From Idea to Launch: The Journey of Building Strabo

Oct 13, 2023

🏁 How it all started?

The year was 2020, and the pandemic still loomed large over the world. Despite the anxiety and uncertainty, I persevered at my consultancy firm, where I dedicated myself to delivering learning programs that would inspire corporate employees to be more human-centered. As if that weren't enough to keep me busy, I also focused on honing my investment skills and managing my personal finances. My interest in the field had been kindled long before, and I had spent years investing in funds and Turkish stocks. But with the pandemic came a veritable explosion in the markets, especially with the sudden surge in popularity of crypto currencies. In the midst of a sweltering summer, I, like so many other young professionals, sought to take advantage of the thriving markets. And in doing so, I discovered an abundance of low-hanging fruits and opportunities in the investment ecosystem. To my delight, I also observed the emergence of promising financial technology startups originating from Turkey. It was then that I decided that I would seize the moment and create my own fintech startup, come what may. In October of that same year, I mustered up the courage to leave my job, work as a freelancer, and dedicate myself wholeheartedly to bringing my vision to life.

🤗 Making a product user-centered

Rather than diving straight into ideas, my approach was to begin by understanding the experiences of those who use investment services. I approached this task as if it were a client project, starting with a broad design challenge and conducting research. To gather data, I conducted in-depth interviews with both friends who were already interested in investment, as well as those who were not. We discussed topics such as how they began investing, what motivated them to continue, where they obtained news and tracked their portfolios, and how they made investment decisions. During this process, I invited a former colleague named Mert Bağcılar to become my partner, and he agreed to join me on this journey. Together, we synthesized our research and defined four personas, each with their own unique needs and expectations. At the end, we defined opportunity areas for a good financial service.

🧪 Testing early ideas and concepts

We quickly began ideating on potential opportunity areas and generated a variety of product ideas, features, and concepts. We then collected the most feasible features and designed our first prototype. After defining our hypothesis, we tested our ideas with the people we interviewed and received feedback on our prototype. Ultimately, we determined which features of our product would provide the most value to our users. With this information, we rolled up our sleeves and began designing the early stage of Strabo.

👨‍👨‍👧‍👧 Teaming up with a developer partner

Mert and I dedicated ourselves to designing every aspect of Strabo. We went beyond creating a brand and color palette and designed a comprehensive user experience architecture and design system for the product. However, as we progressed, we became increasingly concerned about how we would bring our vision to life without any development experience. While we were working on all the features during the summer of 2021, we were actively searching for a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) to join our team. After an extensive search, we were fortunate enough to meet the Sufle team, consisting of Barış Balta, Burak Balta, Durul Doktoroğlu, and Gizem Gür. They shared our excitement about Strabo and agreed to become our development partners.

🛠️ Building the MVP

After we teamed up with Sufle, our team grew to 7 members, each taking on a specific role in the development of Strabo. We now had a product strategist, UX designer, front-end developer, and back-end developer on board. To ensure a more systematic approach to project management, we decided to implement weekly sprints and track our progress using Jira. Over the course of a year, we worked tirelessly to create the first MVP of Strabo, taking into consideration feedback from our user testing and iterating on the product accordingly. Finally, we were ready to launch our public beta, allowing users to try out Strabo for the first time and giving us further insights to improve our product.