CULTIVATING THE HOME-SWAPPING SPIRIT & GLOBAL MEMBER BASE
Kindred is a members-only network of shared homes. After the beta launch of its STRV-built MVP, the company saw a 10x increase in monthly trip bookings and 20,000 membership requests. It ultimately raised $22.5 million in funding.
Teaming up in 2021 to make travel more accessible for a fraction of hotel and Airbnb costs, Opendoor alums Justine Palefsky and Tasneem Amina validated the Kindred concept via socials before building a tangible product. Just one year later, Kindred was listed as one of the “27 Most Promising Consumer Startups, According to VCs.”
What we did
STRV developed Kindred’s debut mobile app and perfected the internal toolset while working closely with the company’s design and product teams.
— Development of Kindred iOS app
— Setup and integration of Kindred internal tooling
— QA automated testing, product management and launch support
— Post-launch development and optimization
$22.5MTotal funding raised
3,000Listed homes (July ‘23)
50+Cities worldwide (July ‘23)
MEASURABLE MVP SUCCESS
Armed with a lengthy waitlist from the founders’ makeshift validation process of social media and spreadsheets, the Kindred app soared past the already-high expectations. Its private beta launch was a fast hit, with users highlighting the intuitive, silky smooth user experience — crucial for the classy, highly trust-based Kindred brand.
Once released, Kindred quickly saw a tenfold increase in monthly trip bookings and 20,000 membership requests. Its list of homes grew to 3,000 across 50+ cities worldwide — incredible numbers for an app that’s not only new but invite-only, accepting nothing but 100% safe, well-cared-for homes. VC investors took notice; in just a few months, Kindred’s total funding hit $22.5 million.
Streamlined automated testing
To avoid standard bottlenecks caused by manual testing, we also employed automated testing. This let us identify problems far before the release, all but eliminated potential security risks and brought human error as close to zero as possible. Not to mention the cost-saving, speed and productivity improvements, all of which come with a slew of obvious advantages.
We used React Native for mobile and ensured exceptional CodeGen configuration on the frontend in part by building the backend with GraphQL, which streamlined API usability and the communication between FE and BE. The release proved extremely efficient thanks to Expo EAS (every merge activated an internal iOS build) and automatic distribution into Test Flight and the App Store — keeping all stakeholders aware of what’s cooking and accelerating feedback.
A key component of Kindred is effortless onboarding. Using dating app-style swiping, the results are exceptionally high-performing thanks to react-native-reanimated and react-native-gesture-handler — where both the animations and their reactions to users’ gestures run solely on UI Thread in 60 FPS. In other words: Kindred’s onboarding is as polished and instinctual as it gets.
Proprietary matching algorithm
To streamline the user experience and drastically cut down on manual work for Kindred, we implemented a "trip matching" mechanism — to reduce the time between a user creating a trip request and having it matched with suitable homes. A part of the solution was third-party Retool, a then-novel (and now leading) set of mighty software building blocks that gives customer support direct access to those matches.
Partnership based on trust
Kindred’s review of our cooperation highlights that STRV was “very responsive” and “made sure each output aligned with our vision.” Our product manager supported early user research, our frontend and backend engineers were trusted to own the entire app and Kindred heavily relied on our advice, especially in terms of best practices. By the finish line, we’d met every deadline and had blurred the lines between our two teams.
Empowering female founders
…not that Justine and Tas needed us for that. After working at Bain & Company and Goldman Sachs, respectively, they found their way to Opendoor. Cut to after their departure; both were looking for a safe, travel-rich (but not wallet-squeezing) lifestyle enabled by remote working — and teamed up to create their own solution. Our shared “doer” mindset is what made this partnership the easiest decision possible.