Work CASE STUDY CityFALCON

CASE STUDY CityFALCON

Crowd curation
Data Analysis
Fintech
News analytics
NLP (natural language processing)
Twitter API

CityFALCON (cityfalcon.com) is a 21st century financial news aggregator which provides comprehensive, relevant, personalised and real-time news feed for fundamental investors, powered by crowd-curation, social media and machine learning.

CityFALCON Score rates financial tweets, news and authors, using Natural Language Processing and E-learning. If there are 200K stories for oil, CityFALCON Score can give you the top 30 relevant stories, while its proprietary technology creates a different newsfeed for every person based on their profile, their interaction, and their preferences. Currently, CityFALCON collects and rates financial information from more than 100 leading financial sources, including Twitter.

CityFALCON is there to make investing and trading decisions easier, and its team is happy to support those who are still looking for their way in the financial world. CityFALCON’s customers are investors and traders, both professional and amateurs. The fintech start-up also provides services for corporate clients, who want to include CityFALCON’s API to their trading platforms.

Testimonials

Ruzbeh Bacha

Founder and CEO, CityFALCON, UK

Sloboda Studio has helped CityFALCON.com scale up the business very rapidly. They not only implemented new features with the quality code but also managed our servers and database to provide Sloboda Studio has helped CityFALCON.com scale up the business very rapidly. They not only implemented new features with the quality code but also managed our servers and database to provide

Our goal

Our first goal was to launch a new, improved  MVP with a focus on clean and simple UX that would better demonstrate huge potential of this Social Media Aggregator. It was all started with a small team of engineers and a designer. We worked with Ruzbeh to outline our strategy and then got to work. Our server-side part was implemented using Ruby on Rails. This choice was made by Ruzbeh and the first version of CItyFALCON was actually coded by him!

Challenges and solutions

When we started the project, the MVP was already there. Implementing a project with a preliminary MVP has both disadvantages and advantages. On one hand, many developers prefer building MVP from scratch to avoid working with a code written by somebody else. Such MVP might have legacy code and bad architecture that would create problems for scaling up. On the other hand, with MVP in place, it’s simpler for developers to understand ideas and user stories, especially when dealing with a complex fintech product, like CityFALCON.

Any project at Sloboda Studio usually starts with our meticulous analysis of customer’s business model. CityFALCON, a financial news aggregator, creates a new market. It aims to democratize the financial news industry and “Bring Bloomberg to the consumer”, giving  all investors and traders an equal access to financial information. As any innovative product, it poses many challenges, requires flexibility and super efficient solutions. That is why, first of all, we had to master all the intricacies of FinTech field within the shortest possible time to better understand the nature of the project, avoid unnecessary amendments in the future, and build an efficient architecture from the very beginning.

We did our best to  learn basic characteristics about financial assets. Working on this project, we had to think not only as developers, but, to some extent, as financial experts (or financial analysts). For us, it was crucial to get ourselves adapted to the business processes of the client, providing full-scale support to CityFALCON, concentrating not only on ongoing tasks, but on the entire product.

We use Agile practices (standups, retrospective, backlogs, etc.) to ensure timely and efficient implementation of all project’s features. Moreover, our client has direct access to all the developers in the team, and can assign them tasks himself. This partnership approach helps us earn the customer’s trust, maintains positive atmosphere, ensures rapid skills development, and keeps our developers strongly motivated while creating extra value for the customer.

We also work with the distributed team of non-tech staff from India, Israel, Australia and Vietnam, who help Ruzbeh with content management and marketing.

As we started the project with the already built MVP, we knew we would face scaling issues. As soon as first users appeared, number of records in the DB increased a hundredfold, and many shortcomings of the old front-end became obvious, combined with back-end rendering and a lot of asynchronous JS. To eliminate the scaling problems, we added several servers to the DB, reducing the burden on the main server. We also reduced the time for requests processing and the number of requests, added caching of the most frequently used data, and used a load balancer for the web-servers. We took measures to filter spam bots and block useless crawlers. Another solution that helped us avoid scaling issues was splitting the application into separate components (Enterprise API, web, processing engine).

Our solutions were put to the test during Brexit, when the number of DB records rapidly grew by 6 million within several days. We passed this test successfully with our product processing 100 articles per 1 second. Thinking mobile, we also helped to develop CityFalcon mobile app. It offers:

  • Up to 10 watchlists with up to 25 financial assets. Your watchlists are synchronised between the app and web-version
  • 2000+ financial assets – stocks, commodities, forex, indices to choose from, and the number is growing each day. Customise the news feed as you like – e.g.
  • top stories from the last day, latest streaming news, exclude/include tweets.
  • 30+ languages

Scope of services


Quality assurance services (automated and manual testing)


Dedicated team of 16 experts in the Ukrainian office


Marketing content management


Technical consulting

Technologies

Server-side

Grape
MySQL
PostgreSQL
Rails
Ruby

Tools (hosting, monitoring etc.)

Azure
Cloud66
Hubspot
Jira
Slack

Client-side

Angular
React
ZURB Foundation

Integrations

Facebook
Google Plus
LinkedIn
Twitter

Project Results

The expertise, flexibility and extra value service provided by Sloboda helped our client delegate all the development issues to our team and concentrate on the product promotion.

With over 2 years of CityFALCON existence, a lot of great things happened to the product. CityFALCON received a free one-day both worth of $10K for May 2015 at the Collision conference in Vegas, won Twitter Hatch 2015 competition as 1-st runner-up, won a huge amount of credits to host the app at Google Cloud ($100k), and then at Microsoft Azure ($500k). The project raised a considerable amount of money to change the UI heavily, making it more user-friendly and fresh.

In October 2016, less than a month after launching its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, CityFALCON successfully secured its initial £150,000 funding target from nearly 120 investors. CityFALCON has become a finalist in the category “Digital Business of the Year” of Amazon Growing Business Awards 2016.

Learn more about the project