CityFALCON

CityFALCON: raised over 2,5 Million dollars

 

Information

  • Region: UK
  • Product: financial news aggregator
  • The scope of our work: backend/frontend/design
  • Solutions: ML, Natural Language Processing and E-learning
  • Web site: https://www.cityfalcon.com/

 

Achievements in numbers

  • $2 500 000 raised
  • More than 1 Billion stories in more than 30 languages
  • Up to 1 million articles daily
  • Twitter Hatch 2015 competition 1-st runner-up winner.
  • Amazon Growing Business Awards 2016 finalist (“Digital Business of the Year” category).

 

DESCRIPTION

CityFALCON is a 21st-century financial news aggregator that 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 by using Natural Language Processing and E-learning. For instance, customers get 30 relevant stories out of a selection of 200. CityFALCON’s proprietary technology creates a different news feed for every person based on their profile, their online interaction, and their preferences.

CityFALCON’s customers are investors and traders, both professional and amateurs. They also provide services for corporate clients, who want to integrate CityFALCON’s API into their own 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

The Client met Sloboda Studio at the very early stages of the project, and we’re happy to say we’re still working on CityFALCON’s development and growth. The story started when Ruzbeh Bacha, а former Skype employee, decided to create a financial news website. Then our future client studied Ruby and developed the CityFALCON’s MVP himself. But in time he decided that the project requires more scalability and started looking for new developers. So then we did find each other.

Our client wanted to launch a new and improved MVP with a focus on clean and simple UX to demonstrate the huge potential of his Social Media Aggregator.

It aimed to democratize the financial news industry and “Bring Bloomberg to the consumer”, giving all investors and traders equal access to financial information. As an innovative product, it posed many challenges that required flexibility and super efficient solutions.

our solutions

Main challenges

After Ruzbeh Bacha met the Sloboda Studio, he recognized and appreciated our expertise. At his request, we recruited a marketing and design team from Ukraine to work with CityFALCON. Step by step, the team grew to 15 members working with code, design, marketing, and administrative tasks.

By creating a news aggregator website, we communicated a lot to make the working process more effective:

  • Adaptability to different business models. We had to adapt to the new business models, as far as the client changed them several times.
  • Working as an international team. At the same time, we did work in different time zones with a distributed and international team of non-tech staff from Israel and Australia, and tech specialists in India, Serbia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, and Vietnam.
  • Real-time big text data processing. We had to process a large amount of information in real-time and without any system breaks. One of the overload examples was Brexit news publications. As a financial aggregator, CityFALCON did track all the news on this topic, though working at the peak of its capacity. To handle any overload, our developers maintained CityFALCON’s functionality in real-time. The earliest version had problems with processing of a large amount of data, but now CityFALCON can process up to 2.5 million articles a day.
  • Market requirements awareness. Not only did we serve as developers, but we also had to dig deeper into the client’s industry to create a product that conforms to the market requirements. We concentrated not only on ongoing tasks but on the entire project.
  • New technologies and scalability. It was a challenge to make CityFALCON possible to process loads of information and still work on Ruby. Using Apache Cassandra database websites can use our information and share CityFALCON’s articles.
The project process
  • Agile practices. We used standups, retrospective, backlogs, etc. to ensure timely and efficient implementation of all of the project’s features.
  • Creative goals. Our team did not only perform the required tasks but sometimes they set their own creative goals. For instance, one of our front-end developers performed some design tasks which were highly appreciated by our client.
  • Communication. Our client communicated with our team and assigned the tasks. This partnership approach has helped us to earn customer trust and kept our team strongly motivated while creating extra value for the customer.
  • Scheduling. To make the process structured and simple, we used the Kanban scheduling system as well as Continuous Integration.
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. Improved MVP

Design improvement

Building a scalable architecture

New Processing

Connecting GNIP API

Basic Scoring algorithm

2. Private Beta

Enterprise API

Scoring algorithm improvement

UX analysis

3. Public Beta

Scalable infrastructure

Voice devices

Optimization of response time

Scoring algorithm 2.0

Increasing the number of data sources and topics’ coverage

4. Live product

$2 500 000 raised during four fundraising stages

Mobile application for Android & iOS

Voice assistants integration: Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Home

Cryptocurrency coverage launch

TECHNOLOGIES

Server-side
Apache Cassandra
Grape
PostgreSQL
Rails
Ruby
Client-side
React
Tools (hosting, monitoring etc.)
Docker
Docker SWARM
Jira
Slack
Zabbix
Integrations
Amazon Webservices
Benzinga
Edison
Facebook
Financial Times
Google Plus
LinkedIn
New Relic
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 each of the development issues to our team and starts the product promotion. Now we have:

  • Real-time word processing: each new article appears in our feed and side resources (Twitter, any RSS, etc.) at the same time. The delay is around 20 seconds
  • API – so that other sites can use our information and share CityFALCON’s articles
  • 54 servers make up the infrastructure
  • We developed a CityFALCON scoring algorithm to identify relevant & personalized financial content. The algorithm leverages AI and crowd-curation
  • 3 voice assistants. Using machine learning for big data and text processing, we integrated Voice Assistant support (Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Microsoft Cortana)

As a result of our work, CityFALCON reached:

  • Up to 1 million articles daily. We store these articles so that our customers can search for them
  • Over 2 Million dollars of fundraising overall

This is a long-term collaboration, and we are still working with CityFALCON. New release once a week (update).

Contact the team, start like a rocket!