Emily McAllister
Chief Marketing Officer
5 mins read

Slow Down To Speed Up: How One Startup Sprints With Turtle

A startup used the skateboard method for their mvp

It's no secret that the internet is strongly opinionated, but every product review on Amazon or casual comment on Reddit is a small piece of unstructured data. When aggregated and organized, that data can reveal surprising insights about human behavior. The founders of Yogi saw huge potential in better understanding the millions and billions of publicly shared opinions on the internet.

Yogi helps brands track and quantify customer feedback on public review platforms. Co-founders Gautam Kanumuru and Chad Becker developed an AI-powered analytics service to help their clients organize, understand, and interpret how public reviews and comments could affect their business at scale. Chad and Gautam first met while at the University of Virginia, and after successful early careers in big tech they teamed up to pursue their idea for Yogi. Backed by an initial $100k investment from New York’s prestigious ERA program, they went on to secure another $2.3 million in seed funding from powerhouse investors.

The Yogi Team

With strong backgrounds in natural language processing, they’re developing a system that collects and organizes millions of unstructured consumer opinions from across the web in just minutes, like how both Alex C. in Texas and Eliza T. in Utah mentioned protein content when they reviewed their almond milk purchases. Beyond processing huge amounts of data, an early challenge for Yogi was deciding how brands should see and interact with their data all at once.

“We try to include the client’s voice in every decision we make,” shared Gautam. With early clients already onboarded and ready to help test the app, Gautam and Chad created rapid feature testing cycles to get the front-end data visualization right. They created a few wireframes, then realized they needed to bring in additional front-end expertise. It was important to the team to be able to slow down or fully pause development work while waiting for client feedback, which made traditional full-time hiring a challenge.

An early wireframe of the Yogi dashboard for customers.

When the Yogi team approached Turtle with their wireframes and front-end specs, they were quickly matched to work with Roman, a freelance front-end developer based in Rostov-on-Don, Russia who keeps a flexible schedule and was interested in the idea of a rapid testing cycle. After an initial onboarding with the team, he now seamlessly joins whenever they spin up engineering work and helps distill feedback and prioritize feature ideas. 

“We needed someone who was able to work with a level of abstraction. Who could pivot on a moment’s notice. Who pushes back when we come up with ideas. Roman fits right in. He’s an integrator. He’s a personality we really enjoy working with.”
– Gautam, Co-Founder of Yogi

Once Yogi hands off the latest release to their clients for testing, they’re able to slow down their pace and budget on Turtle. This both saves their resources and gives Roman the time to freelance with additional startups through Turtle. 

Gautam explained, “As a startup, priorities are always shifting, capabilities are always changing. Our engineering pipeline is more like a bar graph. We’re constantly revving up and down and pushing things out.” Roman agreed, “The balance is great. Different projects always keep things interesting.” 

In a springtime sprint to get new feature requests into their client's hands, Roman and the Yogi team worked together to set key deadlines and create clear time estimates with Turtle’s tools. With each new feature and task prioritized within Turtle’s app, they were able to quickly communicate and meet their goals on time and on budget. Together, they created an organized dashboard to visualize the newly structured data for their clients.

Yogi’s new customer dashboard after their most recent sprint.

The latest release from Yogi shipped on time to clients in May, and the team is looking forward to ramping up their engineering efforts this summer to hit their next set of milestones.

“With Turtle, we can operate at the speed we need to.”

Feeling ready to scale up your own engineering team and build even faster? You can sign up for Turtle’s talent and tools platform here, or get in touch with me anytime at emily@turtle.dev


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