in Chicago, they were looking to expand across the country. Vault Innovation updated their website to fortify their brand and user engagement.

GamerzArena Image

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. Vault Innovation aided in web development to accomodate the rapidly growing ESports industry and lead the charge around monetization and compliance.

Get20 Image

Get20

TF Living  Image

TF Living

TFLiving is a full-service wellness amenity company providing services to a variety of residential and corporate locations across the United States.

https://tfliving.com/

 

Leaf Trade Image

Leaf Trade

Leaf Trade is the industry wholesale ordering platform between licensed cannabis vendors and dispensaries.

www.leaftrade.com 

Reviews

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Web Development for Subpoena Service

"Amongst the users we’ve demoed the project to, the reaction is nearly universally positive."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
2017 - 2019
Project summary: 

Vault Innovations built a client portal to submit and track subpoena requests. They designed this portal accounting for the different actors' needs and built a mockup of a sales portal.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Owner, Subpoena Service
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Going above and beyond, Vault Innovations put in the time to understand the unique business and the legal needs. The reaction to the portal has been nearly universally positive, and the subpoena service has found several new clients because of the new portal.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the owner of a subpoena service. We issue subpoenas for records in these industries: medical, bank, school, police, and others. We also issue subpoenas on behalf of lawyers.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

We initially hired them to perform some development of our website and interactive client portal. In the end, we partnered with them further to continue building the portal.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We needed a client portal that allows lawyers to provide us information on what subpoenas they need issued. Then, it would allow the lawyers to track the status of their subpoenas.

Vault Innovation built this portal from scratch. They had to learn how every step of the subpoena process worked, so it could be properly and legally tracked through the portal. The design of the portal had to take into account the different actors, vendors, and the issues that can arise with the various groups involved in the process.

They built the frontend for the clients and the backend for the administrators, and they made both interact properly. They also built us a mock-up of a sales portal, which was actually the first thing they did for us.

What is the team composition?

There were 3–5 working with us.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

They’re in the same building as us, and I believe we first connected through mutual connections in our building.

How much have you invested with them?

We probably invested somewhere between $10,000–$49,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working in either late 2017 or early 2018 and the project was mostly finished by the fall of 2019, although our relationship is ongoing as they continue to make updates for our site.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Amongst the users we’ve demoed the project to, the reaction is nearly universally positive. We’ve had several clients looking to use our service more because of their work.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint

We communicated via email, video conferences, in-person meetings with their design teams, and web meetings with screen sharing. Other members of my team might have met with them more frequently and in other ways.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The amount of time they spent to understand our business before they even started to design anything impressed us. If you just jump in and start trying to design a client portal without understanding the business and the legal side of things, you’re going to have an inferior product. They spent a lot of time with us getting into the weeds and they fully understood the project by the time they began designing.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I have nothing.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Spend the time upfront so they understand your business. I believe people don’t spend enough time explaining their business model. Explain your business model, and you'll get the product you're looking for.

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

Development and Design for Medical Education Application

"One of the most impressive things about their team is how collaborative they are."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Nov. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Vault Innovation developed a mobile application for iOS and Android using React Native. They integrated third-party tools including Mixpanel and Google Analytics. Along the way, they assisted with design.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Madhu Kolavennu
CEO & President, EndoscopyNow
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Although there were some issues with project management, the team at Vault Innovation is collaborative and highly-skilled. They’re quick to resolve issues and work to develop a deep understanding of their client’s needs. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the president and CEO of Endoscopy Now. We focus on medical education for professionals in the gastroenterology space. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

We had worked with two previous developers but needed a higher-end, professional app than what they had delivered. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They developed iOS and Android applications using React Native. They assisted us with the design portion. We took about two or three months collaborating to flush out what the app looks like today. Their team also integrated several third-party tools including Opentalk, Mixpanel and Google Analytics.

What is the team composition?

We’ve had two main points of contact: the president and the lead developer. However, there have been an additional three or four people that we’ve interacted with over the course of the projects including a few different project managers. 

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I believe we heard about them through a referral from a friend. We had interviewed three other vendors as well, but we didn’t click with them in the way that we did with the team at Vault Innovation. They understood our company, our budget constraints, and what we were trying to accomplish. 

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve invested around $200,000 with them for this project. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working with them in late 2017 and are still working with them for support and additional updates. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

At the beginning of this year, we had about 800 users. Now, we’re at around 32,000 subscribers. We also brought in about $300,000 in revenue. While this can’t be exclusively attributed to Vault Innovation’s work, they’ve certainly had an impact. 

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

We’ve had some ups and downs with project management, but we are in a good place right now. There have been several project managers that we’ve worked with. Our company is typically more fluid with our management while Vault Innovation likes more structure. 

Overall, we’ve had a strong line of communication with them through weekly phone calls and emails. We also use Slack and Jira. It’s been beneficial for us to move towards having weekly sprints on Fridays and applying a more agile approach. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

One of the most impressive things about their team is how collaborative they are. They listen and can turn things around quickly if there’s a problem. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

The only issue we’ve had is a bit of misalignment with communication about priorities and project timelines. It’s an evolving process and we’re constantly working to improve. 

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

It’s been very helpful for us to come in with clear requirements and walking through it all ahead of starting the project. It’s important to implement structure as much as possible. 

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

App & Web Dev for Amenities Management Company

“Vault Innovation hit the majority of their deadlines and were great at communicating with us.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2019 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Vault Innovation built an app for Android and iOS for a tech-enabled amenities company to optimize their team. They handled back- and frontend work and helped with an internal website redesign.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Founder, Lifestyle Services Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Vault Innovation has so far met the majority of its deadlines and is great at communicating. Their team is engaging and flexible, and their customer service is extremely well-handled.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the founder and CEO of a tech-enabled amenities company that provides services to the real estate industry.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

When we initially engaged with Vault Innovation, we sought to create a turnkey technology solution to optimize our team on the street. This team included dog walkers, personal trainers, and others across the United States, and the solution became an app build with Vault Innovation.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

While I don’t know which specific languages they used, they worked on the back- and frontend design work and oversaw the initial architecture of the build. They built the app for Android and iOS. They also helped a little with a redesign of our internal website.

What is the team composition?

There were four members of their team.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

A venture capital (VC) we were pitching to referred us to them as they were working in that VC’s incubator lab. The communication and transparency shown by Jeff (Founder & CEO, Vault Innovation) sold us.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started work with them in June 2019, and the work is ongoing. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

There’s no user feedback yet, but their team is very engaging and flexible.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

There’s always going to be some sort of technical debt in a project like this. But Vault Innovation hit the majority of their deadlines and is great at communicating with us. We mainly communicated over Slack and met 3–4 times in person.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their customer service is extremely well handled. Their communication style and response time earned my applause and is the reason I would recommend them to another company.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, not at this time.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Be very communicative, and be open with your expectations. 

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

Web Development for Farm Technology Company

"We were most impressed with Vault's ability to quickly understand our needs..."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. 2018 - Jan. 2020
Project summary: 

Vault Innovation custom-designed and developed the frontend of an e-commerce website, providing graphic design services as well.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Evansville, Indiana
CTO and Co-Founder, Farming Technology
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new site has attracted investors, partners, and customers. It has also allowed stakeholders to raise funding for the business. Vault Innovation has an effective project management style, complemented by their deadline-orientation. 

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

We produce an appliance for growing food indoors and provide open-sourced outdoor modular farm technology as well. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Vault Innovation ?

Front end website development for our site.

What were your goals for this project?

Develop a user friendly ecommerce website to sell products and subscribe to our consumable subscription service. The website also included a responsive web application to allow our customers to easily update their subscription and monitor their products.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

Networking through Purdue University startup community. They had very competitive pricing and a good portfolio of successful projects.

Describe the project and the services they provided in detail.

They designed and developed the front end of our custom website. The website contained a home page, product page, checkout pages, about us page, support page, and a user dashboard interface. Vault also provided graphic design services to make logos and icons for the website.

What was the team composition?

The Vault team included a project manager, website developer, graphic designer who worked with our CTO and lead software developer.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any information that demonstrates the impact that this project has had on your business?

We are a startup company using the website to attract investors, corporate partners, and customers. Working with Vault has allowed us to acquire new customers raise additional funds to sustain the company.

How was project management arranged and how effective was it?

Project management was great. We never had any issues with communication and all tasks during the project were completed in a timely manner.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

We were most impressed with Vault's ability to quickly understand our needs and provide a design that clearly correlated with our mission.

Are there any areas for improvement?

There is little room for improvement. More detail on the hourly billing invoice would have been helpful. Overall I was satisfied with the project.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Scheduling was never an issue.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Fair competitive pricing.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Some bugs needed to be resolved but this was expected.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    It was a great experience and would recommend their services.

Web Development for Audit Platform

“They turned my wireframes into a functional application that fit my budget.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Vault Innovation developed a web application for an audit management company. Working from wireframes, they made suggestions for changes and delivered a Laravel-based MVP.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Founder, Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Vault Innovation was invested in the company’s success, and they acted as a true partner. They were communicative and responsive, and they were always available to answer questions.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Our company builds audit management applications. I'm the founder.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

We're a new company, and we hired Vault to build our application.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The product is a web app. I went to them with wireframes and specifications for what I wanted to build. They reviewed my specifications, set the scale of the project, and developed an MVP. They took out some of the unnecessary features I wanted and created something I could finish and sell on my budget.

There are workflows and automations on the app that change to fit the users' needs. There is also a file storage feature. The app is built on a Laravel PHP framework.

What is the team composition?

I communicated with their CEO, a project manager, and a team of coders.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I found them through my attorney. I spoke with a handful of developers, but Vault was the only team that challenged my ideas and made suggestions for improvements. They acted as a partner, which is exactly what I wanted.

How much have you invested with them?

I spent around $50,000 on this project.

What is the status of this engagement?

The project started in October 2018. The MVP is complete, but we still use them for minor enhancements.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We just moved to production and only recently launched. We don't have any metrics to speak of yet, but we hope to have more results within a few months. They turned my wireframes into a functional application that fit my budget. They were involved and interested in getting my business off the ground, and they continue to provide advice.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

They're very responsive. Most of our communication is through email, but we had weekly meetings to go over where they were in the process and to answer any questions. Whenever I email them, I usually hear back from them within a couple of hours.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They're invested in my success and act as a real partner. As a first-time entrepreneur, their support has been extremely helpful.

Are there any areas they could improve?

In the beginning, the time frames ran a little longer than we expected. It didn't impact anything on my end, but they could be more accurate with their estimated timelines.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

They're great partners, but they don't do the end to end testing. Make sure you have a team member to work on QA before the app goes to production.

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

Proof of Concept for Tech Startup

"They’re much savvier on the social side, but I wouldn’t trust them with my technology project again."

Quality: 
1.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
0.5
Willing to refer: 
0.5
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Aug. 2017 - Nov. 2017
Project summary: 

Vault Innovation was hired to develop a prototype of a product that would serve as a proof of concept for a technology startup. This review includes the vendor’s response.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York, New York
Entrepreneur, Tech Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The engagement with Vault Innovation ended prematurely due to a lack of discernible progress. They supplied no meaningful code and did not exhibit the skills necessary to manage the project. The team is personable but ultimately not suited to working with entrepreneurs.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

At the time of the engagement, I was an entrepreneur with a tech startup.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vault Innovation?

I had an idea for a product, and I engaged Vault Innovation to build a prototype to serve as a proof of concept. I wanted to test a product with some small potential clients to test its viability in the market.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Their responsibility was relatively straightforward. I expected Vault Innovation to build a bare-bones prototype that I could use for client tests.

What is the team composition?

I communicated with Jeffrey (Founder/CEO, Vault Innovation) up until the point that I engaged his team.

How did you come to work with Vault Innovation?

I learned of Vault Innovation through a referral. I had 3–5 meetings with Jeffrey over two months before we came to an agreement.

How much have you invested with them?

Once we agreed to work together, I paid $5,000 upfront. In total, I spent about $10,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

The engagement spanned August–November 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

How did your relationship with Vault Innovation evolve?

I stopped the project about a third of the way through because I didn’t believe it was on the right track. Up until that point, they had only assigned some product designers to work with the prototyping tool Axure.

About a year ago, I had become a software developer, and I engaged them to say that I wanted to take on the project and build out the rest on my own. I discovered that they had only used prototyping code generated by the tool. They had made no effort to produce code that was worthy of a testing or production environment.

Ultimately, I decided to engage what I thought would be the target clients, but I never had an actual prototype for them to test. The experience with Vault Innovation ended up being a waste of money.

How did Vault Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

Their team as a whole lacked the core competencies to serve as a technical lead or project manager.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The team at Vault Innovation is likable outside of a professional role. They’re much savvier on the social side, but I wouldn’t trust them with my technology project again.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Vault Innovation should re-examine what their value proposition is because it’s not working with entrepreneurs. They might be able to deliver for more mature companies, but I don’t think they are suited for anyone looking to bootstrap a project or a business.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

If future clients have a more robust budget, they might be better off by hiring a full-time employee.

2.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 0.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 1.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 0.5 NPS
    Willing to refer

Company response

The vendor responded on May 14, 2019. The reply is written by Jeffrey (Founder & CEO, Vault Innovation).

Our process starts with a design and discovery phase to help validate business concepts, assist with sales and fundraising, and flush out project details.  For this particular instance, it was determined that a high-fidelity design and clickable prototype would be required.  The designs and prototype were completed within the estimated timeline and budget. We provided all assets and the client was happy with the results.

Nearly three months later, the client said the code was missing. But we had not started development, so there was no code yet; this was outlined and agreed upon in a contract.  After the client expressed frustration, we mentioned there is some code that can be exported out of the prototyping tool if that was helpful. But we did not recommend building a custom application with that foundation.  The client wanted the code exported from the prototype and agreed to try and build the application themselves.

We pride ourselves in working with early-stage startups and know that things are not always straightforward.  We offered guidance and assistance (at no cost) from our engineering team to assist with him building the MVP even after he stopped the official engagement with us.  However, we never heard back from the client except for this review nearly two years later.

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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.