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The product decisions behind Crowdsurfer Pro

August 26, 2016 • By



Crowdsurfer Pro is a great step forward in terms of product development. Not only does it look and feel very different from the open beta dashboard we released in February, it also introduces three modules: Raise, Invest and Track. This post explores the product decisions behind the creation of those modules.

Earlier this week we launched Crowdsurfer Pro , the latest version of our online intelligence platform for crowd finance.

Crowdsurfer Pro is a great step forward in terms of product development. Not only does it look and feel very different from the open beta dashboard we released in February, it also introduces three modules: Raise, Invest and Track. This post explores the product decisions behind the creation of those modules.

The first version of our dashboard gave external users the opportunity to view and explore our mapping of the crowd finance industry for the first time. By opening this up, our aim was to learn how we could make this intelligence more ACTIONABLE for our users.

To date, we have brought together over $30billion of crowd finance transactions across 900 platforms and built a big data engineering infrastructure to make this easy to navigate.

Following the initial launch, we received feedback from hundreds of users and quickly found that the simplest way to segment this was based on their reason for using Crowdsurfer. This being:

• to research a fundraise

• to find opportunities for investment

• to track the market’s activity.

Having segmented the user feedback, we realised that our dashboard needed to be structured around similar lines.

Up to this point, the focus in our product development had been to build the functionality that our mix of users wanted. However, in not segregating our functionality, we were providing information that was only relevant to a subset of the users at any given time.

Without meaning to, we were both masking the value of the intelligence we are able to provide and making our users have to hunt around for the answers they wanted.

This led to our first decision, to create dedicated modules for each user group under the headings RAISE, INVEST and TRACK.

Building Crowdsurfer Pro (AKA Gandalf)




Making the decision to segment was the easy part. To ensure we actually offered our users what they needed, our team brainstormed the best way to structure the new modules.

After much thought, debate and coffee locked in a meeting room we decided to shape our modules around the most common questions asked by each segment:

Group

What questions are they trying to answer?

Raise

• Does crowd finance fund businesses like mine?
• What is the likelihood of my raise being successful?
• How much can I expect to raise and what should my target be?
• What type of crowd finance should I be considering (lending, equity, rewards or donation)?
• Which platforms are most active in supporting fundraises like mine?
• What can I learn from the campaigns that have been most/least successful?


Invest

• What investment opportunities are there for me?
• What are the typical terms of these investments?
• What are/have other investors decided to back?
• How risky are these investments?
• Which platforms host deals which best meet my investment criteria?
• How much exposure do I have to a platform?


Track

• How big is the crowd finance market?
• At what speed is it growing?
• Who is turning to crowd finance?
• What size investments have the crowd been making?
• Which platforms are the most active?


Armed with this structure, we set about designing and building the modules. The modules needed to give users answers to their questions easily and would not show information that was largely irrelevant.

We kept the UI design in-house and adopted Google’s material design framework. Matt, our Head of Data Visualisation, explains more about this here.

The final touches

When reviewing our early feedback and UX tests, we realised that first-time users required help creating filters and to start building the intelligence they needed. As part of the development of Crowdsurfer Pro we decided to introduce a filter wizard, which helps new registrants get started. This wizard functionality is also where the internal codename ‘Gandalf’ originated.

The result

Gandalf was launched in August and the feedback so far has been very positive. In particular, it has been great to hear about all this new functionality that we have built. As it happens, some of the functionality was largely untouched through the development of Crowdsurfer Pro; we just made it easier to find!

This is what you can now expect from the Crowdsurfer Pro modules:

Looking to raise funds? Crowdsurfer Raise

With Crowdsurfer raise, you can now start researching on how to fundraise successfully based on historical data by:

• Filtering millions of campaigns from hundreds of platforms

• Learning from both successful and failed fundraise attempts

• Exploring all the different funding options offered by crowd finance (Equity, Debt, Rewards, Donations)


Interested in investing? Crowdsurfer Invest

With Crowdsurfer Invest, you can discover the investment opportunities available through crowd finance:

• Search millions of different types of investment on offer

• Explore differing financial returns

• Analyse how crowd finance is opening up new opportunities for philanthropy




Looking to track crowd finance activity? Crowdsurfer Track

With Crowdsurfer Track, you can monitor the impact of the disruptive crowd finance industry:

• Examine the industry’s growth in its entirety (Debt, Equity, Rewards, Charity)

• Understand the key industry players and the disruption they are causing

• Find out who is being funded and identify new trends based upon what the crowd is making happen

You can register here to start using Crowdsurfer Pro for free today. For more information, please contact me at valeria@crowdsurfer.com and help us shape future iterations.

Valeria Cortez