Startup noun \ˈstärt-ˌəp\ — human institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty Eric Ries, The Lean Startup
About

Cooleaf in collaboration with Monterail

While Cooleaf had been our client since 2011, it was in 2013 that we sat down together in order to rethink the fundamentals of Cooleaf as a startup business.

The result: A brand new product designed for an entirely new market.


It was not easy to scrap what we had initially been building over a period of two years, but sometimes radical steps are necessary to take a business up to the next level, and to go confidently forward into a brave new world.

So in 2013 we began working from the premise that we had to switch from thinking solely about the UI, to thinking more about the purpose and features of the entire product. This we aimed to do by defining a completely novel idea with our new application, while aiming to deliver an unprecedented user experience. The required consideration, analysis and collaboration were absolutely necessary in order for us to truly justify our client’s trust in us.

Although this process was not straightforward, we are happy to report that ultimately we delivered a great product for Cooleaf. From the valuable experience we gained, we are confident we can do just as well for others.

Cooleaf on a laptop
The challenge

What Monterail
does for startups like Cooleaf

We develop your existing web application

Using Ruby on Rails and AngularJS.

We analyze your business

By understanding your needs, we are able to build outstanding value applications that fit.

We design beautiful, innovative new user interface systems

with excellent results for your business


John Duisberg, Cooleaf’s co-founder

the words of Cooleaf founders, Prem Bhatia and John Duisberg

The default state of a startup is failure, and each startup is furiously working to avoid that state, until it finds product-market-fit.

the words of Cooleaf founders, Prem Bhatia and John Duisberg

The process

Designingthe MVP

With the above principle in mind, Monterail aimed to design a new product to appeal directly to Cooleaf’s market. To do this, we began an intensive design collaboration that lasted for half a year. On an almost daily basis, we held design workshops with Cooleaf.

Some interesting statistics taken from this phase of the application building process with Cooleaf are that despite the six hour time difference between us, and the 7 847 kms between Atlanta (USA) and Wrocław (Poland), we nevertheless found enough common ground to spend 120 Skype hours together doing design collaboration workshops.

The above experience makes it clear that online design collaboration really is possible, and is effective using virtual conferencing on Skype. What is more, the results of our combined efforts with Cooleaf were that Monterail was able to create a state of the art product.

Cooleaf MVP interface

Cooleaf from 2014 to the present

Cooleaf is a social networking platform for the creation of workplace communities, and for communicatively engaging with the people who come together around the activities they love, whether it be an employee-led running club or an employer-organized educational event.

Cooleaf interface on an iPad

In other words, Cooleaf provides a platform for the staff of a large firm or community of companies, to find people in the community with common interests, and to accommodate the goals of these like-minded people.

6hours time difference
between us
120hours spent on Skype
workshops
7,847km from Atlanta to Wrocław
Cooleaf interface on an iPad
The result

Aggressively defining a product readiness deadline

The MVP was set up in a truly lean fashion. From the very beginning of our Skype-call design planning sessions, we knew we had two options. Either we could take our time and first develop all the features we had planned for the application before releasing the product for testing, or we could push for a much earlier release date and use a minimal MVP to test the market. The fact that startups do not have the luxury of being able to stay idle for a long time made the choice obvious for Cooleaf.

We soon agreed that our starting point would be a minimal MVP with a fully polished design, but consisting of only a set of interactive prototypes. Willing to take some risk, we decided that our MVP would include very little in the way of the actual functionality we had planned. This step soon began to pay off as we found that the main positive spin-off of this approach was it gave Cooleaf a competitive advantage. As a result, the Cooleaf sales team could immediately begin looking for a market fit.

At this point, our project was on the brink of taking off. Within just two months, we had built not only the MVP, but also a Minimum Buyable Product. In addition, the Cooleaf team in Atlanta was working relentlessly on sales, having signed the first customer using the prototypes and quality design we had prepared for them.

Once we had our first buyer, we knew that our final product delivery deadline would be on January 15th, the day the first Cooleaf buyer had contracted to begin using our product. In addition, after the first buyer signed up, a frenzy of commits followed. All of this crucial activity happened before the final product was even half-finished.

63days of
development
1,049commits on GitHub
5people contributing
to the repo
3,525commits since January 15,
2014. And counting.

At this point, our project was on the brink of taking off. Within just two months, we had built not only the MVP, but also a Minimum Buyable Product. In addition, the Cooleaf team in Atlanta was working relentlessly on sales, having signed the first customer using the prototypes and quality design we had prepared for them.

Once we had our first buyer, we knew that our final product delivery deadline would be on January 15th, the day the first Cooleaf buyer had contracted to begin using our product. In addition, after the first buyer signed up, a frenzy of commits followed. All of this crucial activity happened before the final product was even half-finished.

63days of
development
1,049commits on GitHub
5people contributing
to the repo
3,525commits since January 15,
2014. And counting.
Try new things

MEET 
the 
team

Radek Markiewicz
Radek MarkiewiczRuby on Rails & Javascript developer
Krystian Polański
Krystian PolańskiUser Interface & User Experience designer

Marcin Janas
Marcin JanasUser Interface & User Experience designer
Hubert Białęcki
Hubert BiałęckiFront-end developer

Gilbert Komin
Gilbert KominRuby on Rails & Javascript developer
Tobiasz Waszak
Tobiasz WaszakRuby on Rails & Javascript developer
Marcin Wernecki
Marcin WerneckiQuality Assurance
Katarzyna Tatomir
Katarzyna TatomirProject Manager

Katarzyna Tatomir
Katarzyna TatomirProject Manager

They also took part in the Cooleaf project

The also took part in the Cooleaf project

  • Błażej Chwoła
  • Bartek Erbert
  • Dariusz Gertych
  • Paweł Hawrylak
  • Marzena Kawa
  • Kamil Nicieja
  • Kamila Straus
  • Damian Trojnar
  • Dominik Porada
  • Łukasz Potępa
  • Michał Simka
  • Krzysztof Jung
  • Krzysztof Trzewiczek
  • Darya Stepanyan
  • Mateusz Karbowiak
  • Krystian Kiełczewski
  • Patrycja Margasińska
  • Tanya Dmytrenko
The future

Are you a startup
like Cooleaf?

Your idea should not wait
—let’s set everything in motion.
Hire us