Social group payments

Getting a group of people to make a decision and commit to attending a shared event can be challenging. Reaching an agreement on the available options, set costs and budgets, figure who should be invited, and how to collect the payments... all while remaining friends, can sometimes be hard.

Dime-in is a new group payments application that removes the stress and risk for event organizers and helps more events go smoothly. Dime-in enables organizers to setup events, invite attendees, set deadlines, engage in a social discussion, and collect payments from attendees. This leaves users feeling relaxed and ready to enjoy the event. Organizing group events with friends is fun again, and works on any modern web browser.

Client

Dime-in

Sector

Events

Solutions
Strategy & Advisory Serverless We build it Managed cloud application

Dime-in Case Study

About Dime-in

Getting a group of people to make a decision and commit to attending a shared event can be challenging. Reaching an agreement on the available options, set costs and budgets, figure who should be invited, and how to collect the payments... all while remaining friends, can sometimes be hard.

Dime-in is a new group payments application that removes the stress and risk for event organizers and helps more events go smoothly. Dime-in enables organizers to setup events, invite attendees, set deadlines, engage in a social discussion, and collect payments from attendees. This leaves users feeling relaxed and ready to enjoy the event. Organizing group events with friends is fun again, and works on any modern web browser.

Organize fun events with friends, right from your smartphone.

Needs and Challenges

Urgency - Competitors have started launching their offerings
The idea for Dime-in was conceived in late 2017, and as a start-up it was critical to get the Dime-in application launched quickly and start building market share. During the plan & define phase, a number of well established competitors also entered the new market with group payment solutions. The Dime-in team knew that speed to market was now key to engaging with the early users and building an initial customer base.

How should we build the Application?
Dime-in’s founders wanted to use the cloud as a way to build their application quickly, but didn’t have an experienced team in-house who could do the work, and didn’t have the budget to hire a team with all of the skills they needed - web developers, designers, node & go developers, operations and security. The founders needed a partner with deep cloud development experience who could take their concept and bring it to life as an online service.

Digital business tools for non-technical users
The cloud is a platform for highly technical users to excel, but is intimidating for non-technical business managers. The Dime-in team requested management, reporting and administration tools for the application which abstract the complexity of the cloud and allows them to focus on helping customers organize events and get paid.

Operationally Secure and PCI Compliant
Dime-in needed the confidence that the solution being built had strong security to protect the user data and payment transactions throughout the system, provide visibility into operation security, ensure PCI compliance and peace of mind for the users of the application. This challenge was to know how to design and build a highly secure workload, which needed to be compliant using serverless from day one.

Frugal at the start, and scale as the site becomes popular
Dime-in was bootstrapped by the founders while raising capital in parallel. This meant the application build needed with a frugal mindset, and operate with a low burn rate and buy time to get the business up and running. The application also needed to deliver internet-scale and performance when the Dime-in app inevitably became popular, otherwise the team risked losing the confidence of their early user base.

The Solution

The Dime-in application was developed as a run-everywhere web application with a AWS Lambda and a serverless backend, to ensure we delivered the project’s goals with the fastest possible velocity and the broadest initial reach to capture user feedback across multiple devices and platforms. The team requested a solution that could support a web application initially, and later scale-out to support mobile apps through the same set of web services in future sprints.

The application is architected through a number of layers, which perform different roles in the solution:

Dime-in overview
Layer
Purpose
Technologies
Application interface
The user presentation layer
HTML 5, CSS, JavaScript. React.js client
Static web hosting
The user presentation layer
AWS S3, CloudFront and Certificate Manager
The API layer
A GraphQL API for http resources & methods
AWS API Gateway, AWS AppSync
Serverless functions
Runs custom application code
AWS Lambda functions
Serverless backend
Provides services to the application
DynamoDB, SNS, SES, Cognito, R53 and CloudWatch
Serverless Framework
Serverless deployment & configuration
Serverless.com, SAM and Cloudformation
Security
Function protection & OpSec tools
Protego Labs, AWS IAM, AWS Config, AWS CloudTrail
Development tools
IDE
Cloud 9, CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodePipeline, CodeDeploy

We are able to quickly implement the required functionality, and have a simple, explicit set of functions and data services to manage for each Microservice.

The Implementation

Mode2 is Dime-in's consulting and services partner for the long-term. We worked closely together to create the solution, combining the best of vision, domain knowlege and technical talent. Developing with serverless, Mode2 was able to quickly prototype the application and launch the application within 12 weeks end-to-end.

For the initial launch, the emphasis was on rapid discovery & prototyping to create the application with simple and accessible technologies. We are able to quickly iterate through the user stories, and built a simple set of functions for each capability within the application. Project Outcomes we delivered Continue to iterate on building out user stories and collaborating with users on features.

  • Launched the new application with a beta group of customers
  • Serverless PCI compliant payment processing and sensitive information handling
  • A low-cost solution to operate, and a solution that scales with increases in demand
  • Continue to iterate on building out user stories and collaborating with users on features
Mode2 Services

Dime-in leveraged a full range of services from Mode2 to create the brand, visual design, business processes, develop the software software, and continue to maintain the application once live.

  • Strategy & Advisory
  • Rapid prototyping & development
  • We build it
  • Managed cloud
  • Serverless VAR - Cloudability, Honeycomb, IOPipe, Protego, and Rookout

""We were building a new application, so speed and time to market was critical for us. We needed a partner who could bring the development time down and produce results in weeks and months." said Tom Beckett, co-founder of Dime-in. "Mode2 were able to guide us through key decisions, get us headed in the right direction from the start, and their team opened our eyes to what was possible. Now that we are live, we appreciate the simplicity and low cost to deliver our services."

The Results

Tom says he sees four main benefits of working with Mode2:

  1. Time to Market
    From inception to a working application, Dime-in was able to realize the original vision in 90 days. Mode2 used our highly accelerated Rapid Discovery & Prototyping approach to discover requirements, workflows, designs and user experiences. The teams used serverless to quickly establish a first version of the application for learning and feedback, iterating across multiple work streams to bring the application to market in a responsible and highly accelerated timeline.
  2. Frugal
    "Amazon’s Serverless enabled Dime-in to get started on our idea without needing an incubator or funding. As the number of users increased, that's when our bill kicked up from the free tier - but we didn't mind because now we're helping organizers run their events, and we have revenue from subscriptions at that point. We pay a microl fee every time our users are active on the system." (Tom Beckett)
  3. An easy way to use the Cloud:
    Mode2 makes it possible for Dime-in to harness the Amazon cloud without needing to be technical, or even be able to write code. Dime-in’s team maintain a backlog of requirements for their application, and the teams regularly meet to review demo’s. Dime-in also selected Mode2 to provide a managed option to operate and maintain serverless applications for companies don’t have the resource or the skills at this time.
  4. Simple:
    A single monthly payment that combines AWS billing with Mode2's monthly services to develop and manage the application.

Mode2 were able to get us headed in the right direction from the start, guide us through the key decisions, and show us the road ahead, said Tom. We quickly started gathering our thoughts, creating mockups, experience boards and screens and prioritized what needed to get built. We did some workshops, and Mode2 got to work coding up that experience. Tom Beckett, CEO.

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