dlab Case Study: Catallact
Catallact is an open analytics platform for finance and an alumn of dlab. The founders, Paul Lewis and Dan McGinn, are both experienced traders and Dan had spent over three years building novel visualizations of bitcoin transactions using bespoke classification algorithms before they launched their startup. They needed a working demo that connected the visualizations' features to deeper benefits for traders. They also needed to build a bigger vision into their pitch narrative, to excite investors about the idea that the future 'winners' in trading will boldly embrace data visualization.
I held an initial brainstorm session with Dan and Paul to establish their vision for the 'big shift' that's coming in analytics, and then a second session to extract key points for their narrative. This helped them start thinking about how to build a business model and roadmap that would position their product as uniquely capable of clearing the hurdles to get there. Subsequent sessions were focused on defining User Personas, User Flows, Wireframes and Key Features for a demo. Meanwhile, EIR Jeff Silva led Catallact through a brand identity refresh we used to build out the final demo screens and pitch deck.
Here's what's interesting. In the first 30 days of dlab, Catallact's pitch deck changed just one time and their demo remained wireframes on paper. That's because they were focused on organizing their evidence and figuring out their product. It wasn't until week 13 that their deck began to change almost daily–the evidence became sharper, the elements more original and more in line with their re-branding. Their narrative became stronger, clearer and more confident. They had turned their visualizations into analytics tools that delivered real benefits to users–they had a tangible product.
Paul gave the final pitch. He was confident and spoke 'in the moment'. Because he and Dan had; 1.) obsessed over the evidence, 2.) focused on building a product over a 'presentation', and 3.) built a deck that fit his natural speaking style, their pitch resulted in inquiries, not just applause.