Udo

The Employee Engagement Benefit

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Overview

Product Concept

Üdo is an on-demand personal assistant mobile app which allows people to access personal assistance services at their convenience.

Busy professionals, especially working moms, can get their Üdo Assistant to help them with time-consuming daily tasks such as planning dinners for the week, writing thank-you notes to customers, and researching which new TV to buy for the living room.

All they need to do is submit an assistance request through the Üdo mobile app.

Aha! Moment

Rhonda Dolan, the founder and CEO of Üdo, is a single parent who leads a very busy professional life and doesn't always have time to do everything herself.

As with most entrepreneurs, Rhonda set out to solve her own problem, and in the process, the idea of Üdo came to her naturally.

Founder story

Here is Rhonda sharing her story.

“As a single working parent of three and caring for an elderly parent, I became increasingly aware of how isolated we are becoming in a digital society. At the same time, working in the Health Care space in business development, I saw daily how businesses are struggling to find ways to help their employees stay happy, healthy and engaged. With traditional benefits costs rising and these now becoming less relevant to a younger workforce, employers need something meaningful to offer their employees.”

“Taking a closer look at the the barriers to individuals getting assistance when they need it, and watching the solutions in this space only providing a partial solution, I realized that technology is in a place where it is possible to leverage technologies and security with a rapidly growing gig economy and provide that sweet spot of integration between live talent technology and change the way we handle the small but taxing tasks of daily life.”

Client

Üdo

Project Category

Mobile App/Web App

App Category

Productivity

Venture Phase

Early Stage

Client Highlight

$20,000 in proof-of-concept grant from Digital Sandbox

What We Did

  • tick UX/UI Design

  • tick Pitch Advisin

  • tick Flowcharting

  • tick Currently in Development

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Problem

Rhonda is an idealist or “pie in the sky” type, as she describes herself. She had big plans for Üdo, and many were ambitious; she wanted to make Üdo a household name for on-demand personal assistance and a comprehensive time-saving technology solution for busy professionals.

While such vision and drive are Rhonda’s strengths, they are also her weaknesses, as she had a hard time defining where Üdo should start, what it should do, and which aspects of the product concept should the startup focus on.

In July of 2018, Rhonda pitched Üdo to Digital Sandbox KC, a grant program which gives proof-of-concept funding to promising high-growth technology startups.

Because the judges did not fully grasp the product concept, they could not see how it would bring value to its users. Therefore, they decided to not fund Üdo until the startup has a clear product focus, a realistic target market, and a strategy to attract early adopters.

“I think the biggest obstacles are always from what we know we don’t know. I am not a technical founder,” Rhonda shared.

Not having the product development expertise, it was difficult for Rhonda to visualize her idea and communicate it in an effective way.

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Solution

Strategy

During the initial meeting with Rhonda, we honed in on her overarching vision: busy individuals shouldn’t stress over menial tasks during their everyday grind.

At the end of our deep dive discussion, we identified that Rhonda's painpoint with the existing task outsourcing solutions is how long it takes for the users to find the right people to outsource the task to.

"How are you making someone's life easier when the searching for who to outsource the task takes longer than the task itself," she exclaimed.

Üdo addresses this painpoint for the user by assigning a personal assistant who either 1) takes care of the tasks themselves or 2) finds the right professionals to outsource the tasks to.

Throughout the product strategy discussion, we noticed the conversation would constantly loop back to 3 groups of people on her platform: the people submitting a task request, the people who would receive the request and find someone to do it, and the people who would complete the task.

With this, our product strategist and Rhonda pinpointed that Üdo her platform has 3 different user types that would each need their own user interface, which are:

  1. The Clients, who outsource tasks

  2. The Assistants, who process task requests

  3. The Doers, who carry out the tasks

We moved forward to define what each of these 3 user types can do on the platform. The feature wish lists were long at the end of our brainstorming session.

Having too many features slows down the time it takes to release a product and makes it more expensive, which are drawbacks an early-stage startup cannot afford. Therefore, we advised her to go with a leaner approach.

We advised Rhonda to pinpoint the main use cases for each user types and build only the features which support these use cases. After systematically prioritizing the features, we arrived at the focus list which will support only the following user journey:

  • A Client submits a task via the Üdo mobile app

  • An Assistant processes a task request using the Üdo web app then assigns it to a Doer

  • A Doer accepts the task request, carries it out, reports to the Assistant when they finish

  • The Assistant updates the task status

  • The Client gets a notification the task is completed

Udo solution image

“The things I found very refreshing were the right kind of questions, talking with LSL from the beginning, they were really focused questions. Which told me as a product owner that you really knew how to bring your product owners to focus only on the things that really matter. “

Design

The first step in the design phase at LSL is flowcharting. We craft our initial flowchart - a general overarching flow of the application - with our client during our first deep dive meeting. In this session with Rhonda, we laid out the 3 user types: the client, the assistant, and the doer.

We then connected them based on their needs and actions, starting with submitting and completing a task. From there, we would create user flowcharts that would dive deeper into each user type, the actions they would take, and what screens should appear when they take those actions.

After we presented the flowchart and received Rhonda’s approval, we moved on to wireframing. In this step, our team of UX designers creating blueprints for the major screens mapped in the flowcharts.

To do this we use Marvel App, which features collaboration and live comments, a feature Rhonda loved. This creates a quick feedback loop during design and keeps the design faithful to the client’s original vision.

The next phase of the design process is the UI design. This step is usually the most exciting for our clients. To make the designs, our team of designers use Sketch and import the designs to Marvel App, where the client will submit their comments.

Once Rhonda approves the designs, we begin to add the finishing touches and map out the hotspots on each screen.

After 3 weeks and 3 design phases, our team delivered the clickable prototype to Üdo for all 3 user types discussed.

Udo mobile app gif

“Working with LSL to really start to define the users, the user flow, and to get a visual prototype has allowed me to see my business in a different way and communicate it more effectively, and as a result, I refined my pitch and received some grant funding.”

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Results

With the clickable prototype in hand, Rhonda and the Üdo team conducted a series of target user interviews as well as demos to potential buyers.

From this concept validation effort, Üdo realized a niche market which it can focus on. With this new insight, Rhonda pivoted Üdo’s business model to a B2B opportunity from her initial B2C opportunity.

The new business model made every other aspect of Üdo - from technology and distribution to human resource and operation - much more realistic and startup-friendly than in the original model.

With the newly gained confidence from her new business model and the visual product prototype, Rhonda signed up to pitch to Digital Sandbox again.

Determined to show the judges Üdo is now much more focused and executable, Rhonda met with our team to do a mock pitch before her pitch to Digital Sandbox. During the mock pitch, we worked together to clarify revenue model, financial projections, product roadmap, and customer acquisition strategy.

We also shared with Rhonda this KCSourcelink article on how to pitch to Digital Sandbox. Rhonda then updated her pitch deck and talking points to reflect the points our team discussed with her as well as to match Digital Sandbox’s expectations of a pitch.

Rhonda’s pitch was a success! As of the writing of this case study, Üdo has officially won $20,000 in proof-of-concept grant from Digital Sandbox KC.

We are working with Rhonda to define her Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and how we can build an MVP which is the bang-of-the-buck for the grant budget.

The MVP goal is to allow Üdo to onboard early adopters who use the product consistently and give Üdo feedback on what the next iteration of the product should be.

The best case scenario is the early adopters will love the MVP and its potential so much that they will pay to continue to use Üdo. That is the most validating way for Üdo to earn its first dollar of revenue, which will pave the way for the evolution of the product.

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Summary

Within a month, here’s a summary of what Üdo and Lean Start Lab accomplished together:

  • Clickable prototype, which clarifies the product concept and visualizes the user flow

  • User interviews and demos to potential customers

  • Pivot to focus Üdo’s business model

  • Mock pitch to prepare for Digital Sandbox

  • $20,000 in proof-of-concept funding from Digital Sandbox

  • $100,000 in AWS credits from a pitch competition

  • Definition of the MVP and a project plan to bring the MVP to life

“The directness [of LSL’s approach] was really nerve-racking for me early on but I really respected that. There's a strength in the way LSL works with and challenges its product owners. You challenge your clients to really dive in and make some tough decisions.”

Rhonda’s 3 Words to Describe Lean Start Lab:
“Focused. Quality. Direct.”

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