Discovery & Architecture


Good research is the most effective way to implement your vision

The critical first stage is research. We research the industry, competitors, unit economy and technological limitations. The result is a plan to execute on the most elegant solution possible to make make your idea into a reality.


Planning exactly how your application will work

Like building an amazing building, a good marketplace build starts with good wireframing. Wireframes are the architectural and functional layout of what your site will be—like the blueprints of a building. They’re like a skeleton for your marketplace. Yes! every page of the site, every button, every notification email, it all needs to be wireframed and planned in advance.

Website wireframes are 90% thinking/planning and 10% drawing.

Build Plan

Determining resources and timeline

Having done the research which allowed us to strategize exactly what needs to be built and how, now we have the information we need to allocate resource to accomplish the goal. Because our wireframes are so granular and thorough, we are able to commit to a Fixed Cost and development timeline.

How We Do It

Understanding your high-level vision & idea

We start by listening to your overall idea and then move to understand all the details. We do multiple meetings both internally and with you. Your feedback is critical to the process. Additionally, we learn about your expertise, your market research, and make sure that we understand how you see the marketplace functioning. We will ask you questions you most likely never thought about. If you are going for funding, you'll see at the end of the process that you are "fluent" in your concept. They will be able to throw any question at you and you will be able to easily answer it.

For example, for the legal cannabis marketplace, we asked which banks he researched that could process cannabis payments, how packages will be delivered and how those delivery people will be paid. How returns are handled and how geo-fencing needed to be used. For the pre-owned car marketplace, we had to learn about the "Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency" (our equivalent to the DMV).

Every marketplace has very specific and unique needs. We make sure we know them well up front.

Research the industry

We research the industry and try to gain as much knowledge as possible. Typically we check competitors sites, make sample orders or bookings, research similar apps, governments regulations, store's policies

For example, when we was working on sporting good marketplace for manufacturers shipping directly from China we had to research China's specific payout method - AliPay and specific shipping providers only available in China.

We created merchant accounts with other similar marketplaces and made few sample orders to study workflow of best players in the industry

Research technological challenges

We research databases & APIs that are specific to your idea and market to determine what data & services we can use and how.

For example, to build the preowned car marketplace in UK, we researched several APIs to understand what data was available to use and if we would be able to price cars algorithmically. We investigated on the what would be the best method to create panoramic pictures so buyers would be more confident in their purchase.

Challenge every assumption

Key to coming up with the most elegant solution possible is challenging every assumption. We search out the weak points in the concept so that we can find solutions. We delve deeper into the unit economy, business, and technological risks to see how we might be able to lower development cost. It is all about being as efficient, targeted, and impactful as possible.

For example, a client came to us to build a marketplace for donations on mobile devices. Sounds like a straight-forward simple idea. But because we challenge that assumption that is it that simple, we discovered in our research that Apple has a specific policy around such apps and they require a specific architecture for them. Had we not done the deep dive, we would had "assumed" that it was like any other iOS app and the app would have gotten denied. We would have then had to rebuild the core functionality of the app adding not only more time before launch but also significantly more expense.



Pick your battles

We work with you to decide that are the key, core functionalities the system must have a launch and what can be phased in later. We do this for a couple of reasons. First, we can imagine all sorts of scenarios where this or that extra functionality would be “great to have” but it’s not until you are getting real user feedback that you can be sure if they will even use it.

Second, budget. Typically, when building a marketplace, you are using precious early dollars. An extra $50K 5 years from now will hopefully be a rounding error for you but today it is a big deal. We respect that.

A better approach is to go deep and more narrow and be sure that what we build is kick-ass good. Get real user feedback and then invest in building out beyond that based on real data. That’s best use of your resources.

So to make sure we hit the mark, we dive in and develop detailed workflows for each functionality. We use real data examples and simulate complex scenarios with hundreds of thousands of users.

High expectations

If you think about it, it makes sense that everyone has become a much more particular user. People are not willing to forgive you for having a half-baked mediocre experience. And if you have any doubt that is true, take a look at how many apps you have downloaded to your phone you never use. Why? They didn’t “suck” or you would have deleted them. They were simply… meh. You cannot afford to have your users consider you “meh” or they are gone forever.

So to make sure we hit the mark, we dive in and develop detailed workflows for each functionality. We use real data examples and simulate complex scenarios with hundreds of thousands of users.

We figure out what the best user experience using these functionalities will be. We optimize the experience for various devices and a produce skeletal framework (blueprint) in the form of web-based clickthrough wireframe. This wireframe depicts each page’s layout and the entire arrangement of the entire marketplace’s content including interface elements and navigational systems. And it demonstrates how all of this will work together.

The result is a 100-200 page click-though mapping out the entire user and administrator experience. You get a precise engineering plan & the blueprints for the building the product. Because it is so granular, we are able to then commit to a fixed price to build the marketplace.

Planning the buildout

We breakout the resulting wireframe into bi-weekly deliverables so you can see when each functionality will be developed and can provide your feedback early in the process. We calculate how many hours will be needed for each deliverable so that we can efficiently allocate the needed resources to deliver on the deadline.

Only now, after we understand every tiny detail about your project, are we able to provide you with final fixed cost and guaranteed development time.

Based on this final fixed cost and lead time, we create a payment schedule that allows you to have predictable spending and plan your budget ahead.

By challenging assumptions throughout the process, we ensure the most elegant solution possible.

  • By working intensely with you, we become intimately aware of what has to be built so that the actual programming is targeted and efficient.
  • Because our process is so granular, we now know exactly what we will be building and therefore we can guarantee the budget.