Kommu was conceived by Bo and Gus, two business school classmates at UCLA, to tackle the financial and logistical dilemmas people face when they desire both to travel and maintain a residence. Their platform aimed to enable home swaps among a trusted network, thereby reducing travel costs and unlocking new travel destinations. While the initial idea was met with enthusiasm, the founders lacked the technical and product experience to create an intuitive and effective mobile application. Coupled with budget constraints, they also faced an existential challenge: user retention. A catch-22 situation emerged where new users found little value in the app unless their network was already on it, which led to low user engagement and difficulty in attracting more users.
Kommu's initial prototype validated their business idea but fell short of enticing users to stay engaged. User retention was particularly daunting because the app’s core offering depended on network density; a user could only benefit if their connections had available homes listed. Yet, without evident value, users had little incentive to invite others. The founders recognized these limitations but were constrained by their lack of technical expertise in mobile app development and UX design. Further, they were keen to refine the app to secure additional funding and develop sustainable monetization strategies.
That's where Swenson He stepped in. Leveraging our extensive background in mobile app development and scaling startups, we partnered with Kommu to address their pain points. We initiated the relationship by conducting strategy sessions and ideation workshops with the founders. This allowed us to understand the essence of their challenges and align our goals. Our analytics-first approach helped us target impactful features, thereby focusing our limited resources on high-impact changes. For example, to alleviate the network density issue, we redesigned the app to feature open and members-only groups, enabling broader but still secure sharing. This not only increased user engagement but also opened up new avenues for monetization.
The revamped app was met with significant user approval, boasting a 4.9-star rating on the app store. Within just five weeks of the new release, the average number of sessions per user skyrocketed by 82%, and the conversion rate for new users viewing properties more than doubled. Additionally, home listings by users surged by 71%. Subjective wins included Kommu's acceptance into an accelerator program and its successful negotiation of partnerships with external organizations. Our work extended beyond initial development. We integrated advanced marketing tools and analytics into the app and continued to offer production support, setting Kommu on a path of sustainable growth and user engagement.
Overall, our collaborative approach and technical expertise enabled Kommu to transform their vision into a functional, engaging platform, thereby solving the key challenges they faced in user engagement and retention.