We help FinTech startups raise up to $1.2M in funding in 9 months or less without wasting budget on the software development

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Case Studies

Transparency Registry. Raised $1.2M in 9 months.

Crunchbase screenshot of the Seed Round amount.

Before: Raised a bit of Pre-Seed money and hired a couple of core team members. The startup was running out of the original investment, the MVP wasn't even close to being completed due to the complex blockchain architecture and logic. TR needed to raise money to get to the next milestone and launch their product.

After: Raised $1.2M Seed Round in 9 months. Hired 5 new people.

"With Forcoda’s help, we were able to raise $1.2 million in the seed round. Their wireframe development was impressive and didn’t lead to any delays. Great communication and strong relationships are a top priority for them to make for a successful partnership."

Chris LaFleur, CEO of Transparency Registry

Chris LaFleur
CEO of Transparency Registry

Immersed Games. Turned the clunky dashboard into the top-selling feature.



Dashboard design before and after working with Forcoda.

Before: Won $500,000 prize at 43North Startup competition and were looking to invest in product development and User Experience to prepare for their first sales cycle but didn't have design expertise in house.

After: Forcoda designed an interactive UX/UI prototype that Immersed Games used to start selling their ugraded dashboard to the customers before it was implemented.

"We had just won a $500,000 prize at the 43North Startup Competition. We had a market-tested educational game in EdTech space and some beta customers but were looking to invest in our product development and User Experience to prepare for our first sales cycle. Our learning platform had already been developed, but we did not yet have an Assessment Dashboard for teachers to be able to track student learning, which was critical. We tried to do it internally first but quickly realized that we needed to engage an external design team to get up to speed and hit the deadline before we started ramping up sales.

We connected with the Forcoda team through the Buffalo tech community and decided to bring them on for the project. The Forcoda team was able to immerse themselves into our industry nuances quickly, understand existing UX and UI challenges, and propose a solution. In a few weeks, we had a completed interactive UX/UI prototype of the dashboard that looked and acted like a finished product. While the design was in the development phase, we were able to use the interactive prototype to demonstrate the upcoming features during our sales demos and also collect feedback from existing customers. 

Once we started presenting a new dashboard design during the sales calls, we noticed teachers' interest perked up. Seeing the Assessment Dashboard that Forcoda designed let them better understand how learning was taking place, and they were able to better grasp the concept of our platform. Educators were excited to have a user-friendly way to access class reports and data, which helped to solidify our value proposition to teachers."

Lindsey Tropf, Founder & CEO of Immersed Games

Lindsey Tropf
Founder & CEO of Immersed Games

Who This is For

  • If you are a founder of a FinTech startup and you’re looking to raise a Seed Round and finally take a breath and get a good night’s sleep.
  • Folks that have already done their homework, put in some elbow grease and are looking now to take their idea to the next level.
  • If you suspect that there is a better way to test your product-market fit without wasting tens of thousands of dollars on web/mobile app development, you are in the right place. 
  • If you are feeling frustrated that you wasted over $40,000 on building pre-MVP and still can’t get any sales or traction with it, you can’t convince investors to fund you, then this is for you. 
  • If you hate burning money and getting empty promises instead of the results or wasting budget on expensive engineering resources, then this is for you as well.
  • If you are serious about your product idea and want to do it right from the beginning, then you're in the right place.
  • If you value getting measurable results and improve your product and ROI over time, then stick around.

Core Concept

You can raise a $1M Seed Round in 9 months or less without investing time and money into developing an MVP. 

However, most entrepreneurs are not aware of this option because the market is flooded with information. It's hard to figure out the approach that offers the best balance between cost and quality.  

Forcoda is the only firm in the US dedicated to solving this particular problem for entrepreneurs in the FinTech niche.


Background Story

Lena moved to the US from Russia in 2009 to pursue her American Dream. She was looking for a better way to apply MS in Computer Science. This is where her ultimate journey of an entrepreneur has begun. Lena applied the same skills that she learned by moving to a new country – resilience, resourcefulness, being self-motivated, and goal-oriented, not giving up when times get tough – to growing her business

In 2014, Lena founded Forcoda and focused on helping companies grow their business by solving complex design and development challenges. Over the last 6 years, Lena and her team worked with hundreds of startups and small businesses, as well as Fortune 500 clients.

After speaking with hundreds of startup founders, Lena heard the same story over and over again - startup founders were either getting burned by working with the wrong vendor and waste time trying to figure things out on their own.

Lena used her skills to put together a solution that can help founders to do it right from the beginning, get on the next level quickly with a high-quality product, and without breaking a bank.

The solution worked better than I have ever imagined. Our clients were able to see tangible results and insane ROI on their investment within the first year. One of our clients raised a $1.2 million Seed round within 9 months of working with us. Other clients were able to increase their conversions or reduce costs.

Here's the six-step process to raising a $1M seed round without wasting budget on the software development

Old Way of Raising $1M

Previously founders would start by doing customer research (or sometimes skip that step) and then design and hack an app themselves. They would typically spend months trying to learn how to design or code, or throw money hiring freelancers and offshore teams. After the MVP was completed, founders would finally feel comfortable soliciting feedback from prospective customers or try to make a few sales only to find out the MVP doesn’t match market need or expectation. Eventually, after several trials and errors, if the founder is lucky to get the problem/solution right, he or she would go and raise the first round of venture funding. The whole process would take anywhere between 2-3 years. 

Step 1/6

Do market research to validate the idea and get the problem/solution right.

Examples of persona profiles

The Old Way

Building product based only on your own assumptions or market knowledge

The Old Result

  • Very difficult to get to product-market-fit. 
  • Without being very specific, it’s tough to find a right problem to solve. 

The New Way

  • Go heavy on research using sound principles, and flood your brain with customer data without writing one line of code. 
  • Combine customer data with your own knowledge to find the right solution to the problem. 

The New Result

If you clearly understand your target audience's needs and expectations, then you can create a design that resonates with customers and leads you to higher sales, and you will spend less on development since more changes can be done during the design step. More sales down the road.

More upfront research leads to better quality MVPs that resonate with the target audience. More sales down the road.

If you clearly understand your target audience's needs and expectations, then you can create a design that resonates with customers and leads you to higher sales, and you will spend less on development since more changes can be done during the design step. More sales down the road.

Step 2/6

Design an interactive prototype.

Demo of an interactive prototype created for KickFurther

The Old Way

  • Learn about UX/UI design principles yourself. Learn how to use design tools
  • Design prototype yourself
  • Hire a freelancer or an outsourced designer (Upwork/Fiverr) to create a mockup

The Old Result

  • Poor quality of the finished product
  • Low customer buy-in rate 
  • Freelance designers are not invested in your product idea. They will only design what you tell them
  • Cultural differences with the remote designers. Not understanding market expectations
  • Design that might look good but has a poor user experience or doesn’t resonate with the target audience
  • Can take months

The New Way

  • Have a professional team with domain expertise in your industry, and that's invested in your company's success, design an interactive UX/UI prototype for you

The New Result

  • Higher quality of MVP
  • MVP that resonates with the target audience
  • Faster and cheaper to make changes based on customer feedback
  • An interactive prototype that you can use for pre-sales

Investing in a quality UX/UI design upfront can get companies on average 135% ROI per each metric.

If you clearly understand your target audience's needs and expectations, you can create a design that resonates with customers and leads you to higher sales. You will spend less on development since more changes can be done during the design step.

Summary of 10-year returns for the companies in the UX Fund.

Step 3/6

Get customer feedback before you build.

Example of the intricate structure of one of the sections inside of the Transparency Registry prototype.

The Old Way

  • Explain an idea to the users without any visuals, show quick mockups using Powerpoint, or a rough sketch.
  • Wait till the MVP is ready to solicit customer feedback.

The Old Result

  • Frustrating 
  • Low users buy-in rate since not all users can visualize the idea. Lack of actionable feedback
  • The product that doesn’t match your customer needs or expectations. Wasted time and budget on rebuilding a product down the road.
  • Expensive and takes a long time to change something during the development phase. Changes that might take a few hours or days to do in the design, can take weeks or months during the development phase. Your expenses multiply by 5-10x.

The New Way

  • Create an interactive design prototype to demonstrate to the users and get clear feedback about what features they like/don't like/ missing from the MVP. 
  • Go heavy on research using sound principles, and flood your brain with customer data without writing one line of code. 
  • Combine customer data with your own knowledge to find the right solution to the problem.

The New Result

  • Get clear, actionable feedback and higher user buy-in rate
  • Start generating leads early in the product development process

Clear visuals can help your target audience better understand the solution and provide actionable feedback.

Implementation of the UX/UI design best practices leads to better quality MVPs that resonate with the target audience. Less development time wasted.

Step 4/6

Refine your design prototype based on the feedback.

Example of applying global style updates to your design.

The Old Way

Making changes to your product features after MVP has been fully developed.

The Old Result

  • Lower quality of MVP
  • Expensive and takes a long time to change something during the development phase. Changes that might take a few hours or days to do in the design, can take weeks or months during the development phase. 
  • Your expenses multiply by 5-10x.

The New Way

  • Get customer feedback before the development phase using an interactive design prototype to demonstrate to the users and get clear feedback about what features they like/don't like/ missing from the MVP
  • Implement customer feedback during the design phase
  • Refine the interactive prototype after each customer demo or sales call

The New Result

  • Higher quality of finished MVP
  • MVP that resonates with the target audience
  • Reduced cost and time by 5-10x to make the changes to the product functionality
  • Happier customers and investors

You don’t need to wait for the MVP to be ready to refine the product functionality.

Making changes to the product features during the design phase will be 5-10 times cheaper and faster. The further you move on the project timelines, the more expensive it becomes to change something. With the design prototype, you can make edits on the fly after each sales call.

Step 5/6

Sell Before You Build.

The prototype that Transparency Registry used to raise $1.2M.

The Old Way

Start selling only after the MVP is developed and is live. 

The Old Result

  • Less cash in the bank 
  • If customers are still not willing to pay for the product, you need to go back to the drawing board.
  • If you wait too long to start selling, competitors might beat you to it.
  • If your product or service has a long sales cycle, you're losing valuable time, the startup can run out of cash. 

The New Way

Start pre-selling in 2-3 weeks by using an interactive UX/UI prototype.

The New Result

  • More cash in the bank
  • Longer runway
  • Established customer base once the product is live
  • More sales
  • Avoid team complexity.
  • Get paying customers within the first few months, get traction 
  • Happy investors

Start selling before your MVP is ready.

  • Use an interactive UX/UI prototype, so you can start pre-selling sooner in 2-3 weeks as opposed to 3-4 months. 
  • Have more cash in the bank, longer runway
  • Establish a customer base before the product is live
  • Get more sales
  • Avoid team complexity. 
  • Further validate your idea/get customer feedback before the product is completed.

Step 6/6

Pitch the investors to raise the Seed Round.

The prototype that Transparency Registry used to raise $1.2M

The Old Way

  • Demo of the product using a poorly built application
  • Praying that when you demo your app it loads and doesn’t break

The Old Result

  • Extra stress for you that might affect your pitch performance
  • Create a bad first impression with the investors
  • Making it seems that your product is not well thought out 

The New Way

  • Use an interactive design prototype to add a wow factor to your investor pitch. 

The New Result

  • Investors can navigate an intuitive user interface
  • Better first impression and adds more confidence in your approach to the business 
  • Impress investors with your pre-sales/sales numbers even before the product is built.  
  • Investors know exactly what they are giving you money for - building out the platform so you can start selling like crazy. 
  • Less uncertainty for investors 
  • Higher chance to close a bigger round much faster.

Use a high-quality UX/UI design prototype instead of a half-baked application during the investor pitch.

  • Present your digital product idea using a high-quality design prototype which will leave a lasting impression on your investors
  • Communicate your idea with more clarity 
  • Get you a stronger footing with the pre-sales numbers that you were able to achieve even before the MVP is built.

As you can see, all you need to do is do proper customer research, design an interactive prototype, get customer feedback, and iterate a few times. You can ultimately start selling sooner and use the design prototype to raise the Seed round without investing in the development and complicating your team.

So you all you need to do is:

  • Proper customer/market research
  • Design an  interactive UX/UI prototype
  • Get customer feedback on the application design
  • Apply feedback and make edits to the prototype
  • Start selling/pre-selling 
  • Do the investor pitch

And you can get to $1.2M in funding in 9 months or less without investing in the development of the application. 

There are a few ways to achieve this: 

Option 1 - Do it Yourself

However: 

  • It can take five-six months to educate yourself properly.
  • The quality of the design will be low. 
  • You could struggle with implementing proper market research and UX/UI design best practices, if you haven’t done this before

It would take you around 5-6 months to do it yourself. The cost of the tools would be lowest (just design courses/books and editing software) but you’ll pay the highest opportunity cost. If we assume that your time is worth $100/hr then if you spend at least 10hrs a week working on your design, you’re paying $24,100 in your own time and lost opportunities.

$100/hr x 10 hr/week x 24 weeks = $24,000


Option 2 - Hire a freelancer

However:

  • Freelancers are not invested in your product or providing critical feedback.
  • They don’t understand your market.
  • The finished design might have usability flows, miss essential features, or won't resonate with your target market.
  • It would take you around 3-4 months to finish it. You still would need to spend a substantial time planning the architecture of your app and project managing the designer. The total cost of the project would be around $14,200.

Your time managing freelancer - $100/hr x 3 hr/week x 24 weeks = $7,200

Freelancer cost = $5,000-$7,000

Total: $12,200 - $14,200

Option 3 - Hire an outsourced company

However:

  • The final result will be of poor quality due to the lack of communication, language barriers, and cultural differences.
  • It won’t resonate with your audience due to cultural differences and language barriers
  • You would have to spend more time managing designer and do a lot of handholding
  • You’ll feel extremely frustrated
  • Tough to manage during time zone difference

It would take you around 2-3 months to finish it and you would need to do a lot of handholding to make sure that the outsourced team does what’s expected. The total cost of the project would be around $12,000.

Your time managing remote design team - $100/hr x 5 hr /week x 12 weeks = $6,000

Outsourced designer cost = $3500-$6,000

Total: $9,500 - $12,000

OR

Or you can work with Forcoda and get an interactive design prototype professionally done in 2-3 weeks by the team invested in your success and for 1/10th the effort.

Again, this is for:

CEOs and founders in the FinTech space who are looking to raise a Seed round but are struggling with designing a product that resonates with the target audience and getting pre-sales/commitment from the customers.

Here's What Is Going To Happen
When You Work With Us

01

Reduce the Risk/Start selling sooner

You will be able to validate your product idea faster and start pre-selling in 2-3 weeks. 

02

Raise more venture funding

You can even raise up to $1.2M in 9 months or less if you execute properly. 

03

Do it right from the beginning

You can finally stop wasting time and spinning the wheels by dumping money into the mediocre solutions that generate next to nothing results. 

04

Prove your haters wrong

You can forget about anyone who doubted you and prove they were wrong. 

05

Get a peace of mind

You will feel like you can finally sleep at night and focus on the most important thing – growing your startup and acquiring new customers.

So, How Does It Work?

[1]
We help you do validate customer/problem fit

Before, when you wanted to do the customer research, you would have to slap together a PowerPoint slide deck and start reaching out to the friends and family or people in your network trying to get feedback on your idea.

But now, if you engage us on the project, we can handle the customer research from start to finish - we can identify proper user personas profiles, reach out to prospective users, conduct interviews to analyze their pain point and their goals; organize project objectives and features based on the importance in a few weeks instead of months.

Examples of persona profiles

[2]
Get
high-quality interactive prototype in 2-3 weeks

Before, when you wanted to design the app prototype, you would have to either learn how to do it yourself, hire a freelancer or outsource it overseas.

But now, by working with us, you can have a high-quality interactive prototype in 2-3 weeks without wasting time and stressing out about learning a new skill or managing a designer that is not invested in the success of your project.

Example of the intricate structure of one of the sections inside of the Transparency Registry prototype.

[3]
Get
a complete styleguide

We’ll also provide you with a style guide with all UI elements and their default and active states, colors, and fonts, that your development team can use as a reference during the development process to keep the consistent UI look and accelerate the development time.

Example of the UI Styleguide that is included in the project deliverables.

[4]
Make edits to your designs on a fly.

Before, when you wanted to get customer feedback on the app design, you would have to build a functional MVP first so users can test drive it. You would have to wait 6-12 months to get it done.

But now, by using an interactive UX/UI design prototype, you can start collecting customer feedback in just 2-3 weeks without wasting time and money on the development. Any feedback that you receive during this phase, you can quickly update in your design in a matter of hours or days instead of weeks or months. You can even polish up the prototype after each customer call, that's how quick it is to make updates to the design prototype.

Example of how you can change the color of elements in your design on the fly.

[5]
Start getting presales using an interactive prototype.

Before, when you wanted to start selling, you would have to design and build an MVP and spend 12-24 months on it. But now, by using an interactive UX/UI design prototype, you can start making pre-sales in just 2-3 weeks without wasting time and money on the development.

Example of Transparency Registry platform UX/UI prototype.

[6]
Pitch the investors using high-fidelity
UX/UI prototype.

Before, when you wanted to pitch the investors, you would have to build an MVP, start getting traction, and make a few sales. The whole process could take you 12-24 months.

But now, you can use an interactive UX/UI design prototype to start validating your market, getting traction, and making pre-sales without wasting months and tens of thousands of dollars. You want to raise money when you have figured out a product-market fit and got the traction.

Example of Transparency Registry platform UX/UI prototype.

Here’s All the Incredible Value You Get When You Work With Forcoda!

[1]

Outline proper customer profiles and do market research. 

Valued at $5,000

[2]

Create a high-fidelity interactive design prototype.

Valued at $30,000

[3]

Get actionable feedback from your prospective customers.

Valued at 10,000

[4]

Start selling 6-9 months sooner.

Valued at $45,000

[5]

Raise venture capital without investing in the development cost.

Valued up to $1.2 million

[6]


You’ll get access to our investor network.

Of Course, We Back Everything Up With A Guarantee. Meaning If We Don’t Deliver On Our Promises, You Don’t Pay A Dime.

We have seen our clients getting positive feedback from the investor and getting pre-sales from the customers once the project was completed. Others were able to test and validate their product idea before they spent a fortune on the development.

So how does our guarantee work?

Very simple. Clients that go through our 6-step process will be able to see the results -upon the project completion they will be able to validate a product or service idea, getting more interest from customers and investors and within 6-12 months - getting more interest from customers and investors, closing more sales or the next funding round.

Example of Transparency Registry platform UX/UI prototype.

So let’s summarize this offer.

You get:

  • Detailed persona/customer profiles
  • Interactive high-fidelity design prototype that you can use to make sales and fundraise
  • UI Style Guide that you or your development team can use to build your digital predict and keep the styles consistent
  • Actionable customer feedback about your platform before it launches
  • 3 hours of support calls to help you implement the design during the development phase
  • Action-based 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Get access to our investor network
  • For the fraction of the cost of the total value generated

We only have the bandwidth to take on 3 new customers each month, so if you are interested, make sure you act now, or you might not get another chance until next month.

All you need to do is schedule a call with us.