CityFALCON

CityFALCON (www.cityfalcon.com) is a 21st-century financial news aggregator which provides a comprehensive, relevant, personalized 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.

Ruzbeh Bacha Founder and CEO, CityFALCON, UK
Sloboda Studio is a consulting company that has helped CityFALCON.com to scale up the business very rapidly with its Ruby on Rails development services. Their programmers not only implemented new features with quality code but also managed our servers and database to provide the best possible experience to our users. Transparency, honesty, and leadership are also virtues of this team. We started off with one developer, but after only 4 months we have hired 7 developers from Sloboda.

client’s goals

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.

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

our solutions

Initial conditions

It started with a small team of engineers and a designer. 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.

We did our best to learn basic characteristics of financial assets. Working on that 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.

The project process

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 a positive atmosphere, ensures rapid skills development and keeps our developers strongly motivated while creating extra value for the customer.

We’ve learned how to work efficiently in different time zones with the distributed team of non-tech staff from India, Israel, Australia, Serbia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Latvia and Vietnam

Mobile app

Up to 10 watchlists with up to 100 financial assets. Your watchlists are synchronized between the app and web-version

14000+ financial assets – stocks, commodities, forex, indices to choose from, and the number is growing each day. Customize the news feed as you like.

Top stories from the last day, latest streaming news, exclude/include tweets

30+ languages

Scalability and architecture

As we started the project with already built MVP, we knew we would face scaling issues. As soon as first users appeared, the 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).

We placed the data in the Cassandra cluster and formed the Elastic Search index for quick data output for the Enterprise API and for free of charge users. That allowed to achieve response requests for articles on more than 10 million records within ~ 100 milliseconds.

We used libraries from other languages (Python Node, js) if there were no ready solutions for Ruby, for example, NLU as separate services.

For the better spread of information, we implemented CityFALCON Skill for voice devices: Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Google Home.

For fast scaling, we used the Docker Swarm cluster. For system monitoring – ELK stack.

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 that test successfully with our product processing 100 articles per 1 second.

project stages

1. Initial stage

Analysis of customer’s business model

Architecture planning

2. Improved MVP

Design improvement

Building a scalable architecture

New Processing

Connecting GNIP API

Basic Scoring algorithm

3. Private Beta

Enterprise API

Scoring algorithm improvement

UX analysis

4. Public Beta

Scalable infrastructure

Voice devices

Optimization of response time

Scoring algorithm 2.0

Increasing the number of data sources and topics’ coverage

TECHNOLOGIES

Server-side
Grape
MySQL
PostgreSQL
Rails
Ruby
Client-side
Angular
React
ZURB Foundation
Tools (hosting, monitoring etc.)
Azure
Cloud66
Hubspot
Jira
Slack
Integrations
Benzinga
Edison
Facebook
Financial Times
Google Plus
LinkedIn
Seeking Alpha
StockTwits
Twitter

Timeline

October 2016 Now

Team

4 Developers | 1 QA | 3 Designers | 4 Financial Analytics
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.

We developed game-changing CityFALCON Score Algorithm to identify relevant & personalized financial content from all the fake, low quality, low relevancy content. The algorithm to leverage AI and crowd-curation. With over 3 years of CityFALCON existence, a lot of great things has 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. The project raised a considerable amount of money to change the UI heavily, making it more user-friendly and fresh.

Runner-up at Twitter’s Global Start-Up Competition 2015.

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.

In 2017 we launched on Amazon Echo, Google Home, Cortana and Siri. With this updates, the team took part in VivaTechnology exhibition in Paris among startups represented by Bank BNP Paribas. A few months later CityFALCON’s team became a participant at Kickstart Accelerator in Zurich.

Now several contracts with international banks are being discussed to allow CityFALCON API usage

Contact the team, start like a rocket!