Rapidly rebuilding a telehealth platform.
Every startup needs to get to a high-quality product as fast as possible. Gray Bike helped us move more quickly and skip steps that we would have to otherwise take, which saved us a bunch of time.— Taylor Sittler, Co-Founder and CEO of The Cusp
Gray Bike inherited a lot of spaghetti code and very quickly turned it into well-documented, production-ready environments and made it easy for our new engineers to onboard. They also helped us make sound architecture decisions. I thought our contract would last three or four months, but we kept them on because the work was so fast and good.— Jen Yu, Co-Founder of The Cusp
How We Helped
The Cusp is a venture-backed startup driven to make expert menopause care accessible for all women through telemedicine. When the company was very early stage and hadn't yet built their engineering team, they sought help to build a mobile app to help their customers, with features such as a symptom tracker, messaging and billing.
Having initially outsourced development to an offshore agency with frustrating results, The Cusp looked for a technical partner to help them rapidly identify what could be salvaged and help them create an MVP.
Gray Bike was one of several options they spoke with and The Cusp Co-Founder Jen Yu says unlike others, we didn't pitch switching technology stacks or months-long rounds of strategy.
"It felt like we were getting pitched Ferraris for a job that a normal car could do," says Jen. "Gray Bike was more open-minded and said 'let's just take a look under the hood and see what you have going on.' I really appreciated how painless and easy it was. They were super responsive as well. We're a startup. Time is very precious and every minute counts."
We were excited to collaborate with The Cusp to help them move quickly, while ensuring what we designed and built together worked well, was stable and had a solid foundation to support further ongoing development.
Getting off the ground fast
We helped architect and build most of The Cusp's front end app and significant portions of the back end while guiding them through critical technical decisions. Within the very first month, we:
- Reviewed the existing code and provided actionable next steps.
- Helped them choose the best technologies as a foundation for their app as well as the best framework to enable quick deploys and rapid testing on mobile.
- Rebuilt their mobile app using best practices and maintainable, testable code.
- Built out a progressive web app as a precursor to the eventual native application.
- Helped implement engineering best practices and processes to set a solid foundation for future development.
"Gray Bike took all the existing work and turned it into something usable and production-ready," says Jen. "They helped us make sound architecture decisions and left a lot of beautiful documentation so it would be easy to understand for anyone else who would pick up the work afterwards."
We continued to provide support for several months as The Cusp brought on new engineering team members. We provided strategy and helped them build out a high-quality product, drawing on our deep engineering expertise and strong understanding of Product, Design and UX.
"Within the first couple of months we had a much more robust framework,” says The Cusp CEO and Co-Founder Taylor Sittler. "We were having far fewer bugs and fewer issues than before."
We brought in industry-standard technologies to provide great website and app performance. We trained engineering team members in technologies and engineering processes they were less experienced in, providing code review and guidance.
"Gray Bike helped us bootstrap out the code base with continuous integration and continuous deployment, encouraging a solid foundation around automation testing — things that many small teams normally neglect due to restricted timelines," says The Cusp's Head of Engineering Nam Le. "They helped us ease into these practices with encouragement and great examples, reducing our ramp up time."
We helped the company tackle complex systems pragmatically, such as setting up billing through Stripe without too much over-engineering and making their site easier to maintain by bringing it from a hand-coded setup to a simpler, modernized one in Gatsby.
Our clear communication to set expectations and minimize surprises saved headaches, says Jen. "There were some times when we were a bit delayed or something happened — those things are unavoidable. Gray Bike let me know well in advance if there was going to be a delay or another problem. They were really good with recovery if something did go wrong."
Successful app launch and accelerated development
We increased The Cusp's speed to market with stable releases of their app that included complex features and interactions. Within just four months, The Cusp went from a pile of spaghetti code to a successful launch of their Alpha product, and later similar success with their Alpha 2.0 and Beta products.
Throughout the process, we advised them on product and technical strategy to ensure their product would perform well and be easier to maintain over the long term. With great engineering processes and a solid foundation of code in place, The Cusp’s team continues to add features with more confidence and speed.
"Time is money, especially for an early stage startup," says Jen. "So having good structures, good foundations, that's worth a lot to us because it means we can build faster."
Taylor says that he'd recommend working with Gray Bike to other startups looking to smartly and quickly create a solid digital product.
"The name of the game for every startup is to get to a high-quality product as fast as you can," says Taylor. "We've gone from a product that was virtually nonexistent to having an application that we can build on. Gray Bike helped us move more quickly and skip steps that we would have to otherwise take, which saved us a bunch of time. With the speed at which they are able to execute and the insight they bring to the table, they are worth the investment."