Building smart cities with UrbanLeap

Client

UrbanLeap is a start-up for smart cities from the United States.

The platform they built deals with an incredibly complicated matter – public sector procurement. Any city development idea proceeds to a multistage process with solicitation documents, searching for vendors, analyzing all the data, and so on. Urban Leap aims to make it simple.

How does it work?

High technologies and life digitalization finally covered local governments too. Urbanleap is a perfect tool for them. It helps to minimize risk and maximize the benefit to their community. It is a platform for testing, collecting data, and evaluating innovative solutions for building smart cities. Besides that, local governments can share data, educate each other to improve the quality of urban life, and incorporate to find common solutions.

Such cities as Palo Alto, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas are now solving parking problems and traffic jams, water and air pollution, waste overload with a platform designed specifically for such aims.

Challenge

When UrbanLeap reached us, it was a four-person start-up looking for a solid full-stack developers team. Finding a senior full-stack developer is often a challenge as the range of needed skills is enormous. However, working with Urban Leap appeared to be more interesting than searching full-stacks.

Our first challenge was to find the one who not only has experience in developing cloud web applications but is aware of the public sector procurement process and is interested in it. In Ukraine, this institution is in its development stage, so apparently, not so many developers are into it.

The second challenge was related to the first one – the client seemed to be quite picky. Looking for two developers, they rejected 27. High demands from the client’s side and the 10 hours time difference between The USA and Ukraine enhanced time spent on the recruitment process.

The third challenge explains why so many candidates were rejected. Urban Leap needs people who can fit the start-up culture. With this case, we learned how different a start-up approach might be from other work cultures. Although start-up doesn’t require everyone to work 27/7 as many might think, it means every decision influences the final result, and you are the one who brings responsibility for each step you take.

Solution

To be precise, the first time we discussed potential cooperation was in 2018, and kept in touch. In 2020 UrbanLeap got a clear understanding of who they need to expand the team, and we started working together.

The first step was to learn all details about the qualification and technologies needed for the company. Then we could efficiently identify potential talented professionals. We used our wide network and put more attention on candidates who have experience with the procurement process or document automatization.

This case showed us that it’s more important to find a high-quality professional for companies who exactly know what they need than to find anyone fast. So we focused on 100% meeting requirements, not showing numbers. 

As soon as we found people who meet the client’s expectations and fit the culture, we implemented a highly personal approach to get them interested. We used all the needed resources to organize the working process from Kharkiv and Kyiv and built communication over such a considerable distance. 

 Outcome

So we onboarded two full-stack developers who:

  • fully meet the specific requirement of the client;
  • are dedicated to a unique platform and its aims;
  • match American start-up culture.

For SD Solutions, the outcome of this case is a feeling of long-term partnership and perspectives. We learned a new way to build a team right away during the ongoing recruitment process and witnessed the importance of views and culture in choosing the right people.

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