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CASHLET: building an financial Android app for investing and managing savings for an African market

How the full-remote mobile app team delivered a financial app in Nairobi and connected it with Kenyan mobile payment system

Summary:

  • Client

    Cashlet

    Country

    Kenya

  • Project scope and technology

    Mobile App Design, Android App Development, React Native Development, Java Development

    Industry

    Fintech

  • Team Composition

    3 Mobile App Developers, 1 Mobile App Designer, 1 Project Manager

    Work duration

    5 months

Sycamore Capital Corp is a financial company from Nairobi, Kenya. Their main activities include investment banking services, debt and equity capital raising as well as physical commodity trading intermediation. Their goal is to disrupt the local financial market by providing intuitive and accessible mobile app financial solutions for Kenyan citizens.

Challenge:

Client came to us with the plans for a user-friendly mobile application that could help to manage, invest, and grow your spare cash or savings in order to achieve your financial goals.

They already had some backend code along with the designs for the app. We have evaluated all the elements and decided that most of the code needs to be rewritten, since the majority of it was of poor quality.

We also had to make sure that app works seamlessly with Kenyan mobile payment provider, M-Pesa.

Process:

Since all initial designs were delivered by the client, we were able to perform a fast team onboarding (it took just a week!) and started the development immediately.

The first main task was re-writing the existing backend. For the framework side, we have chosen. React Native. We focused on getting the Android version ready first, since it’s dominant on African market. Thanks to choosing this framework, it will be easy to develop the iOS version as well.

We have also used Java - it was the initial language of the backend and we could use some of the good-quality code.

Over the course of the work we decided that some of the designs needed improvements as well. We brought in external designers to the issues and make the user experience more pleasant and to make the whole app more appealing for the users.

Quite challenging was working with mPesa, a payment Provider from Kenya. In order to confirm every transaction within the app you need to get SMS on Kenyan numbers. We used Teamviewer to get remote access to the phone with Kenyan SIM card.

As for the workflow, we used the Agile approach. Client was as engaged in the process as possible, constantly providing feedback on our deliverables which significantly speeded up the development process.

The biggest challenge was working with African payments provider M-pesa because we did not have a phone with an African SIM card to confirm transactions. We had to use a remote control to overcome this challenge.

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Maciej Radziwon

RoR & React Developer at Ideamotive

Outcome:

Over the course of our work we significantly improved the quality of the code. We simplified the CPU-heavy tasks and made the in-app processes easier. Although we did not introduce new features but our designers took on working on redesigning existing ones, e.g. making onboarding more seamless for the user and improving the main dashboard of the app.

As a result of our work, app users got a paperless method to invest their money, with an easy way to see how their investment is performing, and the ability to get their money back fast.

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