Investor Portal MVP
At Lighter there’s always an increasing need of capital from their borrowers. While their suite of financial products fit the need of many companies, the need for investor capital continues to grow.
Getting the attention of investors is a challenge for any startup. Getting to due-diligence is even harder after initial handshakes. Lighter Capital wants to fill the gap and become the liaison between these two parties allowing companies and investors to get to due diligence faster.
Design a product that will allow companies and investors to connect with one another to share financial data eliminating the need for traditional fundraising methods.
Understanding The Problem
I worked with the CEO and Product Manager in the initial kickoff of the creation of “Project Como”. They wanted to build a solution for connecting investors and companies, a problem that has remained, despite the increasing need of capital for technology companies.
During my initial meeting, the CEO and Product Manager wanted to immediately jump into wireframes. I used this opportunity to talk through the goals of both parties and then re-routed the conversation to the creation of a Lean Canvas to better understand the users and the problem they wanted to solve.
The next day we regrouped. I used this opportunity to run through different exercises in order for all parties to agree upon what we were building, and the users we were building them for.
I focused on establishing shared understanding to recognize who would benefit from the creation of the platform. The Lean Canvas exercise helped uncover and understand what the stakeholders wanted to build.
How Might We?
In an effort to continue to answer questions about the user and create more shared understanding, I used the exercise of ‘How Might We?’ To introduce ambiguous questions that the creation of the software platform might address.
Both the CEO and Product Manger had extensive knowledge of the needs of both investors and companies seeking capital. Using the template, “As a ___, I want to ___, so that ___.” helped establish user intention for the platform. Defining user stories allowed us to transition to user goals and increase clarity for what the company set out to build.
The financial data that Lighter collects is extensive, and the problem that they wanted to solve initially surrounded only investors, but as we continued the discovery process, it was increasingly clear that the solution had to become a two-sided marketplace.
With the Lean Canvas, User Stories, and Goals established, we transitioned to defining an initial userflow for how both parties would work through the system. We kept the initial flow lean, focusing on only answering those initial user goals.
After defining the initial user flow, the team defined user goals for each individual page. This helped the team define purpose for each page and allowed us to validate if what we were building held true to the user stories and user goals defined earlier.
Inflow & Outflow
With the user flow and page goals defined, we documented the inflow and outflow of each feature on every page. It was important that each feature established did not lead to a dead-end, and that the purpose of each feature helped accomplish a user goal.
After establishing the userflow, I transitioned into the wireframing stage. Using Whimsical to quickly design initial wireframes allowed stakeholders to collaboratively provide updates.
When working with stakeholders, it’s tempting to say, “yes!” to any suggested additional features. Keeping stakeholders focused on timing and user goals allowed us to keep the MVP focused.
Once wireframes and features were agreed upon, the transition to high-fidelity designs were underway, starting with the most visually important screens.
Art direction for the interface was influenced by a brand refresh established earlier in the year.
Working with stakeholders to transition an idea to designed product is a long road. Staying focused on the user, their goals, challenging assumptions, and the discovery process can help a team get to a shared understanding and a tightened product sooner.
Ultimately, the success of the product is up to the users and whether it meets their needs. Getting an MVP out the door will help the team gather additional data and validate whether our initial assumptions were correct, and where to move next.
© Seth Kasky