Prsnt: Succes Story

Jan 2, 2023,

Prsnt: Reverse-engineering a failing MVP to build an award-winning app that secures funding

Prsnt is an app for gift-giving, where users can choose hand-picked gifts from hundreds of the UK’s most well-known high street brands and send them directly to another person’s smartphone. 

The ambitious team behind Prsnt set out with a vision to build a unique gifting experience for individuals and businesses that made it easy to select and deliver gifts, with simple redemption for the recipient through home delivery and in-store collection.

However, early on in development, the Prsnt team encountered a range of challenges, after engaging an external software development company that didn’t quite cut it. With budgets tightening by the day, the Prsnt team were under serious pressure to deliver an MVP that would help them secure further investment in their mission and product.

The challenges of outsourcing development

Prsnt were faced with high development quotes and substandard outsourced work as they searched for a cost-effective way to get their MVP over the line. After experiencing six months of underwhelming development, the company took a bold step and parted ways with its offshore developer, before bringing EBS into the fold to make the Prsnt MVP a quick and successful reality. 

Outsourcing to an offshore development team is a great option for innovative companies with tight budgets. However, although it does enable access to an array of experienced talent, it can often be fraught with challenges and issues, especially when it comes to communication. If communication between an internal team and an external team begins to break down, there can be significant delays to production and the hiring company can be left with an incomplete product and time against them.

Recognising this as an often encountered issue in outsourcing, EBS has, from day one, established solid frameworks for communication and collaboration between its team of highly-skilled developers and its clients. It’s for this reason that EBS are selected time and again by growing and established brands to deliver exactly what they need, when they need it. 

Unfortunately for Prsnt outsourcing to its previous developer manifested in a substandard MVP that fell behind schedule and over budget. Left frustrated by the cheap offshore development agency, Prsnt chose EBS and entrusted them with the decision to reverse engineer and refactor the MVP in its current state, addressing the time-pressured sensitivity of the project by establishing clear communication between the teams. With this as a foundation, EBS and Prsnt were able to confidently tackle the challenges that lay ahead.

EBS’s main objective was to reverse-engineer the unfinished MVP, which was approximately 66% complete. Second to that was refactoring code where necessary, all while ensuring that the code and the platform was maintainable, properly documented and modular.

Starting with a comprehensive audit, EBS identified significant weaknesses and threats to the viability of the application. There was a need for critical updates and upgrades in order to stabilise the app, not to mention severe GDPR failings, outdated frameworks and glaring omissions from the hard code base. 

On top of this, Prsnt identified the future need for a raft of microservices that were critical to the app’s success as they moved towards the MMP phase of development. So, thinking ahead and looking at the timeline from prototype to MVP through to MMP and then into the MLP stage, EBS approached the initial wave of development by laying the microservice groundwork using modular deployments that would enable the flexibility and reliability that Prsnt’s ambition demanded.

Because development was multifaceted, spanning the vast lifecycle stages of the app’s current and future development, EBS used the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) build to validate assumptions and understand the user base.

After this, the two teams looked at the Minimum Marketable Feature’s (MMP) core functionality before allowing time for much-needed UX/UI improvements to enhance usability. After addressing the immediate business needs with the MVP, Prsnt were subsequently able to demonstrate quantifiable value, which it was able to use to attract further investment. 

All told, the MVP development was expected to be delivered within one month, which the EBS team not just met, but exceeded. Reverse-engineering and refactoring the app, especially in areas that required significant attention, while also adding a secure, GDPR compliant layer through the back-end architecture, enabled Prsnt to move forward with a renewed sense of direction.

With the MVP in hand and ready to deploy, their vision became much more apparent and their needs even clearer for the next stage of development. The Prsnt team knew they had to think outside the box and develop market-leading features unique to the sector, building on the emotional and social elements involved in this novel way of gift-giving. 

With their plans for video messages using AR filters and built-in networking to leverage virality and shareability, Prsnt were able to take the next step in their journey harnessing the MVP developed by EBS, which ultimately secured them the funding they desperately needed to bring about the next feature-rich version of their uniquely innovative app.

To add to this excellent start, Prsnt would also go on to feature in The Guardian and Forbes, two of the world’s leading news outlets, garnering stellar user ratings in the Apple App store and Google Play store and win awards for Best Mobile App for 2021, the South of England Prestige Award for Gifting Company of the Year.