NewsUp

Web · API

The Problem

NewsUp, a media startup that makes news games, needed to build out their product quickly. “We were looking to build a high quality product in a fairly quick time frame,” said Andrew Schuster, NewsUp CEO and co-founder.

NewsUp realized they didn’t have time to build the product in-house, and that they needed a group of developers, not just an individual. NewsUp began interviewing development teams.

Why SmartLogic

“We realized very quickly that SmartLogic was the right one for the job,” said Schuster. SmartLogic was “the only team that we met with that didn’t try to sell us. They just started working with us.”

From the beginning, SmartLogic took the time to understand the problems NewsUp was trying to solve, and the model they’d mapped out for the product.

“Most teams were telling us what we were going to do instead of showing us,” said Schuster. “SmartLogic showed us off the bat.” SmartLogic and NewsUp started by breaking down the big picture problems NewsUp was trying to solve into specific, granular issues. With this process, meaningful work on the project could begin faster.

Agile Development Process

From the beginning, SmartLogic approached NewsUp’s product with a methodical, process-driven approach. SmartLogic’s agile development process, said Schuster, doesn’t come off as process for process’ sake, but rather serves so that SmartLogic and NewsUp could “truly have more efficient, more productive collaboration.”

SmartLogic’s daily updates and weekly iteration meetings were a highlight of the process for NewsUp. “Being able to work together with them to break down the project on a daily and weekly basis and then to be able to discuss the workflow as it went was an amazing experience,” said Schuster. These processes are “something that we now practice religiously internally.”

Making Big Decisions

Together, NewsUp and SmartLogic “did a lot of analysis on why we were making decisions we were making,” said Schuster. “We started looking at use cases and tried to put ourselves in the end-user’s shoes” for both technical and product-direction decisions.

SmartLogic helped NewsUp take into account “things we hadn’t thought about that SmartLogic was keenly aware of, like server load speeds, browser types, and different devices,” said Schuster. SmartLogic “thinks about those things at a very deep level.”

NewsUp team members, Schuster said, were “the idea guys.” SmartLogic would react to the ideas by urging NewsUp to “think about why” for every idea for platforms or technology. “We’d continually go through a due diligence process to make sure it’s the right decision,” said Schuster. “It’s not something that’s done at most agencies.”

Working with SmartLogic helped to “empower us as a customer,” said Schuster, because they gave NewsUp not only technical options, but the logic behind why a decision might be right or wrong.

Technology

In the end, SmartLogic and NewsUp ended up using responsive web design to build a web trivia product that works on every device. The team also decided to use React.js, a framework that Facebook developed, because it would make the code more elegant and efficient to write and maintain.

The Results

So far, NewsUp has seen “incredible results,” according to Schuster. Since NewsUp began working with SmartLogic, they’ve closed a seed round of funding and seen significant user growth. Additionally, NewsUp’s growing team is “able to attract better talent because the product is so high quality,” said Schuster.

“The investment we made working with SmartLogic even in the short term has paid off,” said Schuster. “Working with SmartLogic as a partner has been a significant factor in our growth thus far.”

NewsUp has also adopted SmartLogic’s development process internally. “SmartLogic has been very impactful not just in the quality of the product but in the process,” said Schuster, who called this process “the biggest value SmartLogic brings onto the table.”

Building the NewsUp application, from initial talks to public launch, took only about three months. As NewsUp continues to grow, SmartLogic is working with new team members to support the product as needed. “They’re a critical part of our team,” said Schuster. “It’s been a fantastic experience working with them.”