Start from: building an MVP
The Weconnect platform is one of the projects we created in collaboration with the Japanese Startup Factory. Our partnership started more than 2 years ago, and since then we’ve successfully launched 6 startups in different niches. What a time! Our team covered technical implementation and launching, while our partner took care of marketing the startups.
The idea of this project was born as a response to the trend of workflow digitalization and the blurring of the boundaries as such. The main idea of the platform is to allow users to create lounge space with rooms and work remotely via video communication from any corner of the planet. Hence the name of the project.
How does it work?
Networking platform description
Our team has created a platform that provides a virtual meeting space similar to coworking rooms and open-space offices. The primary communication tool here is video calls, but there is also an option to write private or group messages in the room or lounge chat.
There are two parties on the platform, the hosts and the attendees. The first ones can open and set up lounge spaces and rooms, while the second ones can freely move around the host’s spaces and chat with other table guests. The topics for conversations can be networking, knowledge sharing, specific topic discussion, coffee breaks, and limited consultations.
Other useful features are also implemented here:
- quick 1-1 networking – attendees are selected randomly;
- group calls in rooms of up to 6 people;
- ticket purchase for events created in advance by the host;
- subscription with extended access to various features, and much more.
Value provided through networking platform development
The team provided a complete product after 6 months of active development. During this time we managed to make a proof of concept, develop an MVP and, through additional functionality, produce a competitive web app ready to be launched on the market.
It is worth noting that the platform was the first such digital product in the Asian market, offering people a fully localized virtual space for networking and fast information exchange. It soon became popular in Japan, and now there are plans to expand it to other Asian markets.
Key Highlights & Challenges
There are a number of key features and solutions that have made this product such a success:
1. Lounge functionality
Imagine you are in a spacious room where there is a lounge area with lots of seating and tables and individual rooms for up to 6 people. As a visitor, you can take any available seat in the lounge or room and interact with the people sitting at the same table. Basically, we’ve created a virtual analog of just such a place.
Depending on the event topics, people can either attend group discussions on one topic or “move around” from table to table and participate in local conversations.
Another interesting feature is quick 1-1 networking, where interlocutors are chosen randomly. The function gives the opportunity to meet new interesting people, find out their opinion on some issue or share impressions.
2. Freemium subscription basis
Through the integration with Stripe, hosts can sell tickets to their virtual events and thus make some money. This feature is available by subscription, which also allows them to expand the room capacity from 3 to 6 people, and the number of lounge spaces and rooms up to an unlimited number.
3. Custom and dynamic UI
Since streaming platforms are not a new thing on the market, we needed to develop a UI design that would be familiar and understandable for users, but at the same time bright and eye-catching.
While developing the UI, we analyzed competitors’ color and logic solutions to create a catchy product and designed the visual component of the platform’s brand. We also improved the UX for more native user interaction with the platform.
As a specific priority, we focused on localization and cultural adaptation of the product to local audiences, using design tools.
Technology aspects of networking platform development
For the complex work on the platform, we chose the following tech stack: PHP 7.4, HTML 5, Vue.js, and MySQL, as these solutions enabled us to implement multi-user interaction on the platform, video chat, and streaming functions, as well as a bright interactive design.
Additionally, we used such tools as Gmail, Zoom, Slack, and Google Spreadsheets.