Fundify is a tech-driven, global equity crowdfunding marketplace that simplifies startup funding by partnering with a network of industry experts who vet and validate investment opportunities, streamlining due diligence for investors.
The following is a case study on how two designers were tasked to enhance a FinTech startup platform's website presence and brand, to emerge as a top competitor in a $300M industry.
Designing the website end-to-end 2 months ahead of the official launch date
Since the JOBS Act came out in 2012, only $300M has been invested in the funding of small businesses. Reg-D filings, on the other hand, has seen $1.8T invested in privately held companies. Fundify is looking to present a way for the everyday person to capitalize on these opportunities.
Fundify was started on the notion that the other platforms in the space were all the same - businesses raising money, listing startup profiles, talking about themselves, and then the prospective investor gets to review that list. The founder capitalized on an opportunity to leverage technology to simplify the process, and feature industry experts to add credibility.
My design partner and I designed a website and user experience that would simplify the onerous regulatory process that startups face when looking to raise capital for their idea. This onerous process consists of roughly 130 form fields. Upon completing the stakeholder interview, we then began to craft the brand's story and style into the design of the website.
Understanding the scope
We were hired on 2 months out from launch after Fundify had previously worked with a design firm, however, they felt that at the end of the day it was over-designed and under-developed, which raised a few questions:
1. What is the problem?
2. What is the goal?
3. What are the technical tools being used and constraints? Is this a complete overhaul or adding to an existing foundation?
What the team at Fundify was looking for:
1. The desire to have their brand style implemented creating a compelling sign-up process, a seamless 130 question registration process, and optimizing the flow of
2. Highlight their biggest differentiator - the 'Expert' component.
My role throughout this project was overseeing the entire project as the project lead, conducting all user interviews and usability tests, maintaining consistent communication with the CEO and CTO to meet weekly deliverables, utilizing Information Architecture to organize the shape of the site flow, using visual design to deliver the client and business needs, and collaborating cross-functionally with development and marketing to complete the goal as a team.
The following methods and data showcase my approach.
Who is using Fundify?
3 personas with their own set of challenges and barriers
Time consuming searching for startups and filing the right paperwork.
“What if I’m not an individual investor but a company?”
“I would first want to find out what companies are there or success stories or something that keeps me in the platform to see the immediate value.”
Difficulty filling out the funding rounds.
Clear next steps within the sign up process.
Options not listed for them - “What if I wanted to add another revenue stream?”, “What if I wanted to add another industry or be more specific?”
The option to save my progress and come back later “Can I save this and come back later?”
Advising within SEC laws and regulations.
Finding startups they feel confident and comfortable they want to build a relationship with.
Adhering to aesthetics
The Gold is to be used for CTAs, text, and as an accent to content.
Black acts as a sophisticated background color that enables the signature Gold to pop.
The Fundify Red should be used thoughtfully throughout brand communication to highlight important information and add visual interest to text and design elements.
A semi-transparent black overlay should be used to add text contrast.
The photography used should:
1. Create a sense of motion, growth or movement.
2. Show the networking of data in an inspiring, figurative way.
3. Express the connection of people.
I conducted a total of 5 different usability tests focused on the experiences of:
So this is for if I want to invest. So there isn’t a split, everybody makes a profile and can go either way. I assumed you would sign up as a potential investor or investee."
Why did it say there was a problem creating
This whole list is what makes it daunting."
The screens that scroll really long like this are hard to consume. Maybe a more condensed thing with multiple steps that chain together could be better."
1. We should consider putting our user into the investor or business funnel earlier, and once they have built up their profile for their main priority on the site, we can begin a cross-sell approach to interest them in further opportunities.
2. We should be taking users through the path as well as adding a tracker, so they’re aware where they are at all times.
1. It isn’t clear for the user to know where they are in the process.
2. Make the panel on the left hand side clickable.
3. Reduce ambiguity by distinguishing the difference with helper/prompt text or a helper icon they can scroll over.
1. Allow users to save their progress and come back another time. Using elements of gamification, motivate them to come back, ideally intrinsically.
2. Link the left hand panel to the tabs with hyperlinks.
3. Replace long pages with heavy scrolling with a step by step process broken down into different pages.
1. Expanding options in drop down selection menus by offering the freedom to input their own data yet still strongly guiding them through the sign-up process.
First impressions are lasting impressions
Below you'll see how we not only designed for the needs of the brand and team but also highlighted the main feature of Fundify, the network of Industry Experts.
1. "Too much white space." - CEO
2. "Branding is way off." - CEO & CTO
3. No navigation header.
4. "Photos don't match the brand style." - CEO & CTO
Addressing the CEO's concerns of "too much white-space" by using the brand style aesthetics and photography.
The branding in the previous design was missing what made this brand stand out, so we revamped the look with the brand colors to match the look and feel of an exclusive platform.
After rigorous testing with customers, we settled on these navigation header titles.
After speaking with the CEO, we used these images to match the client's needs and goals of creating a "sense of motion, growth, or movement," "networking," and "the connection of people."
Bringing order to chaos
Designing for a balance between user autonomy while guiding them through a linear process.
1. Customers were unsure of where to go next.
“I found it by luck” - customer
2. "I’d like to skip to any of this and see what any of it is about because some of it is readily on hand but some of it I might need to go make or edit.” - customer
3. "If I was trying to start a 'Round', I wouldn’t know where to go next at all. It would be nice if there was a panel of options.” - customer
Feedback makes us better
When you put users through multiple form fields and in this case, up to 130+ individual fields, we learned it is imperative to give direct and instant feedback. It is safe to assume the customer will make mistakes and we as designers should prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Through testing, we learned customers were frustrated by only being given feedback once they completed all the fields and would scroll to the bottom to 'Save and Continue' only to learn it was greyed out and disabled, and now they had to go back to find the specific error.
The previous design also contained form fields with no clear instructions on why their input was an error or to which form field the feedback belonged.
”It would be nice if it told me what I was missing when I tried to hit Save & Continue”
“I would think it would let me press 'Save & Continue', not disable it, and put errors in the fields that are wrong or need to be updated."
Creating a startup is overwhelming enough, our approach was to make this last big step feel like a bunch of small steps so it felt manageable and leaving the customers feeling confident about their idea garnering the attention and funding it needs.
Follow the journey of a founder getting their start-up idea onto the platform to be viewed by potential investors.
Future features and conclusions
Consider replacing the header titles to be more descriptive of the action through verbs:
Startups: “Raise Capital”
Investors: “Begin Investing”
Experts: “Advise Startups”
Marketplace: “Browse Startups”
Separate landing pages for returning or new users.
Highly recommend using two indicators, one for optional and one for required fields. Best practices indicate that users generally look for both a required indicator or an optional indicator on each field.
Conduct A/B testing and Surveys.
Are we meeting potential customers' needs? Is the product providing the utility and effectiveness they're looking for?