Enabling Rapid Innovation and Resilience: A Journey Towards Multi-Product Expansion and Technological Transformation
- 10 Weeks from Concept to Production
Splash Financial is a leading online student loan refinancing and personal loan marketplace. Created with the mission of helping borrowers overcome the burden of high-interest student loans, Splash Financial now connects individuals with a network of trusted lenders to find personalized solutions that fit their financial needs.
Splash Financial has gained recognition as a trusted partner for student loan refinancing and leverages a platform that streamlines the loan application and approval process, ensuring a hassle-free experience for borrowers. This platform also allows borrowers to compare and choose the best refinancing and personal loan options available, empowering them to save money and manage their debt effectively.
Overall, Splash Financial's dedication to empowering borrowers—coupled with its technology-driven approach and robust network of lending partners—positions it as a frontrunner in the personal and student loan refinancing market.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented challenges in the student loan industry, with freezes on student loan payments causing significant disruptions for companies like Splash Financial. As a result, Splash Financial faced the immediate need to pivot its business strategy by diversifying its offerings and incorporating personal loans into its product portfolio.
For a start-up focused on student loan refinancing, this necessitated a comprehensive update to its technology stack, application workflow, and platform architecture. To accommodate this transition, Splash Financial faced the challenge of quickly and effectively developing a multi-product platform that seamlessly integrated student loan refinancing and personal loan services into one user-friendly customer interface and streamlined backend for management.
These changes would require updates to its technology stack to support the processing and management of both types of loans, as well as a new front-end that allowed users to conveniently apply for both loan types and manage their accounts in a centralized way. This shift to an account-based approach would provide a comprehensive overview and a unified user experience across various loan types.
Strategy and Goals
In order to successfully execute the necessary changes and achieve its goals, Splash Financial decided to partner with Focused Labs after learning of its experience-driven and efficient approach from a peer company. Together, Focused Labs and Splash Financial developed a comprehensive strategy that focused on:
- Decoupling code from the user-facing frontend and backend.
- Updating the language and tech stack.
- Fostering a collaborative approach to project development.
The first step would be to address the need to decouple the existing codebase from the user-facing frontend and backend to allow for a multi-product workflow. This shift from legacy technology would also help enhance maintainability and flexibility as well as create a more scalable and adaptable technology foundation. This move would also address a key CTO concern by making it easier to find skilled developers to maintain the platform.
Because of the dynamic nature of the project and the need for rapid implementation, Focused Labs and Splash Financial adopted a collaborative approach to project development by assembling a blended team consisting of product managers, developers, and marketers. This cross-functional team worked closely together, ensuring that the design and implementation of the new platform aligned with the company's business goals and user needs. The emphasis was on building the platform with the users in mind, incorporating their feedback and insights throughout the development process.
Recognizing the importance of experiential learning, Focused Labs provided opportunities for Splash Financial team members to gain hands-on experience with the new technology stack and development methodologies. This approach empowered the Splash Financial team to replicate their success on future projects and fostered a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
The Final Results
By leveraging the expertise of the Focused Labs team, aligning the project approach with the business goals and timeline, and adopting a collaborative and efficient approach, Splash Financial was able to:
- Move new applications for personal loans into production within a week, representing an immediate delivery of customer and business value.
- Launch a new front end to represent its new product portfolio and provide individual application journeys for personal and student loans.
- Transition to a modern technology stack that enables product experimentation through A/B testing, strengthening the feedback loops between Splash Financial and its customers.
Equally significant, the team at Splash Financial had the valuable opportunity to directly experience the advantages of an incremental, Agile-inspired development approach, empowering them to navigate future transformations with less risk, more confidence, and a mindset defined by continuous innovation and value creation.
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