CHALLENGE: how Sherpa fintech app began
This fintech app development story began when a father and son ventured out on a bold mission: to help the average Joe gain control of personal finances. Soon after founding ALTO Solutions Group LLC, the duet (with over three decades of combined experience in financial analysis and planning) realized the challenges of modern days financial advisors:
- it’s hard to get hold of a client
- personal finances are still a mess for many of us
A face-to-face consultation with a financial advisor is barely an option for most of us, in our busy lives. So ALTO decided to reach their millennial customers right where they spend most of their time — on smartphones, by developing a fintech app — Sherpa.
Sherpa is Uber Eats for personal finances, but instead of pizza you get budget estimates and financial advisory delivered right to your smartphone.
Ultimately, every business sets out to change lives. Here at ALTO Solutions Group, we have set out to change the lives of many people at the same time, helping users move their money forward while helping every advisor move their practice forward.
Alexander Iglesias, President at ALTO Solutions Group LLC
The fintech app analyzes users’ spending habits and helps them track income & expenses, investments, and net worth; and it projects their budgets out into the near future. The cherry on the cake is financial advisors’ in-app recommendations, an upcoming feature we are currently working on.
PROCESS: How do you build an addictive fintech app?
These days, banking apps, mobile payments, budgeting, lending, and other fintech apps have become quite ubiquitous. But what does it take to develop a fintech app and let it out into the wild, ready to serve millions of users?
As luck would have it, ALTO crossed their paths with a non-average Joe — the Joe of Topflight Apps, whose app development team has already spearheaded multiple startups to a successful launch. Six startups worth $24 million because of the apps built by Topflight Apps, to be precise. So, we knew exactly how to get this fintech app development project off to a flying start.
Fintech app development from scratch
The apps we build fuel real-life businesses, and so we like to take a comprehensive A-to-Z approach to app development, often starting with a rough app idea. With Sherpa, we had the pleasure of taking the app through all the steps, working in sprints within each iteration.
- We ran a couple of DISCOVERY SESSIONS, consulting ALTO on the specifics of fintech app development and at the same time diving deeper into their financial advising domain, aligning to their business goals.
- We then proceeded to RAPID PROTOTYPING and validated the main app concepts with the focus groups.
- The next step was to add some color and find the PERFECT BALANCE of the UI and UX for the target audience on multiple platforms: iOS, Android, and the web.
- While the UX & UI team was busy building and validating the clickable prototype and the designs, the app engineering team took some time to go through a DEVELOPMENT DISCOVERY SESSION. They analyzed and picked the right app components, APIs, and everything else a perfect fintech app needs for security, stability, and scalability.
- Following that, the app development team DESIGNED THE ARCHITECTURE for the fintech app (iOS + Android) and cloud apps (end users + financial advisors) and built them out.
- QA ROUTINE never really stopped during the development process, finishing off with the final user testing before the launch.
- Now, that the apps have been published to the app stores, we’ve been providing ALTO with some minimum maintenance services to address any post-release issues and to work on the features for the next app update.
Built-in bank-grade security
As with any finance software, there are obvious challenges when you commence a fintech app development project. Security was probably the biggest concern since Sherpa syncs with customer bank accounts.
Our team chose Plaid to integrate Sherpa with bank accounts in major banks across the U.S., Canada, and U.K. Plaid is a well-established financial API platform that serves user-permissioned bank data. Plus, the platform has recently expanded to Europe, effectively increasing the app’s target audience.
Thanks to Plaid, ALTO does not have access to financial data, and all transactions are handled via secure APIs. Plaid’s security protocols are robust enough for banks like Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, and many others. So Topflight Apps development team could focus on other security features:
- Touch ID and Face ID
- 256-bit encryption
Financial analysis on steroids
Sherpa’s main feature is to calculate what the user’s budget will look like in 1-2 weeks or a month. The app detects recurring transactions and those added by users manually to come up with the most accurate budget projections.
Users get clear visuals on their spendings and income organized by categories and accounts. They can also see if they are running over budget on some categories and identify the areas for improving their spending habits.
Cloud app for financial advisors
If seeing the projected balance is not enough, the app is offering recommendations from certified financial advisors. Users will be able to bring their advisors onto the platform to take the headache out of communicating their state of personal finances. Or choose from Sherpa’s pool of accredited financial advisors.
Advisors will log onto the cloud app to review their clients’ finances and offer their advice that will pop up right in the fintech app.
Cloud app for fintech app users
It’s hard to imagine a modern fintech app without a backend and a web portal. Sherpa is not an exception: users get access to the same data they have in the app through a browser on a tablet or laptop. The cloud app also handles new user registration so the mobile app does not have to deal with lengthy onboarding. In addition, the cloud app takes care of the app subscription and payments, so ALTO doesn’t have to split earnings with Apple, which can’t be underestimated at the early stages for any startup.
To help ALTO additionally position Sherpa for the enterprise market, Topflight Apps built the cloud app in a way that it’s easy to rebrand and customize for other companies, should they choose to offer their employees such a benefit.
OUTCOME: fintech app that changes lives
As a result of our collaboration, ALTO Solutions Group has entered the personal finances management market in record times and is on its path to win over the app-savvy millennial users — on a global scale. In the meantime, Topflight Apps keeps working on the next iteration of features that will add more value to Sherpa users’ financial well-being.
Let us know if you have a fintech app idea or need help with an ongoing fintech app development project. Topflight Apps team will be happy to help you make the right decisions and set your fintech app up for success.